NGO Management and Organic Farming Internship
Do you have an interest in NGO Management, like growing your own vegetables and are not afraid to get your hands dirty? We have an exciting opportunity for you. This nonprofit organization developed a long-term strategy addressing cycles of poverty that repeat themselves generation after generation in isolated communities who have little or no access to the greater South Africa. During the NGO Management and Organic Farming Internship, you will promote organic agriculture to ensure that the rural communities have access to high-quality organic food as a first step towards building food sovereignty (as well as maybe start their own microenterprise). Besides actively working the on the farm and in the community gardens, you will get additional tasks based on your skills and expertise (as well as the organization’s needs). An excellent opportunity to be involved in community development as well as NGO Management tasks like marketing, communications, monitoring and reporting, fundraising, or staff skills development.
- Destination Riebeeksrivier (75 km from Cape Town)
- Type of Organization Social and environmental Nonprofit
- Work focus Organic farming, permaculture and NGO Management
- Length of Internship 2-6 months
- Accommodation Choice of several types
- Fee As from USD 1,390 for 8 weeks
The Goedgedacht Trust is based on the Goedgedacht farm in Riebeeksrivier, just outside of Malmesbury and 75 km from Cape Town in the Western Cape of South Afrika. It’s a wine growing area where farm workers and their families have been trapped in poverty for many generations. Many of today’s problems have roots in colonialism, slavery, apartheid as well as the “dop system” where laborers were paid part of their wage in alcohol (a practice that is no longer allowed, but its impact still remains). The effects of poverty are evident everywhere: poor and overcrowded accommodation, illiteracy, high school drop-out rates, alcoholism, domestic violence, sexual abuse, teen pregnancy, unskilled young people and adults, HIV/AIDS, shockingly high rates of Tuberculosis and some of the highest levels of children born with FASD (Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) in the world. These overwhelming challenges result in communities deeply lacking in capacity trapping them in a perpetuating cycle of poverty. While these factors take their toll on all in the community, they have a shattering effect in particular on the quality of life of children.
The POP Program
The Trust was established in 1993 to address the needs of children living in these communities facing generational cycles of poverty. This nonprofit organization believes not one single project can change the face of rural poverty for a child. Instead, a long-term model is needed: an integrated and holistic programme that provides safe spaces that a child can access from the earliest possible age and continue in until they are ready to enter the working world. Their vision is to see them enter adulthood as educated, healthy, bright-eyed and confident young people, equipped with all the tools they require to live fulfilled lives with purpose. They thus developed a four-pronged strategy for addressing cycles of poverty that repeat themselves generation after generation in isolated communities who have little or no access to the greater South Africa: the Path out of Poverty program (POP Program). It consists of more than 34 different projects within the four core themes, that all contribute towards supporting rural children reach their potential:
- Personal Development – Build resilient and confident young people with strong values and sound self-esteem. Projects are for example holiday programs for youth, Rural Leadership Program, workshops for adults on different topics, involve youth in the community work.
- Health – For example projects that focus on identification of developmental deficits in small children, maternal malnutrition, FASD prevention programme, meal program for children, provision of sanitary wear and toiletries to teenagers which prevent dropping out of high school, opportunities for children to shower and wash clothes at POP centres and First Aid and Child Development Training for Safe House mothers.
- Education – Aims to prevent school dropouts by covering the First Thousand Days (FTD) and preparing children for school. Getting children into school and helping them stay in school until they reach their full potential is the next challenge. Projects focus on parenting training, counseling for pregnant mothers, early childhood education (0-6 yrs), after-school support (7-18 yrs), leadership training (18-25 yrs) and adult education courses
- Care for the Planet – South Africa is heating more rapidly and becoming drier than any other part. Poverty among rural villagers will deepen and it’s going to be a matter of survival. Every rural person needs to know how to grow their own food in order to feed themselves. Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems. A complete range of training courses in this area is offered to the community members.
This nonprofit does everything they can to intervene as early as possible in the lives of children; protect and nurture them through the first 1,000 days of their lives, preparing them for school; and then do everything to keep them in school for as long as possible. Throughout this time they help them heal, strengthen their confidence, build coping skills, help them recognize their resilience and reach their individual potential.
The program is currently active in nine communities: Riebeeksrivier, Riebeek-Kasteel, Riebeek-West, Paarl, Koringberg, Prince Albert, Riverlands, Chatsworth, and Porterville. They have several ways of generating income to fund the work of the trust: the farm has a conference and wedding venue, the Goedgedacht Trading Company produces high quality extra virgin olive oil as well as a range of other products and there are a number of shops around Cape Town called “Help the Rural Child” who sell second-hand items.
The Care for the Planet project focus is on promoting organic agriculture to ensure that the rural communities around the farm have access to high-quality organic food as a first step towards building food sovereignty. They focus on long-term interventions that build internal and external skills within individuals to creatively respond to social development in rural communities. A team of nine people works mostly on the land on the farm and in the various communities so there will be plenty of opportunities to get off the farm and see how people live in these communities. Much of the work involves walking around these communities and connecting with people. The ‘Care for the Planet Department’ has several projects:
- Developing community food gardens in each of the communities that serve as training and demonstration sites for community members
- Helping community member to grow their own food by supporting home gardens
- Assisting people to develop their own microenterprises within the food sector. This includes selling vegetables, seedlings, sapling, etc. They also start their first community bakery that will create space for up to ten small businesses with community members baking and selling bread to their community.
