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Top 11 Paid Internships in Humanitarian Aid and Development

On this page we have compiled a list of paid internships in the sectors humanitarian aid, international development, peace building and conflict resolution.

There are many reasons to conduct an internship in humanitarian aid and development. For one, internships provide students with opportunities to gain real-world experience in the field. This can be invaluable for those considering a career in this sector, as it allows them to see firsthand the challenges and rewards of working in this type of environment. Additionally, internships can also provide students with the opportunity to build their professional networks and make valuable contacts. Finally, humanitarian aid and development internships can also be a great way to give back to communities in need. By working with NGOs or other organizations that provide assistance to those affected by natural disasters or conflict, interns can help make a difference in the lives of others. Whether you are looking to gain experience, build your network, or make a difference in the world, an internship in humanitarian aid and development is a great option.

World Bank Internships

The World Bank Internship program offers paid opportunities for graduate students studying economics, human development, agriculture/environment, private sector development, and other related fields. In addition to an hourly salary, many interns are provided with an allowance for travel expenses. Positions are located in Washington, DC, or in various country offices. Interns are responsible for finding their own living accommodations. The internships last at least four weeks and happen during two seasons: Summer (June-September) and Winter (December-March). Information about application deadlines and application requirements can be found on their website. The application period for Winter will be opening in October. Applications must be submitted online and before the deadline listed.

Asian Development Bank

The ADB Internship Program provides learning opportunities for graduate students to gain hands-on experience working with an international organization. Applicants must currently be enrolled in graduate- or doctoral-level studies in a field directly related to the organization’s work. They must also be a citizen of one of ADB’s 31 member countries. Internship opportunities vary in location and expertise, ranging from economic development to private-sector investment funds to social development. The internships are paid a stipend based on location and only up to 56 days. Past 56 days, the internship is unpaid unless otherwise arranged by the intern’s academic institution. Interested applicants can apply for the January session until October and for the June session starting in December. The application process is online through ADB’s employment system portal.

Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders

MSF-USA offers paid internships in their Communications, Development Program, Human Resources, and Executive departments of their New York office. Internship areas and positions vary from Social Media to Planned Giving to Recruitment to IT and more. Desired experience and expertise varies based on the specific position applied to. Applicants must explicitly state their intention and availability to move to New York City for the duration of the internship and that they are eligible for work in the US. Interns are paid $11/hour and are responsible for finding their own accommodations. The internship program happens in three sessions—Spring, Summer, and Fall. Spring applications are due by the end of December. Interested applicants can find more information and instructions on their website.


Saferworld works to create community partnerships and global policy that builds safe and equitable pathways to address the grievances that drive conflict. They are committed to creating equitable societies in which all members have an equal voice regardless of gender, race, religion, or ethnicity. Their global focuses include arms control, terrorism, forced migration, justice, gender, global policies.

There are no generic internships and posts for specific positions are available on their website. Areas of focus include East Africa, Europe and Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa, and South and South East Asia. In addition, there are policy centers in China, the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, Vienna, and the United States.

Where: Headquarters in London, UK, positions may be available globally.
When: Saferworld accepts a maximum of two intern at one time. Internships last between 6 and 12 months.
Eligibility: Recent graduates are preferred. National staff are given preference, but foreign nationals may be considered. Proper work authorization is required.
Pay: All positions are paid and the salary is set at an appropriate level depending on the position.

International Alert

International Alert is a leading peacebuilding organization with over 30 years’ experience developing grassroots policy solutions to build peace within communities. They work directly with those impacted by conflict work in the UK and through 17 overseas offices to find peaceful solutions to bring people together and build lasting policies. Their areas of focus around the world include community relations, gender, climate change, economic development, natural resource management, crime and violence, and state-citizen relations.

Interns gain knowledge about the operations of an international NGO as well as insight into International Alert’s field operations across the globe. They work closely with experienced staff to develop skills that are essential for a career in peacebuilding or international development. There are no general internships and calls for specific positions are posted on the organization’s website.

Where: Primarily the London, UK headquarters.
When: Typically 9 months, full-time.
Eligibility: Must have the right to work in the UK.
Pay: Current internships pay £14,716 per annum, pro rata (may be subject to change).


