Internship Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Rural women in Senegal attend a literacy class after the introduction of the Multifunctional Platform Project by the United Nations Development Programme (UN Photo/Evan Schneider)

What specific activities does an internship at ACCORD entail?

The Internship Programme strives to provide a balanced work plan. The activities and duties undertaken will vary according to the duration of the internship, the activities currently underway within ACCORD, and the skills and level of experience which you bring to the institution.

The Internship Programme has a four-pronged approach:

  • Programmatic activities: These are core activities of the Programme/Unit you will be assigned to and for which you will be responsible for.
  • Administrative tasks: These tasks refer to regular responsibilities in terms of drafting correspondence, preparing reports, and assisting in the preparation of training materials, event co-ordination, as well as logistical and administrative preparation for programmatic activities
  • Personal development: This includes activities which enhance the knowledge and skills of interns in areas of conflict management and prevention. These include possible attendance and/or participation in internal or other workshops and completing research in a field of interest for possible publication with ACCORD.
  • Institutional development: This incorporates developing skills which may benefit the institution. This may include writing, research, analytical, training or other skills. Institutional development may also include the intern providing a particular function or skill to ACCORD to enhance institutional and programmatic development.

Interns at ACCORD have enjoyed research, analysis, assisting in preparing and implementing workshops, participation in trainings, developing projects, and meeting a host of academics and practitioners in the field of conflict management.

What department or unit can I apply to intern with?

Internships are available within ACCORD’s Knowledge Production Department and Interventions Department. Applicants interested in undertaking and supporting research, should apply to the Knowledge Production Department as a ‘research intern’. Applicants interested in applying to the Interventions Department are likely to undertake a range of programmatic activities and support functions. Those interested in working in the Intervention Department must apply specifically to one of the four Interventions Units: Peacemaking Unit, Peacekeeping Unit, Peacebuilding Unit or the Training Unit.

From time to time, ACCORD makes internship opportunities available to applicants wishing to gain experience in Communications and Special Projects (such as organising ad-hoc events and assisting with new programmatic activities). If you wish to apply for such an internship, please stipulate this on the application form – but note these positions are not always available.

What do the departments and units do?

Knowledge Production Department: The Knowledge Production Department’s (KPD) role is to establish ACCORD as a positive and constructive learning organisation that enhances theory, policy and practice in the field of conflict management. KPD’s core work is research to support the work done with the Interventions’ Department. Thus candidates applying to this Department would be ‘research interns’ who would be tasked with supporting institutional research activities. Research interns work under the Department’s Senior Researchers and facilitate the general functioning of the department through support and administrative tasks. In the past, Research Interns have been given the opportunity to undertake their own research if it aligns with the Department’s agenda and interests.

The Interventions Departments:

  • The Peacemaking Unit: The overall goal of the Peacemaking Unit is the prevention of violent conflict, and the promotion of dialogue and peaceful resolution of conflicts. The Unit is engaged with proactive and reactive peacemaking interventions. These include policy development, capacity building initiatives such as training forums, study tours, confidence building initiatives, institutional capacity building, contributing conflict analysis briefings, and others. Most recently, particular attention has been given to the situations in Sudan, Somalia, Madagascar and the Comoros.
  • The Peacekeeping Unit: The Peacekeeping Unit, through its Training for Peace Programme, is one of the leading programmes on civilian peacekeeping. In the last 15 years, it has contributed towards capacity building within the broader ambit of regional and international peace operations at the practical and conceptual level in Africa. This includes providing training, producing handbooks and information resources for peacekeepers and promoting dialogue in the field of civilian peacekeeping. The Unit has given a crucial support to the development of African peacekeeping policies, particularly concerning the implementation of the civilian dimension of the African Standby Force. The Peacekeeping Unit has strong ties to United Nations Missions globally and to the operations mandated by the African Union.
  • The Peacebuilding Unit: The Peacebuilding Unit has a strong focus on training, research, and policy development in the African peacebuilding field. In particular, its African Peacebuilding Coordination Programme (APCP) seeks to contribute to enhanced levels of coherence and coordination in peacebuilding, and to support the attainment of greater levels of local ownership of peacebuilding processes in African countries transitioning from conflict. Specifically, the Programme focuses its work on the peacebuilding processes currently underway in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Liberia and Sudan.
  • Training Unit: The primary purpose of the Training Unit is to transfer skills in conflict analysis, conflict management and conflict resolution in Africa. The Unit aims to meet ACCORD’s distinctive purpose of finding African methodologies to meet the demand for African solutions to African challenges. The Unit’s trainings align with the programmatic activities of the Interventions Department, and can therefore cover a range of activities across the spectrum of conflict management from peacemaking to peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Applicants applying for an internship with the Training Unit will support the Unit in organising training events, collating training materials and to assisting the Unit with overall Unit administration and logistics.

