Interning in a NGO abroad

Faculty of Social Sciences
From the Field

By Meti

Program Support Assistant, Human Rights Advocacy Centre

Cloudy sky overlooking Ghanaian street
Cloudy sky overlooking Ghanaian Street
«My placement has allowed me to understand and learn how to proceed with tasks necessary to support a human rights NGO and the experience has been enriching»

Meti, Honours in International Development and Globalization
Field Internship Country:  Ghana

Canadian NGO: AFS Interculture Canada
Local NGO:  Human Rights Advocacy Centre

Since January, I have been interning at the Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC) in Accra, Ghana. Doing a field internship has allowed me to put what I have learned in my courses into practice all while immersing myself in the culture of my host country.

HRAC is a non-partisan, non-profit, and civil society organization whose main areas of work touch on research, advocacy, and the provision of free legal services, particularly for Ghanas disenfranchised communities. This includes women, children, refugees, individuals with disabilities, and members of underprivileged groups. They are an established organization in Accra and the Human Rights Clinic is one of their most prominent programs. This service enables anyone who has experienced human rights violations to be put into contact with a lawyer providing pro bono legal services and who can assist them with their case. The NGO also contributes to policy and legislation reforms and is open to any new projects promoting human rights that can strengthen local communities and institutions.

My placement has allowed me to understand and learn how to proceed with tasks necessary to support a human rights NGO and the experience has been enriching so far. Indeed, I have compiled research necessary for project development resulting in the implementation of two project proposals: the first related to the Universal Peer Review and the second to sexual and reproductive rights for women in Ghana. I have also spent much time conceptualizing and posting on various HRAC social media platforms which increased awareness about numerous human rights related-issues  in  Ghana.  Finally, the supervisor tasked the foreign interns to develop a method to raise funds for a community project which will result in the refurbishment of the office of a local headmaster part of a minority group. Once the funds are collected, we will work on the refurbishment in the final weeks of my internship. I am excited for this last project to bear fruit and to report on the final results!

I encourage anyone interested in human rights to apply for an internship with HRAC or a similar NGO, especially if interested in doing a field internship. It is really insightful to see how a non-governmental organization operates and it allows you to assess if this environment is right for you when choosing your future career path.