Your tasks and responsibilities
As a Community Development and Organic Farming Intern you will contribute to the further development of the project. In the first few weeks of your internship, you will focus on the farm work and community gardens as well as assist with training the community members. This will give you a thorough understanding of the projects and the way of working which will help you with your other tasks.
- Working in the gardens (on the farm and in the communities): planting new seedlings, weeding, harvesting, preparing vegetable beds, irrigation of the crops
- Assist with training of community members in aspects of organic agriculture.
Based on your interests and skills and the needs of the nonprofit organization you and the intern coordinator will decide on your addition tasks and create a customized internship. The following focus areas are possible:
- Monitoring, evaluating and Learning (MEL): improve on the current MEL framework, ensure that it is being implemented, analyze data and write reports.
- Report writing: write update report on the progress of their work for funders, general public, and other supporters
- Fundraising: Identify potential funders, connect with them, share information and invite them to support our work
- Social Media: capturing stories and photographs from staff and beneficiaries and writing these up for the website and social media. This also feeds into their reporting systems
- Web management: update and improve the current structure, design, and content of the website.
- Staff training: if you are experienced in permaculture and organic farming you will also have the opportunity to share your knowledge and skills with staff members.
You will gain experience in the following main areas
- Principles and application of permaculture, biodynamic agriculture and designing systems
- Learn and contribute to the farming operations
- Community development
- Depending on additional tasks: report writing, creative writing, digital marketing,
A four-week internship is possible, but your focus will then be on the work in the farm and community gardens as well as assisting with training the community members.
NB. Please note that the internship is based on a volunteer work placement, so you are not receiving any payment or stipend.
A path that meanders through the land and leads to the “Volunteer Village” that accommodates volunteers and interns. There are several wooden cabins for volunteers. You will either have your own cabin or share with another intern (depending on how busy it is). You will have cooking facilities. The bathroom and outdoor braai area is shared with the others. You are expected to take care of their own meals and are free to harvest any vegetables, herbs, and fruits from the garden. There is free WiFi available at hotspots around the farm for internet so you can stay in touch with friends and family back home. It is very safe on the farm and incredibly beautiful. If you enjoy sunsets and long mountain walks, connecting with nature, this is a little paradise. The water comes from deep in the mountain and there a number of dams that are great for swimming and cooling down after a busy day.
- Interest in plants, growing your own food and the environment
- Enjoy physical work and not afraid to get your hands dirty
- Good social and communication skills
- Nice to have: experience with or knowledge of organic farming and permaculture
- Nice to have for some of the additional tasks: good English writing skills, analytical skills, interest in photography and storytelling
- Preferably bring your own laptop
- Minimum duration of 8 weeks. NB. A four-week internship is possible, but your focus will then only be on the work in the farm and community gardens as well as assisting with training the community members.
The Application Process
If you’re keen on this work placement and feel that you could make a good contribution, we’d love to hear from you! Here’s what to do:
- Fill in the Application form (it will show in a slider pop-up!) and send us your CV.
- If we might have a placement available for you, we’ll chat with you on the phone or Skype to go through your application and make sure it’s a good match.
- We’ll set up a call between you and the person who would be your supervisor during the work placement.
- If everyone’s happy, we’ll provisionally confirm your placement! We’ll then send you the invoice for the deposit, get started with a detailed booking form, and we’ll give you all the information you need to prepare for your upcoming adventure.
- Only once we receive payment of the deposit your placement will be confirmed.
Or if you’d just like to ask us some questions about this internship first, just shoot us an email, or fill in the contact form. We’ll be happy to assist!
When can you start making an impact?
You can start your internship every week, so your final starting date is based on what suits you and the organization the best.
At Roots, we do everything we can to make your work placement experience smooth and hassle-free. We offer an all-inclusive service, which means we will help you find the right internship (we believe we are great matchmakers!), help you with visa arrangements, book accommodation for you in Cape Town, give you all the pre-departure information you need before arriving, pick you up from the airport and check in with you while on your work placement to ensure you feel supported. These fees are based on a shared room in the volunteer accommodation at the farm. If you let us know how long you want to stay, we will send you an exact quote depending on the duration of your internship.
8 weeks – USD 1,390
12 weeks – USD 1,768
16 weeks – USD 2,174
20 weeks – USD 2,510
What is included in the fee?
- Full accommodation rental fees based on a shared room.
- Transfer from Cape Town International airport to your accommodation and back on arrival and departure day.
- Placement fee for finding you the right internship, assistance with your visa, organizing accommodation and transport, preparations and support to you and host organization before, during and after your placement.
What is not included in the fee?
- Flights to Cape Town
- Visa, medical and travel insurance costs for the duration of your placement – must include cover for repatriation
- Meals, drinks, snacks, and items of personal nature (f.e. curios, gifts, clothing).
- Costs for additional excursions or activities