Internship Programs Impact on Professional and Personal Development of Students at GivHOPE Africa

GivHOPE Africa always strives to reduce extreme poverty in Africa and the North America by assisting people in need without any discrimination in Cameroon, Côte-d’Ivoire, and Washington, DC. GivHOPE also makes sure students who are willing to have some knowledge of GivHOPE work register in its Internship Program (IP) to taste the working environment before entering the job market. The IP, based on the internal needs, might run twice or all year long and falls within GivHOPE Capacity Building Component of its portfolio.

Past experience has shown that it is not always very easy for students to move from a stage of a student to a professional one. They sometimes face many challenges when they enter into professional life because they have to adjust themselves to the professional environment by implementing their conceptual knowledge in the new world of work, thus going from theory to practicing what they have actually learned in school or university. This program, not only improves student’s personal skills but also polishes their professional growth and experience.

In Cameroon, vocational and university curricula do not always match with the private sector needs. Inappropriate teaching methodology and the crucial lack of lab equipment are some of the challenges students face and the reasons why they find it difficult to implement conceptual knowledge in solving their daily life problems or their employers’ requirements. GivHOPE Africa Internship Program can help resolve this gap and also improve the private sector work performance once students are hired because they are immediately operational, reducing by so doing their employers’ training costs.

GivHOPE Africa Internship Program is an opportunity for first level-entry individuals or those in academic internship to be exposed to the functioning, role, values and goals of GivHOPE. The internship allows individuals to improve their skills in all GivHOPE programs/projects, including the administrative aspects. In return individuals share new ideas, knowledge and perspectives with GivHOPE.

Merra and Ariane, respectively a second year Bilingual Letters student at the University of Yaoundé1, and a vocational accounting training center student entered the internship program at GivHOPE Africa several weeks ago. Manuella, who graduated from the Yaoundé II – Soa Law School has just joined the team. 

Each student has a different role based on their specialties: Merra who is a bilingual linguistic student deals with translation and administrative works while Ariane, an accountant, works on the judiciary documents such as the financial reports, the journal and the general ledger. Manuella reviews some GivHOPE Africa legal documents for accuracy with its goals and perspectives. All students do manual works consisting of cleaning the working environment (Kitchen, office and garden).

 “My impressions are that the training we  receive here is very professional and the social link in terms of GivHOPE helping the poor and the less privileged is very tangible. I really appreciate the exposure to different environments and people that help to better integrate us in the society” Merra indicates.

Manuella describes her passage at GivHOPE Africa in the following terms:

“GivHOPE Africa is a lieu to be for a “Green” like me who has never worked before. I like its friendly working atmosphere. The work we do here is more practical and technical than what we are thought in the classrooms. The work carried out also needs to be professional because the Coordinator is very professional, too. I also love the social aspect of it: breakfast and lunch are served. I really feel at home at GivHOPE Africa”.

The impact of internship programs is that it improves the professional and personal skills of students after the completion of their internship period and gives them the opportunity to take new challenges that can also quickly develop their personal and professional growth. The private sector or the companies that employ internship program students are better off than others because these students have already mingled with the work environment and their employers’ training costs are reduced than those freshly from the classrooms. GivHOPE internship enables students to get some hands-on and practical capacity building skills training while pursuing the course of their studies and enhances their workplace experience during the course of their degrees.

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