Established by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, the United States Agency for International Development is the leading government agency working to end extreme global poverty and build healthy democracies. USAID carries out U.S. foreign policy by providing financial assistance in the areas of humanitarian assistance, environmental sustainability, human rights, good governance, global health, food security, conflict prevention, and education in developing nations across the globe.

There are two types of internships offered. The first is designed to allow current students to explore Federal careers while completing their degree. This may lead to a full-time position upon successful completion of your degree. The second is designed to build work experience but will not convert to a full-time job. Most internships are research-based and involve drafting and reviewing documents and attending meetings. Interns typically work in the fields of economic growth, agriculture, education, health, environment, democracy and governance, conflict prevention, and humanitarian assistance. There are no general internships and calls for specific positons are posted online as they become available.

Where: Primarily Washington, D.C.
When: Throughout the year, variable length
Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen and half- or full-time current student (high school, college/university, technical school, or certificate program). Must have minimum GPA of 3.0 and be in good academic standing. Interns must also pass a security clearance.
Pay: Paid and unpaid internships are available. Salary may vary with position.

National Democratic Institute Internships

The National Democratic Institute is a nonpartisan NGO that supports democratic institutions and practices around the world. Since 1983, NDI has worked with local partners to build political and civic organizations, safeguard elections, and promote peace and openness in government. They have worked in over 130 countries and have over 50 worldwide field offices.

Interns can choose a regional, function, or administrative focus as they gain experience with international development and program design, implementation, and evaluation. In addition to work experience, NDI offer their interns specialized writing workshops, skill-building seminars, job search assistance, in-house training programs, professional development opportunities, and in-house lectures with leaders in the fields. On average, 25% of interns are promoted to permanent positions.

Where: Washington, D.C.
When: 3-6 months
Eligibility: Undergraduate and graduate students as well as early-career professionals. Must be authorized to work in the U.S.
Pay: All internships are paid

Frank Jennings Internship

Named for Frank Jennings, the Front Line Defender’s former Head of Research, the Frank Jennings Internship is designed to give talented and dedicated people a chance to get working experience for protecting human rights defenders at both the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and an international NGO. The selected intern will spend three months at the Front Line Defenders where they will get training that is relative to the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders; Human Rights Defenders; the Mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur; the methodology and procedures of the mandate; and the role of Front Line Defenders as well as some other international and national organizations that both protect and support the Human Rights Defenders. This intern will live in Geneva for six months and then return for another three months to the Front Line Defenders.

The chosen intern will have good analytical and drafting skills and will have some basic knowledge of the United Nation’s system, human rights law and international law. They must have the ability to work both in English and in Spanish and be able to self-motivate as well as working as a team member. They must have good written and oral communication skills and be literate with a computer.

This intern will be giving support to Front Line Defenders’ Protection Coordinators along with handling routine questions. They will also be drafting urgent appeals for human rights defenders that are at risk around the globe and put in information that is related to the database of the Front Line Defenders. Supporting follow-up cases by the Front Line Defenders and other projects that relate to Human Rights Defenders will be done on request, and clerical duties such as drafting minutes, briefings, reports, appeals and doing faxes, word processing, data entry, email and more will be required.

In Geneva, these interns will gain information on the human rights defenders across the globe and coordinate with geographic desk officers to draft urgent appeals to governments in concern to human rights violations; they will also analyze responses from these governments and give summaries for the HRC report; and drafting annual reports to the Human Rights Council and General Assembly will be required along with other tasks.

Upon being accepted for the Frank Jennings Internship, the intern will be given €1,200 while living in Dublin each month and €1,400 every month while living in Geneva.

Paid UN Internship – World Food Progamme

The World Food Program is currently looking for motivated, talented and highly enthusiastic students from all across the globe to intern with them. The internship with the World Food Program is an excellent chance to get practical work experience while also helping to contribute to the goal of hitting Zero Hunger. Those who are currently enrolled in University or an equivalent or have graduated in the last year are eligible to apply. Candidates must also have a minimum of at least two years of undergraduate studies. Being motivated, open to new adventures and challenges and a team player are desired, and working knowledge of English is a requirement. Having knowledge of other United Nations languages is desired. Once an applicant has been selected for a World Food Program internship, you must be prepared to send in a recent record from your University.

