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International Development Internship in South Africa

  • Placement location: Cape Town
  • Role: Working alongside a local NGO to empower, support, and enhance the quality of life in the city and surrounding communities
  • Requirements: None
  • Accommodation: Host family
  • Length of placement: From 2 weeks
  • Start dates: Flexible

South Africa

International development is a notoriously difficult area to break into. Projects Abroad’s International Development internship in Cape Town could give you experience to set your resume apart from the pack.

Cape Town is one of the strongest and most developed cities in Africa, but outside of the major industrial centres, South Africa still suffers from a severe lack of development, with many people still living below the poverty line. Participating in an international development internship here is a great way to make an effort to help tip this balance.

Interns work with a variety of NGOs situated in areas around Cape Town. The organizations are non-profit foundations that aim to empower, support, and enhance the surrounding communities. The foundations offer a variety of services and programs such as life and leadership skills, food campaigns, soup kitchens, sewing projects, sports programs linked to awareness education, and training support projects. Some of the foundations also focus on issues of unemployment, crime, domestic violence, drugs, alcohol abuse, prostitution, teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and general health.

Interning Abroad on an International Development Project

Interns may get involved in some of the following areas at their placement:

  • Administration - helping to organize the office (filing, photocopying, answering the phone, typing resumes, and helping students to fill out registration forms).
  • Marketing - keeping the website up to date, including writing articles, uploading photos of activities, making flyers and brochures, organizing events.
  • Fundraising - sending business fundraising proposals to different firms and individuals. Developing relationships with existing sponsors and writing motivation letters and developing contacts.
  • Market research - formulating and executing market research, including collecting statistics from questionnaires to gain a better understanding of the business at hand and to gain better knowledge of the needs of the community, as well as researching the job market for community members.
  • Workshops - business workshops, entrepreneurial workshops, entrepreneurial mentorship of potential business leaders.
  • Business development - guiding businesses in the communities helping to develop the businesses and establishing plans to improve the business through better marketing and finance management.

As with all internships you should show a high level of motivation and a willingness to participate in any task given to you, whether it is as organizing a campaign rally, or spending a few hours proof reading project proposals. By working within all areas of the organization you will gain a well-rounded view of how international development charities work and the unique set of challenges they face in achieving their goals.

The placements will accept anyone who is motivated to get involved and help, but these projects are particularly suitable for students and recent graduates of business studies or development studies. Please let us know if you have any experience or a special interest in any particular area.

Volunteers are expected to be punctual, professional and hard-working. You will be required to work an average of 30 hours per week, usually Monday-Friday. When you arrive at work on your first day, you will be assigned a supervisor who will be able to advise and support you during your placement, and of course our Projects Abroad staff are always available to support you throughout your project.

Always remember that the more questions you ask, and the more you show you are willing to learn, the more time your colleagues will spend with you. If you complete every task to the best of your ability, you are certain to go home having gained valuable practical experience for your resume, while also having supported a worthwhile cause.

While you’re in South Africa, you might also consider joining a 1 week Conservation & Environment Project. For more information, please visit our African Bushveld Conservation & Environment Project in South Africa page. Our Combinations Page explains how you can combine not only projects, but also destinations.

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