Internships with the USAID Africa Bureau

Summer, 2016

USAID's Africa Bureau expects to have a limited number of summer 2016 internships available in a few of our overseas missions in sub-Saharan Africa as well as in Washington, D.C. This is an excellent opportunity for outstanding students interested in pursuing careers in international development.

In sub-Saharan Africa, USAID works to help build sustained and well-governed states that respond to the needs of their people, reduce widespread poverty, and conduct themselves responsibly in the international system. Our assistance to Africa aims to help African governments, institutions, and organizations advance good governance principles and innovative approaches to health, education, economic growth, agriculture, and the environment.

Interns will have the opportunity to contribute to USAID's work in Africa while learning valuable lessons about international development and working closely with our staff members. The work assigned to an intern in most office divisions includes research, writing program memoranda, drafting documents, facilitating meetings and special events, attending program discussions in the Agency and at the Department of State, and communicating on program issues for USAID field Missions abroad.

All internship offers are contingent upon successful receipt of a security clearance, which can take several months. As soon as a candidate is tentatively selected, the Office of Human Capital and Talent Management (HCTM) will work with the candidate to initiate the security clearance investigation process by obtaining and submitting the necessary documentation to the Office of Security. Additional documentation may be required, and internship offers are considered final only after the Office of Security completes its process and issues a security clearance. Please note that these steps require considerable processing time, and candidates should not make travel or other arrangements until HCTM confirms that the security clearance process is complete. Students can facilitate this process by filling out the security forms as rapidly and completely as possible. Students will also be required to submit fingerprint cards. Obtaining these immediately after being notified of acceptance will facilitate the clearance process, as these cards must be sent to the Washington Office.

Please send any questions to Emails will be returned within 3 business days. Due to the volume of applications, we are unable to respond to phone calls.

Timeline for the process:

USAID will be offering three types of internships for Africa Bureau for Summer 2016.

UNPAID Internships for AFR/Washington

Closes December 21st

Link to apply:

UNPAID Internships for Africa Bureau Field Missions

Closes December 21st

Link to apply:

PAID Internship for Africa Bureau Field Missions

Closes January 4th

Link to apply:

Selection criteria:

  • Students must be American citizens (Students that possess dual citizenship are very unlikely to receive a security clearance).
  • Students must be college juniors, seniors, or graduate students at the time of their application. Student status will be verified by USAID.
  • Students should inform their university's office of international programs or the equivalent that they are applying for an internship. It is in the interest of the student that the university be aware of the application.

Application requirements for both Africa and Washington are:

  • A cover letter or statement of intent (please do not exceed 1 page single space) outlining your particular strengths/goals; discussing what development issues interest you; explaining your expectations for the internship; and describing why you think you would be a good candidate;
  • A resume or CV;
  • Additional information that is required by the on-line application form.

Applicants should be studying relevant disciplines (public policy, economics, journalism, agricultural economics, agronomy, public administration, law, management, political science, health, etc.).

Students desiring internships in Francophone Africa must be proficient in French. Students desiring internships in Lusophone Africa must be proficient in Portuguese or Spanish. Flexibility, initiative, enthusiasm, good interpersonal skills and lots of energy are also desired. Computer skills are a necessity. Normally, the internship period is June - August, although this is negotiable. Selected students must be able to stay the duration of the internship as determined by the sponsoring mission or Washington, DC office. Final decisions on placement will be made in light of the candidate pool and USAID mission priorities at the time of candidate selection. USAID is an equal opportunity employer.

To support the USAID Africa Bureau's communication needs, all interns are encouraged to include an outreach component in their internship by taking digital photos and writing articles for their school or hometown newspapers. Alternatively, when students return to their schools, they are encouraged to seek out opportunities to present information to their school communities about their experiences in Africa and work with USAID. Students doing Washington-based internships are also encouraged to write or present something about their experience with USAID. Photos and articles will be considered for inclusion in USAID outreach efforts and websites.

Application Procedures:

Students will apply online at USAJobs. See above for links to the specific applications. The online application form will ask you to fill in basic information as well as a description of your foreign language skills and overseas experience. You will also be asked to submit a statement of intent, and resume (or CV) online. The statement of intent should discuss your interests in development and indicate how the internship fits into your career goals.

Offers of PAID positions under this internship program are subject to availability of sufficient funding for these purposes. And, security clearances referenced above MUST be obtained before the commencement of any internship.

Additional Information for Internships in USAID Missions in Africa

Selected students will be required to undergo a security and medical clearance process and must be covered under a medical insurance and medical evacuation plan (please fill out all forms rapidly and completely in order to facilitate the clearance process).

For UNPAID field internships, USAID cannot provide any funding. Students are responsible for the costs of housing, round-trip travel costs to Africa, medical insurance (including Medevac insurance), automobile and other insurance, and all other costs.

Additional Information about Internships in Washington D.C.

Washington, D.C. internships are unpaid positions.

While students will be required to obtain a security clearance, they will not be required to undergo a medical clearance process. In addition, there is no requirement that they have special medical insurance and a medical evacuation plan.

Last updated: December 29, 2015

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