Weaving Communities Together

Community Development Internships

Help make a lasting impact in underserved communities

When you join our community development internship programs, you align yourself to sustainable, inclusive and ethical initiatives that are led by local organisations on the ground.

We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a roadmap to ensure that we engage with local communities in a way that will lead to long-term social impact, giving you credible experience to help you build your career.

Cutting Edge

Cutting Edge

Our programs are partnered with locally-led projects that are at the forefront of inclusive, actionable community engagement and development.


We pledge to do good only through meaningful, considered action that can make a proven difference in the world.


Using the UN’s SDGs as a framework, we’re committed to community development solutions that are built to have a lasting, positive impact.

What are community development internships all about?

Internship types
What’s included

Community development internships

Volunteering and interning with communities abroad is a meaningful way to make a positive impact across the globe. But what exactly does community development mean? And, what work would you get involved in as a community development intern? 

An internship in community development is all about making an impact while gaining real-life work experience that expands on your career development in a meaningful way. These opportunities include initiatives that build on achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).


Community development internships focus on sustainable development activities like:

  • facilitating English language lessons with school children and classes with adult learners that would benefit from doing business with English-speaking tourists
  • developing and implementing women’s empowerment workshops to create a more equal world
  • leading skills development sessions to help set up alternative forms of income and increase people’s access to gainful employment opportunities
  • adding to infrastructure in inland, coastal or island settings
  • contributing to program fundraising activities.


Our internships offer you the opportunity to achieve your personal and professional goals, whether or not you’re planning to work in community development in the future. And, the added excitement of travelling abroad will grow your global and professional perspective in a big way too.

Imagine living in the tropical terrains of Costa Rica for a few weeks (or months), where you can support educational after-care programs at local schools and educational initiatives. Our programs are run in collaboration with non-profits and non-governmental organisations in Cartago.

Or, what about taking on a community development internship in Nepal, by immersing yourself in multi-cultural villages in the Himalayan mountains where you’ll connect with their women’s empowerment groups?

As a community development intern, you can travel to settings like these and so many more. You could choose from programs that you are passionate about on different continents and numerous countries across the globe. 

Depending on your professional and personal goals, you can also choose between three different internship types: core, career and research internships.

Why should I join a community development internship?

Participating in a community development internship has many benefits that’ll stay with you into your future. 

Many of our alumni say that doing an internship or volunteering was some of the best experiences of their lives – a time that has shaped them forever. Read through real stories and reviews from participants to get a feel for what it’s like to work as an intern on our people-focused programs.

Benefits of joining a GVI community development internship:

  • Get first-hand practical experience by participating in actual international social impact projects.
  • Contribute to locally-led initiatives that have a meaningful impact on communities.
  • Learn directly from experts, practitioners and academics in sustainable development.
  • Gain a more well-rounded perspective on sustainable development.
  • Get the opportunity to build on your intercultural communication skills.
  • Show employers that you’re serious about the sustainability sector, and will travel the world to get the best experience.
  • Contribute to UN SDG Goal 1: No Poverty, Goal 2: Zero Hunger and Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities.
  • Build a network of industry professionals and like-minded global change-makers who can help you along your career journey.
  • Immerse yourself in vibrant new cultures and customs, and experience beautiful nature scenery, historical sites, interesting architecture and cuisines.


Together, all these factors make for a world-class internship wherever you may travel to.

Safeguarding children on community development internships

To ensure that the work we do abroad is ethical and safeguards the children we interact with, GVI has a Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy that is implemented on every one of our community development internships. As part of this policy, participants will be required to complete a DPS check, police clearance or a National Background Check where necessary.

We also don’t offer any internship opportunities with orphans – take a look at our position on orphanage volunteering to learn more about the risks and reasons.

What types of community development internships are there?

If you’re keen to intentionally build your career in sustainability and social impact, our internship programs are a great fit for you. Although all our volunteer programs also offer great training and development opportunities, GVI internships are more focused on helping you learn new skills that will directly support your professional goals.

With GVI community development internships, you can choose between three different internship types for any of the programs you’re interested in. Depending on your goals, future plans and purpose, you can decide between our core, career or research internships.

Core internship 

If you prefer to stick with a more general approach to interning in community development, a core internship will allow you to gain broader insight into the field. 

During a core internship, you’ll typically get to be part of a broad range of community development projects. You might for example work with primary school children, be involved in facilitating English language lessons, and participate in other projects requested by local community members. 

You might also get to take on a research project that looks to answer key questions about the development, implementation and effectiveness of community development programs in certain locations.

As a core intern, you’ll get additional responsibilities for leadership on the GVI base. You might lead educational sessions, organise fundraisers or support marketing initiatives. And you’ll be guided along the way by your remote internship supervisor.

Research internship

In contrast, research community development interns will have much more exposure to qualitative and quantitative research tasks in community development to support your academic goals. 

This may mean gathering data about the effectiveness of infrastructure improvements – that’ll add to ongoing international or local studies. It could also mean engaging with local women while facilitating reproductive health workshops to collect important information that you’ll use for your thesis.

As a research intern in our community development programs, you’ll be supported in your efforts by a remote research internship supervisor, have the chance to tap into GVI’s existing datasets, and collaborate with researchers in our other global hubs. 

You’ll also receive GVI’s job guarantee if you complete a program of six months.

Career internship

If you’re looking to expand your global network in a specific area of sustainable development, like international community development, community development research, or community development in areas with limited resources, then you’ll gain tons of experience on a career internship.

As a career intern, you’ll have opportunities to collaborate with numerous organisations, both locally and internationally, on top of your standard project work. In this way, you’ll gain insights into how community development work is managed in vastly different local contexts. 

You might, for example, delve into operations management for a nonprofit in one of our locations, and support staff with their day-to-day responsibilities. Or, perhaps you’ll work with local and international women’s groups to help fine tune their English language curriculum and activities for skills development workshops. 

Whatever the project, you’ll be engaging with community stakeholders, partners and experts across the globe. All while you are guided by your remote career internship supervisor and have chances to network with other global career interns.

What’s included in community development internships?

When you join our internship programs, you will get access to a number of resources, experiences, tools and benefits to boost your career.

Whether you join our core, career or research internships, this is what you’ll get access to:

  • Comprehensive mentorship and feedback from a remote supervisor.
  • A reference from your supervisor, as well as a LinkedIn reference and relevant endorsements (for career and research interns).
  • Online, pre-program training in leadership and community development that’s recognised by the University of Richmond, as well as access to our post-program careers course.
  • Hands-on field training in sustainable development and community development best practices.
  • Real-world experience working with local organisations as well as local community members.
  • Access to our job portal which collates vacancies in the sector.
  • A job guarantee – for career and research interns who complete a six-month program.
  • Two career coaching sessions.
  • A personalised reference posted on LinkedIn.

Save up to 15%. Book before 31 March.

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Community Development

Latin America
Gender Equality Internship in Madagascar
Teaching Internship in Ghana
Global Health Internship in South Africa
Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Internship in Ghana
Gender Equality Internship in Ghana
English Teaching Internship in Madagascar
Women’s Empowerment Internship in Ghana
Women’s Empowerment Internship in South Africa
Professional Apprenticeship
Teaching and Community Development Apprenticeship in South Africa
Teaching Internship in South Africa
Community Development Internship in South Africa