Our gender equality internships aim to advance women’s economic empowerment through increased access to training and information on health, life skills and well-being, as well as stronger English language and vocational skills. Interns on our gender equality programs develop and deliver projects that strengthen the power of women and girls, and increase their ownership of economic resources.
Gender equality is achieved when fundamental human rights and freedoms, as well as access to resources and opportunities, are not affected by an individual’s gender. Some of the most important measures of gender equality are equal legal status and protection in areas such as entitlements and representation, as well as the ability to secure resources like property, information, skills and income. Systemic elements of gender equality include the ways in which men and women are valued by society, and prevailing norms about appropriate behaviours, aspirations and decisions that can be made by each gender.
Because women’s empowerment is an important entry point to enabling broader gender equality, our gender equality programs aim to increase the productive capacity of women and girls through education and vocational skills training. We also directly address power and agency through health-related workshops, life skills training and the curation of a supportive network. As an intern on a gender equality program, you can work on any one of these initiatives across our hubs in Africa, Asia and Latin America. You could also design and lead sessions on women’s empowerment topics which we identify in collaboration with our local partners.
At the core of our gender equality internships are individual projects that interns can create and implement. Based on needs identified by our partners and the community, our internship projects are shaped by our interns, with advice and guidance from the hub’s program manager or another staff member on base. You might have the opportunity to learn about and use participatory data collection methods and other rural appraisal approaches to generate insights on existing gender norms, beliefs and practices. Or you could hone your management and coordination skills by running a project based at one of our partners. We have worked with the Ghana Girl Guides Association, SASANE in Nepal and AMICREO (Asociación Mujeres Innovadoras y Creadoras de Oportunidades) from the Mar a Mar association in Costa Rica.
Some of our internship projects have integrated health, sports and wellness activities into women’s empowerment programs – strengthening women’s participation in sport and improving their confidence and mental health. Interns have also supported women’s rights organisations to improve their ICT (information and communications technology) capacity and social media presence. Others have created and run innovative resource mobilisation strategies for NGOs focused on women’s empowerment. Interns with an interest in the relationship between climate change and gender equality have initiated projects that combine environmental education with women’s health. There are a number of ways to design and execute projects that respond to the needs of the community, while allowing you to develop and strengthen new skills.
As an intern, you’ll typically spend weekdays onsite at our partner’s locations. Or you can divide your time between the GVI base and the community. You’ll participate in the hub’s team reflection and planning meetings and also receive individual support from a staff member to track the progress of your internship and project. Some hubs also offer interns the opportunity to take on additional leadership responsibilities such as becoming the “Head of Household” and working with staff to develop and coordinate activities for other participants on base.
Working with schools, NGOs and community groups gives you firsthand insight into how to apply a gender lens to international development sub-sectors (such as education, reproductive justice, leadership and economic inclusion). Whether you’re interested in a career in one of these niche areas or something more broadly related to gender equality, an internship will equip you with valuable practical experience in a community development setting. You’ll also gain transferable skills in facilitation, communication, critical thinking and problem solving – skills that can be applied to any career path.
GVI’s gender equality programs prioritise local ownership and leadership. With our ten ethical commitments as a guide, when delivering gender equality programs, we understand and respect the priorities of our partners and the community in terms of gender relations, beliefs and values. GVI’s role is to support and bolster their work, ensuring that our programs align with and strengthen our partners’ ability to deliver on their goals.
Ethical engagement is one of the most important aspects of community development work. Our gender equality internship programs give participants the opportunity to work with local partners on projects that the communities identified as important and require an understanding and appreciation of the environment. Developing this cultural sensitivity and the ability to ask questions, as well as being aware of one’s own assumptions is critical to a career in international development.
Our programs, and our approach to impact management, align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). UN SDG 5: Gender Equality aims to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” (UN Women) and is particularly important to our work in this area. Of the nine targets under UN SDG 5, GVI’s gender equality programs focus on improving universal access to reproductive rights and health, strengthening women’s access to economic resources, and promoting the empowerment of women through technology.
We operate gender equality internship programs in the following countries:
Our hub in Cambodia is located in Siem Reap, the second-largest city in the country, and home to the renowned Angkor Wat temple complex. This makes the area a popular tourist destination, which in turn offers economic opportunities for women. As one of GVI’s newer locations, our gender equality internship is well suited to participants who are looking to contribute to project design and development – and are excited to contribute their skills to the development of new initiatives in women’s empowerment. You might initiate projects focused on health, financial and project management, or other professional skills for women.
In Costa Rica, we support women and girls in a variety of focus areas, including English language and general life skills and professional development. As an intern, you could develop a project in any of these areas and others, based on the needs of the community at the time of your internship.
Women and girls in Ghana have not yet achieved parity with men and boys in skills acquisition and wages, or in access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. Interns in Ghana support GVI’s work in women’s economic and social advancement, including confidence building, vocational skills strengthening and leadership development. You could also conceptualise and run projects focused on gender equality, using participatory data collection methods to shape their design.
GVI’s gender equality programs in Nepal promote holistic development by focusing on women’s rights, health, education, professional skills, the environment and building a supportive network.
This internship program gives participants the opportunity to contribute to workshops and sessions aimed at improving women’s livelihoods and well-being. You could build your leadership experience by running fundraising projects for women’s NGOs on topics including health, confidence building and environmental education. Managing projects means you’ll hone your facilitation and teamwork skills while benefiting from working under the supervision and support of staff who understand the local environment.