Internships for the World Food Program will often last for two to six months, and a stipend for your internship will be given at a maximum amount of US$700 a month. Before you begin your internship, proof of medical insurance will be required. You will also need to organize and pay for your accommodations and travel expenses on your own, alongside your visa.

American Red Cross Internship Program

For those undergraduate and graduate college students who are mission-focused and looking for a meaningful and fulfilling internship experience, the Red Cross internship program may be for you. This is an internship program that allows students to enrich their future career opportunities, explore different fields and serve others in need. Interns at the Red Cross are involved in a number of projects crucial to day-to-day work in their non-profit organization. This gives them an insider’s look at the humanitarian mission of the Red Cross as well as delivering service at both the local and national levels.

The Red Cross offers internships all year round in Washington, D.C., at their National Headquarters and their regional locations across the country. Most notably, their summer internship programs offer a number of other learning opportunities like seminars led by senior American Red Cross leaders, career development workshops and activities, along with social outings and activities.

Applications for the internship cycles are accepted as new opportunities arise. Applications for fall internships are often opened in April; applications for Winter and Spring internships are often open in September, and Summer internships are open in November. Check their site regularly for new openings.

Before applying, it is important to know that their formal summer internship program runs for around 10 weeks. Start and end dates for other internships at Red Cross are flexible and will be based on a student’s school schedule and general availability. The positions that are available will vary depending on the needs of the Red Cross at the time, but the program will often give opportunities for nearly every line of business in the Red Cross. To apply, you have to be enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate degree program.

You can find both paid and unpaid internships with the Red Cross. Paid internships will often mean working 40 hours a week for 10 weeks during the summer program. There will be flexibility for the student’s schedule during this time, especially during the school year. Relocation, travel and housing fees will not be provided by the Red Cross.

All of the internships are available on their Careers Site and can be applied for directly from there. You can apply for any and as many positions as you want, but you do have to apply for specific openings as the Red Cross does not accept any general applications.

CARE USA Internships and Fellowships

The CARE USA Internships and Fellowships program welcomes students who show interest in making a positive change in the world. This internship program aims to give project-driven, closely monitored practical experience to graduate and undergraduate students who are interested in giving their time and efforts to CARE initiatives and projects. By participating in this fellowship, important networking opportunities will also be given by participating in training and orientations which include CARE’s vision, history and in-depth information given by individuals that work within the organization. Interns will be placed either in US field offices or at the CARE USA Headquarters in Atlanta.

In order to qualify for a CARE internship, you must be at least 18 years of age; must hold a visa and obtain appropriate authorization from their educational institutions; and be enrolled in a relevant undergraduate, post-graduate or graduate program or have graduated in the four months leading up to the posting date. Students must also have financial support stemming from their academic institution or another agency; must be legally allowed to work under the laws of the location in which the fellowship is found; must obtain and apply for their own visa; and must have comprehensive medical insurance such as emergency evacuation insurance and provide proof of such. They must also have proficiency in the desired language; must have two years minimum professional experience in a field related to the fellowship; must have time management and interpersonal skills; must have analytical and organizational skills; must have intercultural communication skills; must be proficient in a second language such as Portuguese, Spanish or French; must be open minded and able to effectively work in a multicultural diverse environment; and must be able to be flexible while working in a team-oriented environment.

This Visiting Fellows Program gives students skills of global development, global health and other such fields along with invaluable opportunities to get international experience in their working fields. This program will aim to help with the development of future leaders who possess high potential in the field of humanitarian assistance and international development by giving practical and short-term learning experiences.

Alongside the networking opportunities that will be available, fellows will also be given the chance to participate in a number of professional development trainings that are offered by the CARE online university called CARE Academy. This program will focus on how to give the best, most optimized skill learning and development courses. The fellowship program has a leadership formula that focuses on three different strategies: on the job training, formal training and coaching.

In order for a candidate to apply, they can do so online by searching the fellowship and internship openings on the CARE site. New postings will usually be posted between the months of March and May every year. These applications need to include a current CV or resume with your name, your contact information and a minimum of three references. A cover letter must also be included that shows the applications research interests.