Each department offers a unique and exciting experience for any graduate. For more information refer to the specific department web pages and the ACCORD newsfeed.

What are the basic selection criteria?

Candidates are required to have a graduate or post-graduate degree (or be enrolled in a graduate programme) in a social science related to conflict management, conflict resolution, peace studies or international relations. The applicants must be fluent in English and be adept to both researching and writing. For the Peacebuilding and Peacemaking Units’ positions, fluency in French would be a benefit. Previous work experience in the field is not a requirement but it is preferred that the candidate exhibits a strong commitment to, and understanding of, the focal areas of the Unit he or she is applying for.

What degree do I have to have?

A degree in a social science related to conflict management, conflict resolution, peace studies or international relations is preferable. However, the degree is not the only criterion that is considered. If the applicant proves (in their application) an interest in, and knowledge of, African peace and conflict issues then this is taken into consideration.

Is previous work experience necessary?

Although previous work experience is desirable, it is not a pre-requisite for an internship with ACCORD.

Applicants still studying or recently graduated are considered for internships should their interests and capabilities be a suitable match for the Organisation’s needs.

Can I speak to somebody about the internship programme at ACCORD?

Please ensure you have gone through all the information provided on the website, and if you still have queries email: As a ‘last resort’ you can call the ACCORD Internship Coordinator on: +27 31 502 3908

Should I get in contact with a department manager before I apply?

All applications should be addressed to the Internship Coordinator (email: Department Managers do not field any applications and unfortunately do not have the time to facilitate queries related to the internship programme.

Are local graduates favoured over international graduates?

The Internship Programme at ACCORD seeks to promote a Multicultural Understanding of Conflict, and therefore applications from all nationalities are accepted and reviewed.

What is the duration of an internship?

Internships are offered between February and November of each year. The minimum duration for internships is 3 months. However internships may range from 3 to 6 months with the possibility of extension.

How many hours a week will I work?

Normal working hours are from 08h00 to 17h00, Monday to Friday. All interns are expected to work 8 hours a day with a one-hour lunch break. Seminars, trainings, and workshops may result in interns working after-hours or on weekends from time to time.

What is the dress code at ACCORD?

All interns are expected to dress in a professional manner (ACCORD has a “no jeans” policy).

Are internships paid or unpaid?

Internships at ACCORD are typically unpaid and voluntary positions. Interns are responsible for all their travel, accommodation, transport, living expenses and other costs incurred while preparing for and undertaking an internship with ACCORD. However, to encourage and promote the development of African scholars and African expertise, some funding is available to support selected interns. Please note, that this funding is limited and only African nationals may be eligible to receive a modest living stipend to support them during their Internship.

Does ACCORD offer assistance in terms of accommodation or transport?

All transport and accommodation is the responsibility of the intern.

If accepted to do an internship with ACCORD, you will be provided with an advisory ‘Information Note’ indicating accommodation options in the Durban area. In this document, contact details are provided for letting/rental agencies, guesthouses, and boarding facilities. Interns are required to explore the various options available and make the arrangements most suitable for themselves.

The offices in Mount Edgecombe (near Umhlanga Rocks, outside of Durban) are close to public transport routes, in particular the mini bus or taxi routes, and there are a number of car rental agencies in Durban which you can approach. The details of these agencies and maps of the local area are also made available to the successful applicants. Please note ACCORD does not have its own transport service.

