Internships with the USAID Africa Bureau

USAID’s Africa Bureau expects to have a limited number of summer 2016 internships available in a few of our overseas missions in sub-Saharan Africa as well as in Washington, D.C. This is an excellent opportunity for outstanding students interested in pursuing careers in international development.

In sub-Saharan Africa, USAID works to help build sustained and well-governed states that respond to the needs of their people, reduce widespread poverty, and conduct themselves responsibly in the international system. Our assistance to Africa aims to help African governments, institutions, and organizations advance good governance principles and innovative approaches to health, education, economic growth, agriculture, and the environment.

Interns will have the opportunity to contribute to USAID’s work in Africa while learning valuable lessons about international development and working closely with our staff members. The work assigned to an intern in most office divisions includes research, writing program memoranda, drafting documents, facilitating meetings and special events, attending program discussions in the Agency and at the Department of State, and communicating on program issues for USAID field Missions abroad.

All internship offers are contingent upon successful receipt of a security clearance, which can take several months. As soon as a candidate is tentatively selected, the Africa Bureau will work with the candidate to initiate the security clearance investigation process by obtaining and submitting the necessary documentation to the Office of Security. Additional documentation may be required, and internship offers are considered final only after the Office of Security completes its process and issues a security clearance. Please note that these steps require considerable processing time, and candidates should not make travel or other arrangements until the Africa Bureau confirms that the security clearance process is complete. Students can facilitate this process by filling out the security forms as rapidly and completely as possible. Students will also be required to submit fingerprint cards. Obtaining these immediately after being notified of acceptance will facilitate the clearance process, as these cards must be sent to the Washington Office.

Please send any questions to Emails will be returned within 3 business days. Due to the volume of applications, we are unable to respond to phone calls.

Timeline for the process:

November 1, 2015: On-line application module will be officially launched. Please note that applications will not be accepted before the launch.
December 31, 2015, 5:00PM EST: Closing date for applications. No applications will be accepted after this date and time.
January 15, 2016: Letters of Recommendation due.
February 2, 2016: All students will be notified of USAID’s decision.
February 13, 2016: All accepted students must decline or accept internship in order to begin the security clearance process
Selection criteria:

Students must be American citizens (Students that possess dual citizenship are very unlikely to receive a security clearance).

Students must be college juniors, seniors, or graduate students at the time of their application. Student status will be verified by USAID.
Students should inform their university’s office of international programs or the equivalent that they are applying for an internship. It is in the interest of the student that the university be aware of the application.
Application requirements for both Africa and Washington are:

–A cover letter or statement of intent (please do not exceed 1 page single space) outlining your particular strengths/goals; discussing what development issues interest you; explaining your expectations for the internship; and describing why you think you would be a good candidate;
–A resume or CV;
–Two letters of recommendation from faculty (employers are also acceptable); and
Additional information that is required by the on-line application form.

Applicants should be studying relevant disciplines (public policy, economics, journalism, agricultural economics, agronomy, public administration, law, management, political science, health, etc.).

Students desiring internships in Francophone Africa must be proficient in French. Students desiring internships in Lusophone Africa must be proficient in Portuguese or Spanish. Flexibility, initiative, enthusiasm, good interpersonal skills and lots of energy are also desired. Computer skills are a necessity. Normally, the internship period is June – August, although this is negotiable. Selected students must be able to stay the duration of the internship as determined by the sponsoring mission or Washington, DC office. Final decisions on placement will be made in light of the candidate pool and USAID mission priorities at the time of candidate selection. USAID is an equal opportunity employer.

To support the USAID Africa Bureau’s communication needs, all interns are encouraged to include an outreach component in their internship by taking digital photos and writing articles for their school or hometown newspapers. Alternatively, when students return to their schools, they are encouraged to seek out opportunities to present information to their school communities about their experiences in Africa and work with USAID. Students doing Washington-based internships are also encouraged to write or present something about their experience with USAID. Photos and articles will be considered for inclusion in USAID outreach efforts and websites.

Application Procedures:

Students will apply online at the USAID web site. The online application form will ask you to fill in basic information as well as a description of your foreign language skills and overseas experience. You will also be asked to submit a statement of intent, and resume (or CV) online. The statement of intent should discuss your interests in development and indicate how the internship fits into your career goals.

Offers of positions under this internship program are subject to sufficient funding for these purposes. And, security clearances referenced above MUST be obtained before the commencement of any internship.

Letters of Recommendation

Two (2) letters of recommendation are required for each applicant. Letters can be written by professors, employers, and other supervisors who can speak to the applicant’s suitability for this internship. Please ensure that each letter of recommendation includes complete contact information (email, phone, and mailing address).

After submitting your application, you will receive an email with a confirmation notice and a unique code. Your professors will use this code to access the application site and upload their letters of recommendation directly. Please do not email letters of recommendation. Contact us if you have technical difficulties.

Additional Information for Internships in USAID Missions in Africa

Selected students will be required to undergo a security and medical clearance process and must be covered under a medical insurance and medical evacuation plan (please fill out all forms rapidly and completely in order to facilitate the clearance process).

USAID and each student will sign an agreement that provides that:
USAID will provide the student with housing, a small monthly stipend, and in-country travel costs. The student or the sponsoring university will be responsible for round-trip travel costs to Africa, medical insurance (including Medevac insurance), automobile and other insurance, and all other costs not paid or reimbursed by USAID.

Additional Information about Internships in Washington D.C.

Washington, D.C. internships are unpaid positions.

While students will be required to obtain a security clearance, they will not be required to undergo a medical clearance process. In addition, there is no requirement that they have special medical insurance and a medical evacuation.

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