UNDP values the work of all our personnel, including our interns. UNDP is pleased to announce that for the first time, under our People for 2030 Strategy, since January 2020 interns receive a stipend.
UNDP’s internship programme provides mutual benefits to both interns and the organization. For young people, internships are important because they provide vital work experience that helps them at an early stage in their career. Also they can represent the first step in a career with UNDP or the UN system. For UNDP, we benefit from a more diverse and talented workforce by securing the services of young, gifted professionals. Here is one of their stories.
Starting a career is a challenge anywhere. Georgia is no exception. Young graduates have two possibilities; get lucky and find a stable job right away, or start out as an intern to gain practical experience and use this to find more fulfilling work. The second approach requires persistence, hard work and a strong commitment, because most interns don’t make any money. One needs to hold a second job to makes ends meet, and this can be exhausting.
I started looking for UN agencies in Georgia working on energy efficiency projects, because that is a specific area of climate adaptation for which I have a passion. UNDP has projects in this field, and so I submitted an application to work as an intern.
I was sure that working with UNDP could help me grow and be an important step in developing my career, so after the interview I was nervous waiting to hear whether I would be selected. I was very excited when I received the offer, and I was excited to start work.
The first couple of months were challenging, but worth the effort. The best part about interning at UNDP is being part of a great team. All my colleagues are kind, intelligent and driven people. They helped me every step of the way as I started work on rural development projects in Georgia.
My responsibilities include coordinating, monitoring, evaluating and reporting on project activities. I also collect and develop analytical records and provide translations. While I was doing this work, I took the initiative to join UNDP’s Energy Efficiency Project, which I support by classifying studies and data, and providing background research. Finally, I am doing exactly what I wanted to do to build my career, and I really feel I am contributing to something positive.
Throughout the early part of my internship I was freelancing to pay my bills. After my day at UNDP I would go home and have to keep working. Then, in January 2020 I received great news. UNDP had put in place a new policy that gives every intern a stipend. With this new source of income, I was able to put my freelance work on hold and concentrate 100 percent on my duties with UNDP.
UNDP's new stipend policy is especially significant for women in Georgia. Financial independence is crucial to being able to focus on self-development. I know many women who want to build their careers but are financially dependent on others. Paid internships are a way out. In my case the stipend has allowed me to prolong my internship for three months. Beyond helping me pay my bills, the stipend has boosted me psychologically, improving my motivation and self-esteem, and reducing anxiety about money. It feels great to see a concrete signal that my work is valued, and that I am respected.
The UNDP internship programme offers significant opportunities to future professionals and provides vital work experience that helps young people achieve their career goals. The stipend opens this door to many people who formerly found it closed because they couldn’t afford to work for free. My internship with UNDP in Georgia has strengthened my passion for working in climate adaptation, and the skills I need to move on to the next phase of my career.
This is the right place and the right time for any intern who wants to grow. To current and future UNDP interns, I wish you luck. Every day is a different experience in UNDP. Advance your knowledge, expand your skills and be open to new opportunities. Learn, work hard, and never give up. You will achieve your dreams!