Skip to main content

Why finding an NGO internship is Exactly What You’re Looking For

So you want to learn how to find the right internship in Africa? Good call! We might be biased, but internships with nonprofit organisations offer a wonderful mix of benefits to both your future career and the grassroots cause you’ll be part of. As an intern with an NGO, you’re also in a position to get a very diverse work experience, as you’ll be a large part of a small team, and you’ll be able to take on a wide range of responsibilities. But as with most sectors, the nonprofit space is a large one that can be difficult to navigate. Here are some great tips for finding an internship at an NGO in Africa. 

How to find an internship abroad at an NGO

Doing an NGO internship is likely to leave you feeling more empowered and fulfilled than interning with a corporation. You’ll be part of a good cause – whether it’s social development, disaster relief, or wildlife conservation – and working to add your contribution to it is an inherently rewarding experience. 

As part of a grassroots nonprofit organisation, you’re also likely to have a wealth of opportunities for developing skills. No monotonous admin work; you’ll be getting your hands dirty and taking on a good amount of responsibility. As an NGO intern, you can expect your work to be varied, sufficiently challenging, and rewarding. It’s an opportunity for great growth, both on a personal and professional level. 

Moreover, doing an internship in Africa will expose you to an international network. Most nonprofit organisations have extensive networks with other NGOs, governments, and international funders. Your NGO internship will introduce you to an international working environment; something that can help you in your future career. 

1. Determine what your goals are 

When you’re looking for an internship, it’s important to have a clear idea of your goals; what do you want to achieve? What are you hoping to learn, what kind of professional growth are you aiming for, and how much do you want to challenge yourself? Your priorities might lie with networking – or you might have a very clear idea of the type of tasks you want to take on and learn to master. You might also want to prioritize personal growth, and focus on living and working in an environment that will take you out of your comfort zone and challenge you on a personal level. On top of this, you may also have specific requirements from your university.  

As you search for your internship, keep these things in mind. While our NGO internships allow you to contribute to a cause-driven organisation and make an impact on the ground, they should meet your goals and requirements as well. And with plenty of focus areas, sectors, and destinations to choose from, you may as well be picky. Finding the right match is crucial in the overall success of your internship experience. 

Before you start applying, it’s good to write a list of goals. This will help you be more focused in your search, and it will also help us find the right match for you. 

2. Research various internship destinations 

Obviously the destination is a vital part of your internship experience. Not only will your NGO internship in Africa give you an exciting work experience, it will also offer you a unique opportunity to live and work in a place that is vastly different from what you’re used to. You can find yourself in a rural village in Malawi, in the cosmopolitan city of Cape Town, on the banks of the Zambezi river in Zambia, or in the middle of the South Afican bush, surrounded by wildlife. Where you’ll live during your internship is an important factor of your overall experience. 

There are many travel blogs that can give a glimpse into what it is like to stay in these different places. Be sure to do thorough research of the place you’ll be living as you intern. Africa offers a vast amount of different settings, and it’s important to pick one that will offer you the experience you’re after. 

3. Do your research thoroughly  

Besides the high variety of countries and settings to choose from, there is a large number of NGOs that offer internships – and it’s important to end up with the right one during your internship. Make sure to do your research into the causes you can be part of (what are most passionate about?), the types of organisations you can join, and the different focus areas you can have as an intern. There might be opportunities out there you weren’t aware of, and it’s good to get a full picture of the scope. 

To make your search easier, we’re here to help out! We’re happy to help match you to an internship that best suits your skill sets, interests, your field of study, and goals. This will make the process easier and more efficient – and it will ensure that you’ll have the African adventure of a lifetime. 

Explore your options  

Make sure to keep an open mind when looking for your internship; both because you might find opportunities you didn’t know existed, and because it’s good to increase your chances of getting accepted by applying for multiple internships. There’s no harm in doing several interviews, and taking your time to explore your options. 

Check out some of our best NGO internships

  • NGO Event Management Internship in Cape TownUse your event management skills to help coordinate environmental events with a South African NGO. Work with an NGO that operates at grassroots level and gain experience event planning and hosting with communities in South Africa.
  • NGO Management Internship in MalawiLearn the operations and management of an NGO in South Africa. Experience what it is like to manage a nonprofit at grassroots level.
  • Advocacy and Human Rights Internship in Cape Town – You will be working with an incredible NGO in Africa and offering assistance to refugees and immigrants. As an advocacy and human rights intern you will ensure immigrants and refugees are given their rights and respect.
  • Communications and Fundraising Internship in Cape TownThis NGO internship gives you the chance to work with a Filmmaking NGO in Cape Town. You will be able to work in areas like communication, fundraising, and marketing.
  • Digital Marketing Internship in Cape TownWork as a digital marketing intern with an environmental NGO. You will have the opportunity to work in areas like fundraising, social media, digital marketing, and public relations.
  • English School Assistant in Cape TownLanguage is so important, especially in the workplace. This internship will enable you to help refugees and immigrants learn English and give them the opportunity to get a job.
  • Urban Greening Internship in Cape Town – If you’re passionate about urban greening and the environment then this maybe the opportunity you have been looking for! You will be interning at an environmental NGO and help undergreened areas while connecting with communities in Africa.

Why should I apply for NGO internship?

NGO internships in Africa offer a wonderful opportunity for students to have a diverse learning experience, contribute to a good cause on a grassroots level, and dabble in different types of work. But with a great variety of opportunities out there, it’s good to do your research, set your goals, and explore different options. When you find the internship that matches your interests and goals perfectly, the experience will be endlessly valuable. 

If you’d like our input, please feel free to reach out! We’re always happy to offer advice and help you on your internship-finding-journey. And if you’re ready to start your application process, here’s how to apply.

Share this post