For a true “21st century UN”, we must reform the UN internship programme

[15 October 2018]

Following the release of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) review of the UN internship programme, and as part of a UN-wide reform in favour of a ”21st century UN”,  the Fair Internship Initiative urges the Secretariat to take this opportunity to usher in long overdue changes needed for its internship programme.

If the goals of these reforms truly are to shepherd the United Nations into the 21st century, the FII believes that the current climate of reform within the UN presents the perfect opportunity for concerted effort to implement the JIU recommendations and to

include the internship programme in its human resources reforms.

Read the full article in the October 2018 issue of UN special.


WHO to Offer Financial Assistance to Interns

[25 May 2018]

Wonderful news coming out of the the 71st World Health Assembly! Algeria, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines and South Africa put forth the draft proposal ‘Reform of the Global Internship Programme and it passed without objections!

That means, Member states have requested the WHO to…

  • “Strengthen a transparent, merit-based intern recruitment process.”
  • “The setting of a target that by 2022, at least 50% of accepted interns on the programme originate from least developed countries and middle-income countries.”
  • “The provision by the Secretariat of financial, *as soon as possible and no later than 2020*, and where applicable, in-kind assistance, including through collaboration with host countries, for all accepted interns without sufficient existing support, at a level set for the duty station, to cover reasonably incurred travel and living expenses for the duration of the internship.

“And I’ve also listened to the concerns raised by our interns. Interns make an enormous contribution to WHO’s work, and the experience they gain is an important investment in building country capacity.

But I have to be honest: we must treat our interns much better than we do. Too often we use them as free labour, rather than an investment in youth, and in developing the health leaders of the future.

We have already taken some steps towards improving conditions for our interns, like giving them health insurance, lunch vouchers – very simple – and the same rights to time off as staff. And we are also considering paying a stipend by 2020 to interns who lack the financial resources to support themselves.”

– Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, during the World Health Assembly (WHA), 21 May 2018.

Congratulations to all present and past interns who have campaigned tirelessly for this momentous occasion!

Draft Resolution A71/B/CONF./1

Financial and administrative implications of Draft Resolution A71/B/CONF./1 Add.1

WHO offers Health Insurance to all Interns

[17 May 2018] The World Health Organization (WHO) announced «with immediate effect, will offer health insurance to all current and future interns in all duty stations». Previously, it stated thatWHO Interns must have adequate medical insurance coverage during the entire period of the internships.

This is good news for the organization as it was “founded on the principle that all people should be able to realize their right to the highest possible level of health.” (UN)ironically, WHO has dedicated this year to the theme ‘Health for All.’  Which also happens to be the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3.8 is to “Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.

Employing around 1,000 interns per year in Geneva, this move will help reduce the financial barriers for current and future interns.  Health insurance is mandatory for anyone living in Switzerland, and for many interns it costs them between 200CHF-500CHF per month. This is a positive step in equaling the accessibility issues that unpaid internships cause.

We hope this is one of many more measures to be taken for fair internships in the future, both at the WHO and other organizations.

#HealthForAll #NoOneLeftBehind #UnpaidIsStillUnfair

[Geneva] International Interns’ Day 2017 – “Youth Empowerment through Fair Internships”

International Intern’s Day : Youth Empowerment through Fair Internships

On November 3rd, the Fair Internship Initiative organized with the support of the ILO Intern Board, the discussion “Youth Empowerment through Fair Internships”.

Continue reading “[Geneva] International Interns’ Day 2017 – “Youth Empowerment through Fair Internships””