Who will supervise me as an intern?

For the purpose of providing a comprehensive personal development experience, each intern will be assigned to a member of the ACCORD staff who will act as a supervisor for that intern. The supervisor will co-ordinate and oversee the intern’s work, ensure productive use of time, and provide guidance and feedback to the intern.

What are the conditions of the internship?

All ACCORD interns will be given a standard letter of acceptance, which outlines their duties and responsibilities. Interns will have a workplan developed for them by their supervisor, and will be bound by a contract ‘of service’ whilst they are with ACCORD.

Does ACCORD have a strict confidentiality code?

Interns are expected to treat the contents of all files, correspondence and documents, both written and electronic, as confidential.

What is the copyright policy at ACCORD?

All research and work products developed during the internship shall be the property of ACCORD unless otherwise agreed prior the internship period (for those undertaking specific research for university purposes).

How may I benefit by undertaking an internship with ACCORD?

Interns derive many benefits from their work at ACCORD:

  • Interns at ACCORD enjoy being fully immersed in projects at ACCORD and will be expected to take part in the team work required in all activities at ACCORD.
  • Interns enjoy a degree of flexibility. Work at ACCORD affords interns the opportunity to undertake programmes or research topics related to their interests and expertise.
  • Interns can receive training in conflict resolution if the opportunity exists.
  • ACCORD provides interns with a computer, internet access and work station
  • Interns have access to ACCORD’s Resource Centre which houses a variety of books and publications on conflict resolution and other peace and security related issues with a particular focus on the African context.
  • ACCORD will aid in the furtherance of the intern’s personal study through the provision of contacts and/or networks where such aid is possible.
  • ACCORD encourages and appreciates the contributions of interns’ initiative, creativity, and resourcefulness at all stages of program design and development.
  • ACCORD will provide the intern with a report or letter of reference upon the successful completion of the internship.

What career opportunities can an internship at ACCORD create for you?

Previous interns have gone on to work for ACCORD as a full-time employee, or have acquired posts with the African Union, United Nations and other peace and conflict NGO’s around the world.

If I am shortlisted will I be required to write an entrance test?

No, you will not be required to write an entrance test. Your writing sample will form part of your entrance ‘test’, as will a telephone interview with the relevant Unit Coordinator or Department Manager. If any additional supporting documentation or conversations are needed this will be determined by ACCORD.

What is the interview process? How many rounds are there, and is it a ‘one-on-one’ or a panel interview?

If your application is shortlisted you will be contacted by the relevant Unit Coordinator or Department Manager for a telephone interview. The Unit or Department may then elect to organise a panel telephone interview or second round interview should it be deemed necessary.

Must I include references in my application?

The application form asks for contact details of two referees. Please ensure you provide the correct contact details and that you define your relationship with that referee.

What should my application contain?

  1. A CV of no more than two pages
  2. A Cover letter outlining your reasons why you are applying to do an internship with ACCORD, reasons you are applying to your chosen unit, what you think you will benefit from ACCORD and what you think you can offer ACCORD.
  3. A 1500 word writing sample on a subject related to peace and conflict. Please note the writing sample submitted must adhere to academic guidelines of referencing using either Harvard , footnotes or endnote method of referencing.

These can all be uploaded via the online application form. All documents must be in Arial size 12 font.

When should I apply?

The selection panel typically sits twice a year in March and November of each year. Applications must therefore reach us by:

Applications for internships beginning in the period February to June-July:

  • Deadline: 30 November (of the previous year)

Applications for internships beginning in the period June to November-December:

  • Deadline: 28 February

How do I submit my application?

An online application form can be found here.

How will I know when ACCORD has received my application?

ACCORD receives a high volume of applications and cannot respond to each applicant individually. Only if you have been successful in your application, will you receive an email or telephone correspondence from the Internship Coordinator.

How will I know whether my application has been successful?

Due to the volume of applications received, only short listed applicants will be notified. In general, notification will be given by mid-November (for the following February intake) and mid-March (if applying for June/July intake)

Who should I contact if I have additional questions?

All applications and queries must be directed to: