Choosing the Right Community Development Volunteer Internship

You will be able to contribute to positive social change when you engage in a community development volunteer internship. This will also help you gain available skills and experiences. You can work alongside local organisations to address societal issues like education, poverty, healthcare and environmental sustainability.

You have to understand the goals

And purpose of the programme before you embark on this journey. Think about what you hope to achieve through thisinternship and whether this is gaining practical experience that will later help in your career, exploring a career in community development or making a positive impact on communities. You need to check whether the objectives of the programme align with your goals. You can check how to get apply for these internships and in which countries you can work in. You can start researching different volunteerprogrammes that offer internships in community development. You need to check for reputed programmes that arewell-established in the country andalign with your interests. Check how long the programme is and where it is locatedalong with its focus areas, support services available to you and the related costs. There will be reviews from past volunteers that can be quite useful for you to get a sense of their experience and how it affected them.

You will need to assess the community needs

And impact of the volunteer programme. You can check which programmes prioritise community driven approaches and sustainable solutions. You need to check how this programme will engage with the local community and empower the residents. Think about the long term change that will be made by the programme and its impact on the pressing societal issues of the country. Assess how the programme will improve the quality of life of the community members and whether you can bring your own expertise and skills to this. You will be able to develop project management skills when you go for such an internship. But you have to check how the programme supports the interns when it comes to planning, implementing and assessing community projects. Check if the programme provides mentorship, training and hands-on experience in problem solving, project management and leadership. By developing your project management skills, you will be more prepared for future roles in this field.

Cultural competence is required to work in diverse communities

And you need to check whether the programme addresses this. Check whether they provide cultural orientation lessons, training in the local language and opportunities to engage with the local community. By developing your cultural competence, you will be able to collaborate with community members and have a better understanding of their perspectives. This will contribute to meaningful relationships with the community. Check the level of support provided to the internships by the programme such as on-site training, ongoing mentorship etc. You need to check whether you will have access to experienced community development professionals that can offer feedback and support through the internship period.  Check how the programme addresses sustainability in their projects. You can select programmes that prioritise community ownership, capacity building and local empowerment.

Kaylen Dalby
the authorKaylen Dalby