NGO Summer Internship combining nonprofit Working Experience with a visit to Africa

NGO Summer Internship combining nonprofit Working Experience with a visit to Africa

Written by: Alberto Giammattei

Photo credits: Alberto Giammattei, Marie Schneider

Jump into this Marketing and Fundraising Experience without hesitation!

Going abroad for many people is an opportunity to not only gain valuable working experience but also to explore another part of the world. Before finishing his study International Management Alberto wanted to experience working in the nonprofit sector.  At the same time, he was really keen to visit Africa. The NGO Summer Internship Marketing and Fundraising with Penda fulfilled both wishes.

It all happened in a few minutes. When I got accepted for my internship abroad, I didn’t think about it twice and, reflecting on my journey, I couldn’t be happier. I wanted to gain some work experience in an NGO before finishing my studies to see how businesses can have a positive impact on our society. Also, I wanted to visit Africa and Penda gave me the opportunity to do both in just one summer.

A variety of tasks and seeing the impact on the ground

My internship was mainly focused on marketing and fundraising. I worked for Penda Trust, a charity that uses the medium of photography to make a real impact and generate a positive change in the community where it operates. Moreover, I had the chance to complete several tasks for Penda Photo Tours, a company running photography tours and workshops around the world and the main sponsor of Penda Trust.
I was lucky to have a supervisor willing to suit the internship to fit my interests. I am very curious and I wanted to gain a bit of experience in different fields, so I got involved in many different tasks. For example, I helped in the fundraising research for the NGO, I did Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Google Adwords analysis and also some social media marketing.

Ibali workshop  Marketing Intern in Cape Town_Penda office

At the end of last year, Penda Trust ran a successful pilot program for the “Ibali Photo Collective”, a photography workshop program that teaches photography to kids from different areas of Cape Town. During my stay, I had the opportunity to take part in some educational photography-themed day activities with these students. Guided by two professionals, the students and I wandered around the city, observing and approaching the landscape and the people with our cameras. This way, I could witness the impact the work of Penda has on the kids of the communities it helps. Then, I contributed to the design and the drafting of the Ibali funding proposal and I start sending it to potential donors. Unfortunately, I will not be here when this work will give its fruits, but I hope I have given a concrete contribution to the cause.

Read Alberto’s blog post for Penda Trust about the photography-themed day

Never-ending Opportunities to enjoy my spare Time

One of the aspects of this internship opportunity making it so special is its location. To me, the city of Cape Town sounded fascinating and thrilling but, when I left home, I didn’t have a clear idea of what to expect. After my first week here, I had already adapted. Cape Town is huge and the opportunities it offers are never-ending: hiking Table Mountain and Lions Head from different paths, going to the beach after work to enjoy the stunning African sunset or spending Sundays afternoons barbecuing (or doing a “braai”, as they call it in South Africa) with friends. One time, a bunch of friends and I rented a car for a long weekend. I had to drive for the first time on the left but, after some kilometers of adaptation, I had a lot of fun. We saw the penguin colony at Boulders Beach and we reached the Cape of Good Hope, where European vessels used to turn East for the first time along their journey to reach India. We also went whale-watching and we were so close to almost touching the whales. Also, the local food was very good: there are several local specialties and you can easily taste some types of meat difficult to find in Europe.

All you need to know about the Marketing-Fundraising Internship with Penda

The amount of great memories I have is incredible, but I believe that what made that summer so meaningful was the group of people I shared these adventures with.

Intern Life Cape Town

This NGO Summer Internship made me more open-minded and flexible

From this experience, I learned a lot. Cape Town has proved to be very different from my home country, and this factor helped me to grow personally. I became more open-minded and more flexible. However, what surprised me the most about the “Mother City” was its vitality. It is vibrating, colorful and full of life. And so are its people. However, it also has negative aspects. In particular, the gap between the rich and the poor, the discrepancies in how people live, the inequalities, made me reflect on my present and future.

To anybody who is thinking about taking part in an internship like mine, I would say to jump in with no hesitation and take the chance. It’s hard to explain what I feel through words, but this experience made me grow a lot, both from a professional and human perspective.

I am going to miss a lot of things, even small ones from the everyday life. But, above all, I’ll miss the people I spent my time with for the past months, waking up to Table Mountain’s view and, last but not least, the ostrich meat.

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