The internship with WHO offers a wide range of opportunities for graduate and postgraduate students to gain insight in the technical and administrative programmes of WHO while enriching their knowledge and experience in the health field, thereby contributing to the advancement public health.
WHO has an Internship Vacancies where candidates from across the world are invited to express interest in specific areas of work and organizational locations (regional offices, country offices or headquarters).
Today, we will break down the details of one of the most sought after WHO’s Internship Programme. Read along to find out more how the programme works and what the requirements you need to fulfil in order to qualify as a future WHO intern.
The European Region (EURO) of WHO is made up of 53 countries, with over 880 million people. WHO EURO offers internships in its country and regional offices.
The WHO internship programme has three objectives:
- to provide a framework for assigning students from diverse academic backgrounds to WHO programmes, where educational experience can be enhanced through practical work assignments;
- to expose students to the work of WHO; and
- to provide WHO programmes with the assistance of students specializing in various fields.
Most students are placed in health-related programmes, although placements in other areas of work like for example communication, external relations, finance or human resources are also possible.
Under the supervision of a technical expert in the respective area, interns are assigned a project based on agreed terms of references and in line with their skills set. These terms of references typically include some or all of the following responsibilities:
- assist in drafting, formatting and editing policy briefs, tool kits, guides/manuals, hand-outs, brochures and reports;
- assist in organizing workshops, meetings, conferences, events;
- organize data and documents;
- participate in on-going departmental projects;
- participate in the development of tools and guidelines;
- review literature and conduct literature surveys;
- undertake web research and data collection on specific subject area.
The duration of WHO internships is between six to twenty four weeks depending on the needs of the WHO technical unit and the intern’s availability.
As of January 2020, WHO provides stipends to students who need support. After selection, the interns will fill a disclosure form to indicate if they already have support (grant / scholarships, etc.). Based on this disclosure form, WHO will provide stipends up to a specific amount per duty station. The amount will be indicated for each position the students apply to.
WHO provides to all interns a medical and accident insurance. All costs of travel and accommodation are the responsibility of the intern candidate.
Requirement / Eligibility
In order to qualify for an internship with WHO, all applicants must satisfy the following requirements.
Interns must have completed three years of full-time studies (bachelor’s level or equivalent) at a university or equivalent institution prior to commencing the assignment; and be enrolled in a course of study at a university or equivalent institution leading to a formal qualification (applicants who have already graduated may also qualify for consideration provided that they that they apply to the internship no later than six months after graduation).
Depending on the area of interest, the below experience may be needed and/or would be an advantage.
- Experience in research and/or in drafting reports,
- Experience in the subject area through academic work or research,
- Experience with data analysis, statistical packages and interest in the design of, graphical display and analysis of health information in an international comparative perspective, such as for health system performance assessment,
- Field and/or developing country experience,
- More specific experience such as specialized computer programmes.
- Excellent English language skills
- Fluency in one of WHO’s working languages (reading, writing and speaking). WHO official languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish
- Knowledge of the local language in some duty stations can be an asset
The core competencies required are including:
- Respecting and promoting individual and cultural difference
- Team work
All interns should be able to demonstrate the following skills in line with the WHO core competencies:
- Communicating effectively orally and in writing
- Producing and delivering quality results
- Showing willingness to learn from mistakes
- Working collaboratively with team members
In addition, interns need to be familiar with commonly used computer programmes, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint. Knowledge of specialized computer programmes, for example, statistical software such as XLStat may be an advantage.
Please note that internship with WHO are very competitive and only a small number of applicants will be accepted every year. Only successful candidates will be contacted.
Furthermore, living abroad is expensive and finding accommodation can be challenging. All intern candidates should be aware of these factors before they consider applying for a WHO Internship. The exact amount of the subsistence allowance will be calculated for each intern, after selection, based on a financial disclosure form that they will complete. WHO also provides all interns with an accident and medical insurance coverage.
Additionally, if selected for a WHO Internship, candidates will be required to provide certified copies of proof of enrollment in a course of studies and a medical certificate of fitness for work.
Interns are not eligible for appointment to consultant positions in WHO for a period of three months following the end of the internship. However, no such restriction applies to temporary or longer term staff positions if the vacancy has been advertised and a competitive process completed.
How to Apply for an Internship with WHO
Candidates from across the world are invited to express interest in specific areas of work and organizational locations (regional offices, country offices or headquarters). All applications should be made through the vacancies posted on the WHO Careers site using the WHO corporate recruitment system (Stellis).
However, please take note that internships opportunities with WHO are currently limited due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and the confinement measures in place in several countries. Offers may resume depending on the evolution of the pandemic in each duty station. Please monitor the Internship Vacancies page to have more information regarding the internship with WHO.
Please visit the frequently asked questions page if you have a query about the internship with WHO. If your question is not answered, please use the list below to contact them.
WHO Headquarters in Geneva
Avenue Appia 20
For questions on recruitment or employment, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The application for the internship with WHO will be closed on January 1st, 2021. Please note that the deadline for receipt of applications indicated previously reflects your personal device’s system settings.
Unfortunately, due to the current COVID19 situation, WHO EURO has temporarily suspended the recruitment of interns. We continue to monitor and review the situation on a regular basis. In the meantime, we encourage you to submit your application for the internship with WHO EURO. Your application will be reviewed once the temporary suspension on the recruitment of interns has been lifted.