Some of our favourite internship opportunities with African nonprofits  

Internships are a great way to gain relevant experience to your field of study and to help give perspective on what you might want to pursue in the future. They’re also an opportunity to live and work in a different country; something that will expose you to different cultures, help you become more adaptable and add some international interest to your resume. This article takes you through some of the best internships in Africa that you can pursue in the new year.
– By Sanjay Pramod 

Africa as an Internship Destination

Sure, we’re biased, but we think Africa is a pretty incredible destination for an internship. To start with, the continent is home to some of the world’s best natural wonders and impressive wildlife. It’s also a melting pot of colorful cultures. Doing your internship in Africa is perhaps the only chance you’ll get in your life to live and work there for a while. 

Africa also offers some unique opportunities for interns, especially within the nonprofit sector. The continent is home to many nonprofit organizations that work to save lives, mitigate the effects of climate change, and address a variety of social issues. Organizations like these can benefit greatly from having interns join their teams, as they often deal with a lack of resources and overstretched team members. 

They also offer exciting work experiences for students; as an intern, you’re likely to take on a much more significant role than you would in an average corporate internship. Unlike dry administrative tasks you might find at larger companies, work in NGOs will equip you with a more diverse skill set, and will challenge you in stimulating ways. 

After a year dominated by the pandemic, you might be itching to travel again, so check out some of the best internships in Africa in the new year. (And if you’re still not able or comfortable to travel, do make sure to check out our remote internships! You’ll still be part of an African based nonprofit organization, so while you’re working from home, you’ll still gain international work experience and contribute to a worthwhile cause.) 

1. Sustainable Development Internship, Zambia 

Based in a welcoming community on the banks of the Zambezi River, you’ll be part of a school that provides quality education for primary age children. In the afternoons, the space serves as a community centre that hosts educational programs, skill development workshops, and creative clubs to bring the community together. As an intern, you’ll be involved in developing these programs, helping with fundraising efforts, and other tasks based on your skills and interests. You can also assist with running classes live on the ground, which will help you gain some practical experience and learn about Zambian culture. This internship gives you the perfect opportunity to contribute to a great cause and pick up a variety of skills along the way. 

2. Charity Development Internship, Uganda 

Got a love for music? Join an inspiring initiative in rural Uganda that uses music lessons to children with disadvantaged backgrounds. The lessons are set up to provide children with not only musical skills, but also to help build their self-esteem and give them a creative outlet. As an intern, you’ll assist with both the day to day running and the general development of this nonprofit through a variety of tasks. You can get involved in fundraising, help develop a marketing and communications strategy, and assist with monitoring and evaluation. It’s a chance to develop your digital marketing and project management skills, to get an understanding of the nonprofit sector, and to support a wonderful cause. 

3. Marine Conservation Internship, Mozambique 

Live on a palm-tree-lined island in the Indian Ocean, surrounded by clear blue oceans and an abundance of marine wildlife. (Yes, really!) You’ll join a marine research station, based just off the coast of Mozambique, that works to protect the rich biodiversity of this part of the ocean. 

You’ll be helping out with the development and management of various research programs, organizing and joining ocean expeditions, and assisting with the day to day running of the center. This is a great opportunity to learn about the nuances of running a marine NGO, to contribute to important marine conservation efforts, and to live in a tropical paradise. 

4. HIV / Health Support Internship, Malawi

This is an internship program focused on education and support around HIV and AIDS in Nkhata Bay, Malawi. As an intern, you’ll join a grassroots initiative that organises group support workshops for HIV positive individuals. You’ll help in organizing and running of these sessions and assist with providing relevant information and support to those who need it. Through this, you will be playing a vital role in the development of this non-profit and also help monitor its outreach and support. It’s a wonderful opportunity to gain practical work experience in the public health sector and make a considerable impact on people’s lives in this part of Malawi. 

5. Urban Greening Internship, South Africa 

This is an exciting internship opportunity for people with a love for greening urban spaces, a knack for environmental innovation, and a passion for spreading environmental education. You’ll join a dynamic nonprofit organization that, as one of its core projects, plants trees and indigenous plants at schools in township areas around Cape Town. As an intern, you’ll be able to connect with communities, learn about urban and fynbos ecology, and gain some practical experience in urban greening projects. You’ll also get to live in Cape Town, arguably one of the coolest cities in the world. 

6. Nonprofit Photography Internship, South Africa

Pick up your camera for a great cause on this award-winning photography internship based in Cape Town. You’ll be part of a nonprofit that uses photography as a means to initiate positive change. As an intern, you’ll spend your time around Cape Town documenting the efforts of nonprofits that are doing important social development, environmental, or animal welfare work on a grassroots level. Your images will help these initiatives raise awareness and funds. Regular workshops from a professional photographer will help you sharpen your skills during the internship.

7. Gender-Based Violence Writing Internship, South Africa 

Be a part of a non-profit that is dedicated to fighting gender-based violence in South African communities and provide support to victims. GBV is a prevalent problem in South African society and the organization works to provide social support, trauma counselling, workshops and public campaigns to increase awareness on this issue. This writing internship will allow you to write blogs, policy briefs, funding proposals and other content to bring awareness to their efforts and call for positive change.

8. Youth Social Work Internship, South Africa 

Spend your internship in a heart-warming community center that’s offering a safe and educational space for children in one of Cape Town’s township areas. Up to a hundred kids of various ages come to the center on a daily basis, most of them from troubled backgrounds. Apart from offering the kids a safe refuge, the center also cooks a healthy meal every day; often the only nutritious meal of the day for the kids. As an intern, you’ll assist with the day-to-day operations of the center, provide educational activities, and if needed mental support to children dealing with problems. This is a great opportunity to get some practical ground experience in social work and contribute to a great cause. 

9. Marketing and Communications Internship, South Africa 

If you have a love for books and a strong belief in the power of literacy, check out our marketing and communications internship with a library nonprofit. Based in Cape Town, this initiative builds libraries at schools in underprivileged communities, in an effort to improve student literacy and develop an interest in reading. You will work to manage the organization’s social media channels, provide updates on ongoing library projects, and increase outreach to attract prospective donors. If you’re a keen writer, you might also write creative online content that shares stories from the field. 

10. Education Internship, Malawi

If you’re interested in teaching or pedagogy, and you’re keen to get some practical experience in a culturally different context, this internship could be a great fit for you. You’ll be part of a local primary school based in rural Malawi, that was founded in response to the lack of good educational facilities in the area. The school hosts 200 children from various backgrounds, and the school aims to equip them with the necessary skills to be independent thinkers and fluent English speakers. Depending on your skills and experience, you can offer training to local teachers, develop various school programs or raise awareness for the school’s initiative on various media platforms.

Here’s how to apply for an internship in Africa

Did we pique your interest? If you’d like to explore the option of doing an internship in Africa in 2021, here’s what to do. 

Browse through our internships in Africa (you can pick filters on the homepage), and fill out the application form on the internship that most interests you. Or, if you’re interested in several internships, feel free to just shoot us an email on info@rootsinterns.com. We’ll be happy to help you in your search. 

Once you’ve applied, we will get back to you in a few days to schedule an interview. This interview will help us know more about you, your expectations from this internship, and will also give you the chance to ask us any questions you may have. If it’s a good fit, we will forward your application to the host organization, who will get in touch with you to proceed further. 

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any queries, and we’ll be happy to help you in finding the perfect opportunity!