AUF INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
In all our work, we espouse the basic human rights principles of:
- Equality under the universally recognized legal human rights framework.
WHY WE OFFER INTERNSHIPS
The building of appropriate capacity and leadership in organizations within Civil Society Organisations is a complex challenge involving a range of approaches. Exposing new entrants to the working world to areas of work in human rights and social justice is one way of generating a broad understanding and ultimately entrenching a culture of respect for human rights and social justice. Akiba Uhaki Foundation actively seeks to expose eligible candidates applying for internship to work in the sector as a way of building capacity and encouraging the growth of leadership potential in the sector. Civil Society Organisations work in a challenging environment against a background of increasing demands and rising expectations with respect to organisational performance and program delivery. The challenges faced by Civil Society Organisations in this regard include:
- Little understanding (in broader society) of Civil Society Organizations, their values, role and contribution to development.
- Few mainstream tertiary institutions prepare young professionals specifically for work in the not-for-profit sector. Most training is private sector focused, entrenching a profit driven culture; some institutions offer training with a public sector orientation focusing on public service.
- Relatively high professional staff turnover; especially among indigenous organizations who lose out to international organizations (e.g. International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs), bilateral and multilateral donor agencies etc).
- Young professionals and the youth in general have few opportunities to appreciate the challenges of underdevelopment and make meaningful contributions to development interventions in a globalised setting.
- Growing unemployment levels in most countries within the region range from 20% – 80%, making entry into the job market highly competitive for inexperienced professionals.
In several countries these challenges have often elicited a response from the not-for-profit sector. Short term training, distance learning, internships or apprenticeships, on-the-job training and mentoring; all in an attempt to address one or more of the challenges identified above.
Internships are considered as an integral part of the programming framework, with the majority of civil society organizations hosting interns on a regular basis. It is the explicit policy of Akiba Uhaki Foundation to encourage the entire community of Human Rights and Social Justice organizations in Eastern Africa to use internships as a way of both enhancing their operating capacity in the short term, while also creating learning opportunities for fresh entrants into the sector to better understand and support human rights and social justice work. Thus the overall aim of this internship program is to create greater awareness of human rights work, enhance the growth of a culture of respect and protection of rights and the systematic nurturing of new talent in human rights and social justice work .
Through Internship Programs, most organisations seek to provide orientation, training and apprenticeship for young professionals, who have little or no experience of working in Civil Society Organisations. Recruitment targets mainly fresh graduates from universities and other tertiary institutions.
If most medium to large civil society organizations have internship programs, their motivation for doing this varies from the purely functional, such as meeting shortfalls in staffing, to the strategic; ranging from a commitment to the promotion of organizational values and principles as well as those of the broader civil society sector to more generalized capacity building for the overall sector. The Internship Program aims to:
- Create a safe environment for the practical application of theoretical knowledge and untested skills.
- Sharpen/deepen functional skills (e.g. report writing, interpersonal skills, research, ICT application) so as to enhance professional competency.
- Induct young professionals into the civil society sector with emphasis on values and a good work ethic.
- Provide valuable experience to ‘untested’ young professionals and enhance their ‘employability’ (primarily but not exclusively) in the NGO sector.
- Nurture (through training and mentoring) young professionals with leadership potential.
The value of internships is unquestionable. They fill an important gap in the development of civil society professionals.
OBJECTIVES OF INTERNSHIPS
At Akiba Uhaki Foundation, internships are offered as an opportunity for young professionals who have a demonstrated interest in human rights and social justice work to be exposed to a real-life working environment aimed at further deepening their interest and strengthening their commitment to this line of work. At a very practical level, the internship helps to break the vicious cycle in which young inexperienced entrants to the employment market are denied employment opportunities because they have no working experience and they cannot gain experience because they have never worked at all.
Through the Internship Program, the young professional is provided with initial exposure and working experience however limited this might be. Candidates who are selected for the internship Program get to strengthen their understanding of the basic expectations of employers in a typical working environment. Through the recruitment and use of interns on a regular basis, Akiba Uhaki Foundation aims to:
- Provide space for learning and nurturing the growth of a culture of respect for and familiarity with Human Rights and Social Justice principles and practices.
- Enable interns to actively contribute to the mission of Akiba Uhaki Foundation.
- Share skills and knowledge on Human Rights and Social Justice grant making.
- Help interns either develop or strengthen the basic skills of interviewing, analysis, report writing, communication, decision-making and problem solving.
Akiba Uhaki Foundation offers internship opportunities to eligible candidates on a three-month ‘block’ basis. Interns will be accorded the opportunity to apply for a further term of three months on successful completion of the first term of three months. No further extensions will be granted after completing six months in this role.
Akiba Uhaki Foundation will periodically make notification through public announcements of internship opportunities and provide an indication of deadlines for applications each time. These will include internships tenable at Akiba Uhaki Foundation as well as opportunities availed by other organizations within the human rights and social justice community in East Africa who decide to make use of the announcement facility.
Announcements of these opportunities will be posted on the Akiba Uhaki Foundation website and sent to networking e-lists on the Akiba Uhaki Foundation database. Applications sent to the Fund in between announcements will be placed in an active file and reviewed for suitability and recruitment when the next reviews are conducted.