Written by: Rosie Dupont
(NGO Management Travel Intern, 2021)
I completed a 6-month NGO Management internship with the Foundation from June to November 2021. I was really lucky to travel a lot within this time- my first three months were split with a month each in Cape Town, Kruger and Livingstone in Zambia, before I flew back to Cape Town for the last three months. I met a lot of new people, saw a range of projects on the ground, was responsible for a bunch of different tasks, had an insane amount of adventures, and learnt so much about career options, Southern Africa and the Foundation. To say it was a hectic 6 months is an understatement!
I had wanted to do an internship in which I could learn about all the different roles within an organisation to help me figure out which direction I want to go in the future. As I was hopping around to all the locations where the foundation had projects at the time, I was lucky enough to spend some time with everyone in the AIF team. This was super useful to me as I got to experience the responsibilities of each member of staff and learn how everyone works together.
” I mainly worked with the head office but also had the chance to get involved in on-the-ground projects too.”
I completed a lot of different tasks for the foundation, from researching and writing documents on topics such as streamlining communications and microfinance to supporting the onboarding of a new CRM. I had admin tasks such as data management, grant applications, project development planning, project reporting as well as more creative tasks like social media content creation, and the really special opportunity to interview participants and write blogs about their stories (which you should check out if you haven’t already!). I mainly worked with the head office but also had the chance to get involved in on-the-ground projects too. As I spent a decent chunk of time working with the foundation, the team was able to give me more responsibility in my tasks which I am really grateful for!
Although I thoroughly enjoyed my tasks, it wasn’t all work! I had so many amazing experiences, from long days driving around in the Kruger National Park and seeing elephants just outside our gates at breakfast, to visiting the home of a project participant in Limpopo and meeting his family (and chickens!) and visiting a Sangoma in the local village. In Livingstone I chose my own fabric and got a dress tailored for me in a local market and spent a day admiring Victoria falls and sitting in the sun dipping my toes in the Zambezi river. I spent lazy evenings on sunset sarafi cruises with limitless drinks (!) and had an early morning start to go on a horse-back riding safari day. I spent some quality time with my lovely coworkers in Cape Town- from spending an afternoon at a vineyard with Yonela or nights out in town with Sarah and Sash, to a weekend with Michelle and her family or singing at Claudette’s dress-up karaoke party! There were multiple hikes in the beautiful mountains in Cape Town, endless days and sunsets at the beach, swimming with penguins, watching whales at breakfast, motorbiking around wine country… I’m telling you, this continent is something else!
But I would say the magic in my experience really simmers down to one thing which sits at the heart of Southern Africa- the braai. After all the travelling, adventures, hard work and long days, you will find any and all people sharing stories, drinks and food around a bonfire. I had braais with coworkers, volunteers, new friends, strangers, locals and travellers, in friends’ gardens, at airbnbs, in the bush, at a hostel… There is always a braai to be had!
Out of all the fun and work and adventures, I think one of the things that stood out most for me over my internship was how amazing my team was. Every single person I met was accommodating, passionate, and keen to work with me. The time I spent there was incredibly meaningful as the team was so flexible and happy to adjust my internship to fit what I wanted to get out of it.
My internship both inspired and humbled me and I’m so grateful for the experience. Sending a massive thank you to African Impact Foundation team and everyone I met along the way!