International Development interns work with businesswomen to support a local community during an internship project in South Africa.

International Development Internship in South Africa

Gain practical work experience with an NGO in Cape Town and support local community initiatives

At a glance

  • Work with a local NGO to support and empower people from disadvantaged communities.
  • You’ll help local people to cope with the challenges they face every day, like poverty and high unemployment rates.
  • Empower people through various services and programmes that the NGO offers.

Start Dates: 

Completely flexible dates

See Dates

Minimum Duration: 

Two Weeks


16 or over

Is an International Development internship in South Africa right for me?

This project is perfect for you if you’re interested in working with an NGO to empower people from disadvantaged communities. It’s also a good fit for students and recent graduates of business or development studies.

This internship will add valuable work experience to your CV, and give you interesting points to talk about in interviews and applications. You’ll also learn valuable skills that you can apply to any future career, like planning and adaptability.

You don’t need previous experience to join. You’ll work alongside experienced staff, and you can reach out to Projects Abroad staff for help and guidance at any time.

Our International Development placements in South Africa run throughout the year and you can join at any time. We encourage you to stay as long as possible. Doing so will ensure you can have a bigger impact on the community and gain more international development work experience.

International Development intern works at a computer desk in a business office during internship in South Africa.

What will I do on this internship?

There will be a lot of work you can get involved with. However, your exact role will depend on your level of experience. Here are some of the tasks you can expect to do during your placement:

  • Assist with marketing-related work, like writing articles, making brochures, and organising events
  • Guide business development and do administration work
  • Coordinate fundraising efforts to raise money for local businesses  
  • Plan and conduct market research for local community members
  • Host business workshops

Your work will focus on the following areas:

Assist with marketing efforts

Part of your role will involve helping the NGO with marketing-related activities. This means you will help:

  • Keep the website up to date for the benefit of future investors interested in their activities and achievements
  • Write articles
  • Make flyers and brochures
  • Organise events   

Guide local businesses and help their development

You can assist in developing business plans for existing or startup businesses. You will also help businesses establish plans to improve their efforts through better marketing and finance management.  

Coordinate fundraising activities

You will help send fundraising proposals to different firms and individuals. You will also develop relationships with existing sponsors, write motivation letters, and develop contacts.

Market research

You will formulate and execute market research, collect statistics from questionnaires, and research the job market for community members.

Host business workshops

You will help conduct business workshops, entrepreneurial workshops, and lead an entrepreneurial mentorship role for potential business leaders.

Where in South Africa will I work?

Cape Town

You will live and work Cape Town. The city is considered to be one of the most developed cities in Africa. However, outside of the major industrial centres, many people still live below the poverty line.

The city is nestled on the southernmost point of the African continent, and is flanked by vast stretches of natural beauty. Table Mountain, arguably the greatest natural highlight, is popular with everyone visiting Cape Town.

You’ll work with a local NGO. The NGO is based in the township of Vrygrond, about a 25 minute drive from central Cape Town. They focus on several issues affecting the community, including:

  • Unemployment
  • Crime
  • Domestic violence
  • Drugs
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Prostitution
  • Teen pregnancy
  • HIV/AIDS and health

Airport pickup, flights and visas

When you arrive at your respective airport, a member of Projects Abroad staff will be there to meet you. You can find more detailed information on arrival airports, orientation, and visas on our South Africa Arrival Procedures page.

What is a typical day on this project like?

A typical day will start off with you having breakfast at your host family. We arrange your daily travel to and from your placement in Vrygrond, and this cost is covered in your programme fees. However, please note that all of your after-hours and weekend transport will be at your own expense.

Your average work day will run from 9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. 

When you arrive at work on your first day, you will be introduced to staff who will be able to advise and support you during your placement. Our Projects Abroad staff are also available to guide you throughout your stay.

As an intern, your work will be focused on fundraising, marketing, and local business and staff development. This can translate into various tasks, like drawing up a business plan for a struggling entrepreneur, or building relationships with sponsors to bring in more funding for the NGO.

During this placement, you are expected bring your own laptop to work on. This is also a professional internship, so you’re expected to be punctual and hard-working.

But it’s not all work and no play. When you’re finished for the day, it’s time to explore your new surroundings. Why not spend some time getting to know your host family over a traditional South African dinner? Or discover the delights that Cape Town has to offer!

Female International Development Interns presents to other staff what accountancy is during Internship in South Africa.

What are the aims of this project?

The main aim of this project is to work with local NGOs and help underprivileged communities develop socially and economically.

Despite great efforts towards reform, poverty is on the rise in South Africa. The youth unemployment rate is staggering, and stands at more than 60%. By partnering with NGOs, we are looking to support and empower communities deeply affected by these issues.

As a result, this project aims to address the imbalances that exist today, by supporting local businesses. This is done through empowering the women, men, and youth of these communities through skills and development training. We need your help to reach as many people as possible.

Join our International Development internship in South Africa and become part of our efforts to support disadvantaged communities.

Female International Development Intern cuts with scissors through material during her work placement in South Africa.

Measuring our impact

Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.

Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.

Food and accommodation

You'll stay with a host family in Cape Town. They will welcome you into their home, eager to share their customs and have you teach them about your own culture. We believe that this is the best way to immerse yourself in the culture of South Africa and have a truly unique experience.

We will always try to let you live alongside at least one other Projects Abroad volunteer or intern at the same host family. Your room will be modest, but comfortable, clean, and safe.

Your programme fee includes three meals a day.

Find out more about our accommodation.

Leisure activities and free time

Known as the Rainbow Nation, South Africa has a diverse mix of cultures. Our projects are based in Cape Town, a region filled with an exciting variety of activities to do during your free time.

You can catch a wave at Muizenberg beach or just relax in a seaside restaurant. There’s plenty of local cuisine to try, including delicately spiced Cape Malay curries and the creamy milk tart dessert.

South Africa has a difficult past, which you can learn more about at the District 6 Museum and Robben Island.

For an awe-inspiring experience, you can spend the day getting lost in the towering silos that make up the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Arts Africa. Finally, no trip to Cape Town would be complete without a cable car ride up iconic Table Mountain.

We run many different projects in South Africa, so there’s sure to be other volunteers in the country with you. So if you want to travel with a group, you’re sure to find like-minded people who’ll join you on your adventures. 

Safety and staff support

Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.

Find out more about safety and backup.

This placement is fully researched, safety audited, and risk assessed in accordance with the British Standard BS8848 for the Adventure Travel Sector.

When you apply you only pay €295, which comes off the total price. Flexible payment options and fundraising advice available.

Looking to do more than one project? Get discounted prices when you combine projects or destinations!

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