Save the Orangutan welcomes two new well-merited project managers. They will be responsible for our programmes in Borneo.

Our local focus on forest conservation, people and the wild orangutans is growing. Therefore, we are very happy to be able to welcome two new and highly qualified project managers. They will work with, among other things, monitoring various projects and, not least, continuing the good and close collaboration with our Indonesian partners.

Søren Brofeldt

Søren will be responsible for our forest and climate efforts, mainly focusing on nature restoration and nature protection in the Mawas area.

What is your professional background?

– I originally trained as a forester. I wanted to be able to do practical things in nature like felling a tree and shooting a deer. But eventually, I discovered other things that were exciting and went to Cambodia for 1.5 years. It made me change course to the development sector, and I got a bachelor’s degree in agricultural development and then a phd in environmental management. I focused particularly on forest management and monitoring from the the locals point of view. My approach to nature conservation has been almost anthropological, always with a focus on the local population’s use of and knowledge of nature.

– I have always found that field work excites me the most. When you can feel, see and smell what you are working with, it also becomes easier to understand. So I have spent a lot of time doing that in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia – including Borneo.

– In addition to this, my professional profile entails nature communication. I have worked with nature guidance and at the LIFE Foundation I have developed teaching materials for children and adults.

What was appealing with Save the Orangutan?

– I like how Save the Orangutan works. For me, the approach of thinking holistically about people and forests is the only way. It appealed to me that this was also Save the Orangutans’ approach.

– I also like that it is a small organisation. This can provide some room for maneuver, and it is not necessarily far from thought to action.

What are you particularly looking forward to?

– Coming back to Borneo! I like the forest, but it’s especially the people that appeal to me. I think it’s cool to be with the locals. Just being able to take a long trip by boat and car and think that now you are really in the jungle, and yet it’s only in their backyard. The connection they have with nature is incredibly fascinating.

What do you do in your spare time?

– I spend a lot of time with my children. Also, I love the outdoors –  making fires, hiking and sleeping in windshelters. I generally like doing practical things and being in the workshop. For example, I recently took a blacksmithing course where I learned how to make knives.

Make the rainforest grow

Arafa Khatib

Arafa will be responsible for Save the Orangutans’ new four-year local programme, supported by CISU. She will coordinate the efforts with local partners in Borneo regarding the rights of indigenous peoples and nature conservation, as well as assist our partners in developing good knowledge sharing systems.

What is your background?

– I have a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in natural resources and development. For more than ten years I have worked with sustainable local development in agriculture and forestry in Southeast Asia and East Africa.

Why did you want to be a part of Save the Orangutan?

– With my educational background and experience, I hope to contribute positively to Save the Orangutan’s work with the partners around local development, indigenous rights, natural resource management and building local capacity.

What are you particularly looking forward to?

– To work with issues that are meaningful and super important. I look forward to getting to know many new people, cultures and gaining new skills and perspectives. My motivation is that I want to contribute to better conditions for the orangutan, biological diversity, the climate and not least to the living conditions and rights of the indigenous population.

What do you do in your spare time?

– I love being with my family. I live in a housing cooperative with my husband and our three girls and it is always busy with social activities and chores.

– I also love being in nature, practicing yoga, dancing and helping pregnant women and their partners prepare for the birth. I’m also trying to knit, it’s in fashion now, but it’s not going so well…