African-focused organizations in DC?
June 20, 2005 10:34 PM   Subscribe

I have a friend who just came into a sweet deal. The honors college at her university will pay for an internship in Washington, DC. The only catch is she has to find an organization willing to let her intern with them.

She wants something focusing on Africa, or if not that internationally-related at the very least. Googling brings up a lot of organizations, but I was hoping you guys might know of some interesting ones doing good work. Thanks a lot.
posted by calistasm to Education (7 answers total)
Pay for an internship?
posted by Jairus at 10:38 PM on June 20, 2005

You can't be seriously asking for ideas for political internship opportunities in DC with "international or Africa" as the basis. It's simply too broad. Is she interested in health, economics, structural change, architecture, policy, educational institutions or provisions, women's issues, small loans, peacekeeping, ecological, governmental, technological, clean water, crops or food development, aid delivery, subsidisations, soldier re-training, demining or some other aspect that I've missed out?

Almost any place in DC will allow interns, especially interns that have outside funding. Many will give school credit for some aspect of it as well. It's pretty difficult to say "this is the best internship program" without knowing what she's looking to do, in what kind of area, with what kind of level.
posted by fionab at 10:47 PM on June 20, 2005

Regardless of her interest in Africa, the way I'd tackle this problem is to do the following. Ask her where she wants to be in 3, 4, or 5 years and then ask her what organization in DC is important enough that having an internship there will help her get where she wants to go (regardless of anything to do with Africa...) Then go after them. Tell them that it's funded and you want to work for free with them. She'll have a HUGE leg up since she doesn't want any money. I'm thinking about the UN, the PeaceCorps (not sure if they're in DC or not...) or working directly for one of the countries via thier embassy.
posted by pwb503 at 12:30 AM on June 21, 2005

The Peace Corps is in DC, and takes on a number of internships each year. Doing a search for internships in DC with a keyword of "africa" yields lots on Here's another thread on finding non-profit jobs.

When is the internship going to be? If it's next fall, she's getting a pretty late start to get into some of the top spots in DC (esp. if she's just now researching). If it's next spring, she's just about on time. If it's next summer, most deadlines are between December and March. And don't forget that, while there will be tons of opportunities, many of the "glamorous" internships are extremely competitive.

She may also want to talk to professors at her university who have worked in development. Check out the econ department. Often there are courses on economics in developing countries, the economics of poverty, or something like that. The professors are great resources, as are grad students studying that field. If she wants to work with women in development, hit up the women's studies department. My university has an enormous agricultural economics program (part of the ag school, not the econ school) that focuses on food development. The point is, once she's made up her mind what she wants to do, there are a ton of resources, but like fionab said, until then, her question is almost too broad for helpful advice.

I've been through a similar process, although I ended up deciding not to go with an internship. If your friend has any questions, my email's in my profile, although starting in two weeks, I'll no longer have regular access to it.
posted by asnowballschance at 2:27 AM on June 21, 2005

Point your friend in the direction of I'm sure she'll find an interesting, Africa-related organization (or internship position) there. If she finds some internships that apply to her field of interest, perhaps she can solicit opinions/insight on the site's forum.
posted by necessitas at 5:19 AM on June 21, 2005

I have a friend who is doing anti-death penalty work for Amnesty, International in DC. She might be able to use a funded intern. Email me if you'd like me to ask her (address is in profile).
posted by UKnowForKids at 12:17 PM on June 21, 2005

My girlfriend's organization does work with sustainable farming for west african communities blah blah blah (she said way more than that but I stopped listening) and saw your question, said they would be willing to talk to her as well. Drop me an email and I'll put you in touch. Cuz, you know - your email isn't in your profile.
posted by phearlez at 8:10 PM on June 21, 2005

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