Individual internship overview
FSD Jinja-Uganda’s International Development Internships are an opportunity for students and young professionals to gain hands-on experience in sustainable development and insight into other cultures that can only be obtained through participating in the work on the ground. The intern opportunities are thoughtfully designed to help one build a career while having a lasting impact on the people in the community in which one serves. The programs have a strong emphasis on community ownership and follow the principles of Asset-Based Community Development. Intern participants receive extensive training in sustainable development principles and gain professional skills in project planning and budgeting, program evaluation, community assessment, and proposal writing. The interns apply their new and existing skill sets as they collaborate with the local colleagues on identifying, designing, and implementing projects to benefit the community. The interns have an option to apply for existing community based projects from either of the following categories: community based development projects or community based research projects.
When intern participants arrive in Uganda, FSD Jinja-Uganda team leads an in-country orientation that provides each participant with invaluable guidance and insight that helps them throughout their program. This orientation blends technical topics such as the asset-based community development model and community-based research with the day-to-day details. The day-to-day specifics include how to navigate the local system, safety and security among others. Through the orientation process, interns are introduced to support network while they are in country. The networks include the FSD Jinja-Uganda staff, the research supervisors, host organizations, host families and other interns or volunteers serving in the area.
After orientation, interns are supported to develop a project that provides support to host organizations. Work starts with community assessment to identify local resources. This is followed by developing a work plan in collaboration with host organization colleagues. Some interns create brand new projects, and others contribute to the ongoing work but the overall focus always remains on community involvement, sustainability, and effectiveness.
Our international internships are a minimum of four weeks and can last as long as a full year. The more time a participant is able to commit to a project—laying the foundation, doing the work, evaluating results, and adjusting accordingly—the more effective it can be.
HOST FAMILIES: Staying with a host family links FSD Jinja-Uganda’s program participants to the local culture and community. All of our hosts have a desire to receive international volunteers or interns and help them integrate into their family. Living conditions are generally “middle class” by local standards. While this might be a drastic change from what some are used to, host-families are vetted to ensure safe and healthy homes for participants. Past volunteers and interns have consistently noted the host family experience as one of the highlights of their time abroad, and many keep in contact long after their program ends.
HOST ORGANIZATIONS: FSD Jinja-Uganda works with over 40 community based host organizations. These are locally run organizations with strong connections to the community. They are referred to as host organizations because they host volunteers or interns but their main focus is to serve their community. The interns’ projects contribute to the mission of the host organizations. Each intern participant has a direct supervisor at his or her host organization who is responsible for ensuring that the interns’ project progresses in a way that is effective, appropriate to the local community.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT TRAINING: Through the volunteer or Internship program, participants gain valuable training in international sustainable development. During orientation, the FSD Jinja-Uganda staff team walks participants through a variety of community development models and discusses what they mean in the local context. With their host organization, participants undertake a close study of a particular community issue and potential solutions, including both quantitative and qualitative data collection. Volunteers or interns conduct project work while immersed in the local community, learning from their host organization and community members. Throughout their course, the FSD Jinja-Uganda team conducts regular check-ins with the organizations and participants to help troubleshoot any problems that arise.