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Internship

Internships are a short-term attachment by students, young professionals or volunteers of any age to the RDRS programme. The internship should benefit both Intern, through widening and deepening their knowledge of Bangladesh, development and working in a field-based NGO, but also RDRS in terms of carrying out useful work, building links and promoting its work with partners. RDRS offer two types of Internship:
first, a formal 8-week study programme (requiring a minimum of 8 Interns) which involves a larger group following a combined study and work experience programme
second, an informal Intern attachment (which requires a minimum of two Interns) which involves merely a work attachment but also some individual assignments from RDRS. In this case, the Intern must fit in with the needs of the organisation.
The Intern programme is open to volunteers or staff from partner agencies, to students from partner colleges/institutions, and to staff from LWF programmes or other implementing partners.
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Objectives
An opportunity for students, and young professionals to participate in an exposure, study and work experience programmed connected with a large working NGO in the south and gain insight and experience as a result.
To assist RDRS to conduct some tasks, especially research and documentation in support of its development work.
To strengthen co-operation and linkages between RDRS and its core partners.
Programme Details Proposed Dates:
A: Formal Internship : 2 months (8 weeks) from 15th July until 9th September 2002.
B:
Informal Intern Attachment : can be arranged at any time for varying lengths of time, to fit in with ongoing programme requirements.
Specific Themes :

For the formal programme, study options include Food Security; Disaster Preparedness and Response; Mother and Child Health, People’s Organisations, Microfinance, Advocacy, Research and Information. The informal attachment can be arranged by negotiation to suit the interests of interns and RDRS.

Programme :

Orientation, preliminary field visits, one week study/seminar programme, 6-week posting to central or field offices and participation in work or research/information assignment, learning practical ways of doing field-level work, concluding seminar/ workshop, and completion/submission of assignments.

Output :

Normally, the main assignment will be contributing to some practical aspect of the development programme – for example, data research or analysis, research, human development and skills training, computer training, library administration, health clinic. The Intern will be expected to :

produce a report on their work – providing concise analytical information or documentation in centain cases, a specific research or information task will be the main assignment, which may be conducted individually or as a group.
submit at least 2 feature reports on any aspect of the RDRS programme (short 2 pages journalistic article) in their own language and English, which can be left with RDRS for further use.
Cost : Internship including food and lodgings at RDRS guesthouse at USD 40 per day (Euro 30), training, work/research assignment and support, and transport within the RDRS working area. In addition, USD 250 (Euro 170) per month per person is charged for supervision, guidance and administrative purposes. Note that this merely covers direct costs – RDRS makes no ‘profit’ and must allocate staff time to serve Interns. As an NGO, RDRS has no spare funds to subsidise this arrangement.
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The Intern’s Own Responsibilities

- intership fees (as above)

arranging visa for duration of visit (RDRS can provide invitation letter).
health insurance.
airfares to/from Bangladesh.
other personal expenses (e.g. telephone etc).
Certificate :

RDRS will award a certificate from the North Bengal Institute on successful completion of the formal internship.

Task and Assignments :

For the assignment/work placement, RDRS will endeavour to place the Intern where their skills, experience and interest may be of greatest value or according to their interest – for example, personnel with health background will be assigned to the Community Health Project, with agricultural background to the Agriculture Unit or training centres. Those with generalist skills can be allocated a research/information assignment or assigned to related general work – computer use, library work, journalism, personnel, and similar. The final assignment will be decided when the Intern’s applications and preferences are received.

Specification and Guidance for Applicants

The Intern Experience

From previous experience, RDRS has found that interns who are motivated and committed, adaptable and able to work on their own prove the best interns and both parties gain most from the experience. Although RDRS provides reasonable living conditions in its guesthouses (there are 5 main guesthouses, in Dhaka and the field), living in northern Bangladesh can prove very challenging and demanding – there is little freedom of movement, and foreigners (especially women) attract attention wherever they go, which can be difficult for those not used to it. There is little or no evening social life. Visitors are expected to fit into prevailing cultural practices and norms so as not to cause offence. Visitors may also find the same Bengali food monotonous and unappetising for weeks on end. The summer months are also very hot and humid (averaging 34-36 degrees C and with 95% humidity) which can be energy-sapping. Communications are also problematic. It is possible to telephone Europe or North America (though charges are high); email/internet communication exists. Due to political reasons there may be frequent strikes often extending for several days when all transport stops and interns should remain indoors. In the summer months, also the monsoon, flooding does occur which is unlikely to affect the interns directly but may limit their movement. Finally, RDRS is a busy working NGO – there may be no staff member with much time to assist or supervise an intern, the intern may have to fit into the travel arrangements of others to visit the field. Occasionally other interns can become dissatisfied and this can unsettle even those who are relatively satisfied.

For those who can adjust to these conditions, an internship can be a rewarding experience and RDRS has been privileged to have a long series of interns who have adapted, and benefited personally from the experience as well as contributing to the work of the organization and interpreting it abroad. We also have experience of a few who were not satisfied, or found the circumstances oppressive.

Normally, we expect interns to have some maturity – so anyone below 23 would need to be highly motivated. Some previous exposure to developing countries will also help overcome initial ‘shock’.

Application Procedures

Interested participants from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Netherlands, Japan, Canada, USA should contact the relevant RDRS partner agency in the first instance. These applications will then be forwarded to RDRS – in addition to their resume/CV, this should also state their area of interest for possible assignment.

Application should be submitted by June every year through the church agency in their country, namely: Lutherhjaelpen (Church of Sweden Aid), DanChurchAid (DCA/ DANIDA), Interchurch Organisation for Development Co-operation (ICCO), Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), Finnchurchaid (FCA), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR), Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church (JELC).

Payment of the Internship Fee should be made in full in advance.

RDRS reserves the right to cancel the programme in the event of insufficient interest or other circumstances (such as deteriorating political or natural disaster).

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