Our gender equality programs in South Africa enable women from disadvantaged communities to access the knowledge, information and skills they need to improve their earning potential. We respond to needs identified by the community, which in the past have focused on ICT and vocational skills in arts and crafts.
Interns can support these initiatives by working with dedicated local partners and other participants from around the world who are also passionate about women’s rights. You could structure a project focused on education for girls in local schools, or promote women and girls’ mental and physical well-being through sports, the arts and other specific skills requested by the community.
Our bases are located in some of the most beautiful and culturally diverse countries in the world. Outside of internship hours, we encourage participants to get to know the areas in and around the base and to take in the local culture and natural beauty.
Our base in Cambodia is located in Siem Reap, the gateway to the famous Angkor Archaeological Park and home to floating villages, bird sanctuaries and national parks, as well as cosmopolitan restaurants and markets. Not surprisingly, tourism is the main driver of the local economy and the sector is responsible for more than half of the jobs in the city. This presents an opportunity for women who want to improve their spoken English and prospects for employment or entrepreneurship, and also allows participants to observe the impact of tourism on women’s empowerment.
Our Costa Rica base is in the Cartago province, in the centre of the country. Cartago enjoys a tropical climate and is surrounded by rainforests rich in ecological diversity, and mountain ranges connected to the Irazu Volcano. Given the region’s climate, agriculture has been the backbone of the local economy. Gender equality initiatives in the area have typically focused on women’s economic empowerment through entrepreneurship, and there are additional opportunities to support women’s health and education.
Ghana’s rich culture and beautiful beaches will be right on your doorstep at our Kokrobite base. Experience nature in the surrounding area, or travel further to the Kakum National Park. Kokrobite itself offers a range of markets and opportunities to enjoy the arts. Even with the vibrant activity and economy, we have found that many women and girls don’t have a safe space to discuss or learn about the most pressing socio-economic issues that affect them, or how to learn specific life and vocational skills.
With a combination of mountain ranges, waterfalls, lakes and hiking trails, the town of Pokhara (where we are based) is renowned for its striking natural beauty. While rapid urbanisation and the development of tourism brings about increased income and economic growth, it can have adverse effects on social cohesion if human rights, and in particular women’s rights, are not adequately protected. During your internship in Nepal, you can immerse yourself in the culture and enjoy the attractions Pokhara has to offer – while making a difference and building your professional profile.
Live and work in Cape Town, one of the most popular destinations in the world, renowned for its beauty, history and cultural diversity. Cape Town is a growing hub of entrepreneurship and innovation, but not everyone has the opportunity to participate equally in the economy. Women, particularly those in disadvantaged communities, remain a source of largely untapped potential. Our gender equality internship aims to support women in creating better lives for themselves and their families.
Women’s empowerment encompasses women and girls having full decision-making power and agency over their lives as well as the ability to act on those decisions. Women’s empowerment also focuses on improving women and girls’ self-esteem and confidence and ensuring they have increased access to resources and opportunities.
Gender equality refers to an environment where all genders are valued and treated equally by society and its institutions. It means that genders are protected equally before the law and are able to exercise their rights. It also requires equal access to resources, and that prevailing beliefs, norms and practices don’t discriminate against any gender. Women’s empowerment is an important component of, and necessary precondition for gender equality.
During GVI’s gender equality volunteer programs, participants contribute to existing activities and initiatives to empower women. This typically includes developing and delivering training, workshops and other mentoring sessions that support skills development, knowledge acquisition, and improved self-confidence for women and girls.
Gender equality interns also conduct these activities, but have more leadership and career development opportunities as they are also able to design and implement projects. Interns are responsible for carrying out the project while receiving mentoring support from GVI staff on base and guidance on the types of projects that would be most impactful and aligned to the needs of the community. Upon successful completion of an internship, participants can receive a LinkedIn reference from GVI and be considered for employment opportunities.
Our internship programs are open to anyone who has an interest in women’s rights, gender equality or international development. You don’t need to have a specific academic qualification or professional experience in these areas to participate. We have, however, found that interns who have a background in coordinating activities or facilitating sessions tend to complete their projects more efficiently. The main things you need are an open mind, a willingness to learn and a passion for this kind of work.
Definitely! Our gender equality internships offer valuable field experience that will build your CV and strengthen your profile in international development and social impact. You’ll gain critical transferable skills, including planning and project management, communication, problem solving and the ability to work in a team. Depending on the project, interns may have the opportunity to undertake community engagement and education as well as participatory approaches to data collection. Living and working on base will also help you to build your adaptability, cultural sensitivity and understanding of the complex links between areas of global development.
Being an international development professional or gender equality specialist requires that you have a fundamental understanding of the dimensions of gender equality, relevant work experience and transferable skills – such as critical thinking, communication, time and project management, and an ability to adapt to varied contexts and work across cultures.
Our internships offer a unique opportunity to grow your practical experience in implementing international development interventions and to improve your skills in research, data collection, project design and development, as well as facilitation and teamwork. You’ll also gain an understanding of the day-to-day realities of conducting gender equality work in lower-income contexts all over the world while contributing to tangible long-term outputs set by GVI and our local partners.
There are no language requirements to participate in our internship programs.