Roots Interns for internships that matter with non-profits in Africa

Roots Interns

About

At Roots Interns, our mission is to create the perfect balance between meaningful work and valuable learning. That’s why we offer internships at NGOs and social enterprises that are adding valuable contributions towards community programs, conservation efforts, or local and green economies. We carefully match the right person with the right organisation to reach the most beneficial experience for everyone involved.

We offer opportunities in the following fields:
- Marketing, Communications, PR, & Fundraising
- Business Development
- Environmental Innovation & Management
- International Development
- Photography, Videography & Graphic Design

We provide the following structure and support for our interns:
- Clear job descriptions & learning outcomes
- Professional supervision & routine feedback sessions
- Logistical support network (airport transfers, accommodation, documents needed for a visa applications, and 24/7 emergency support)

Founded
2016
Headquarters

61-63 Wale Street
Jaga House, top floor (Greenpop office)
Bo-Kaap
Cape Town
8001
South Africa

NEW! Social Work and Psychology Internship in Cape Town

Join this nonprofit to gain on the ground experience in social work and provide psychological support to children with troubled backgrounds. You’ll work with a community center in a township that hosts children each day to ensure they have a safe and stimulating space to go. Assist with the day to day running of the center and with offering counseling sessions to the children.

Reviews

Default avatar
Alice
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had an incredible few weeks in Cape Town interning with Greenpop and Penda. I gained professional working experience in writing and communications, I developed a clearer vision of what I want to pursue as a career, I contributed to causes I feel passionate about, I met the most amazing like-minded people and I fell IN LOVE with Cape Town.

I'm really happy that I found Roots. They helped me choose an internship that was right for me (or two in my case!), guided me through the application process and were a great support in-country.

The slightly lower 'safety' rating is no reflection on Roots, Greenpop or Penda as organisations - I felt very safe and supported by them. CT is just not what I would call a 'safe' city and it's important to be aware of this. It definitely shouldn't stop you from going - the pros far outweigh the cons and taking precautions such as catching Uber's after dark meant that I never encountered any issues.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Explore. Cape Town is the most INCREDIBLE city and the surrounding national parks are beautiful. Take every opportunity you're offered and savour every moment.
Response from Roots Interns

Thank you so much for your kind review. You are very missed by both Penda and Greenpop, but we are excited to see what your future holds! Come back to Cape Town for a visit any time :)

Default avatar
Charline
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I realized my Marketing Internship for Penda Photo Tours in Cape Town during two months. It was an incredible experience who permits me to learn new things about marketing, but also to grow up my level english, and the most important to meet amazing people. I think this first professional experience will be an asset for my next internships because it builds skills in the field. About the personal view, I met a lot of people who the most of them were so nice!
My work consisted to find competitors of the company, send email to external website for purpose partnership, create listings on an external listing site to have more visibility in Internet, and SEO.
Finally, it was one of the best experiences of my life and I would keep that good memories.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Enjoy your trip and your work for company! It's an incredible experience.
Filippo
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Talitha and the whole Roots team made me feel supported and reassured at all times when preparing for my stay and internship. They provided me with all the necessary details and information and also suggested me the accomodation, and it was definetely the right choice. I got to live with the people I was working with and we developed a very good relation. The work at the office was stimulating and interesting for the most part. I learnt a lot about cooperativeness, flexibility and adaptability, working in an international environment and city. The on-field work where you witness how the work you do at the office translates into concrete action was a life-changing experience, as were the adventures exploring the beautiful Southern Africa, made possible by a great life-work balance.

What would you improve about this program?
Perhaps a little bit more structure and organization in the relationship between the interns and the supervisors, so that both can benefit the most from working with each other.
Response from Roots Interns

Thank you so much for your kind review Filippo! We enjoyed working with you :)

Lucrezia
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I totally enjoyed my experience at Greenpop. It's totally different from any internship in marketing you could find elsewhere! First of all because at the office you would feel really relaxed and welcome and you'll spent time in an environment full of people passionate about they do! Moreover, they give you lots of opportunities to also enjoy and experience Cape Town outside the working hours or during the days off you get. As a marketing internship, you'll find yourself busy in managing social media, writing blog posts, doing research! I made many friends with whom I shared my different adventures (road trips, hikes, wine tasting)

Abdul Rahman
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Interning at Greenpop was such a fun experience. The work environment itself is very relaxed and the culture is very intimate. Moreover, I became such good friends with the employees and also with the other interns at work. I'm interested in pursuing a marketing concentration and therefore, I applied for the marketing and creative writing internship at Greenpop. My supervisor, Zoe, was extremely helpful and informative and even though I don't have any prior experience with marketing, Zoe was very willing to guide me through the work. South Africa itself is a very beautiful country with so much to offer. The natural beauty of the country is breathtaking and the activities range from hikes and adrenaline filled activities to restaurants and bars. In addition, South Africa is host to a variety of different species and so, the wildlife in South Africa is a beauty one must experience. The city itself is filled with young travelers which makes it very easy to meet new and interesting people. It was overall a very memorable experience that I will for sure be sharing with friends and family back home. All of this was made possible by roots intern and especially Talitha who helped me throughout the process.

Programs

Displaying 1 - 8 of 8

Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

I immediately fell in love with everything Greenpop stands for and I was thrilled to be part of the Greenpop family. Climate change is a concern I take very seriously and one of the ways to tackle it is by planting more trees, so the earth's green lungs can provide us not only with more oxygen, but also can protect us by cleaning the air.

What I also love about Greenpop is their social approach on how and where they plant trees. Planting trees in collaboration with schools and companies, and in urban areas, you create a network of people working together, teaching them the basic skills so they can spread the word (which is especially important with the next generation of eco-warriors in schools) and by giving them the tools to take a greener future in their own hands.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

I contacted Roots Interns to get accepted for the internship, and they arranged a place to sleep for me.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Don't think too much ahead of everything, just be super excited to not only spend time with a wonderful organization, but also in a beautiful country. Don't worry too much about whether or not you'll be able to do the job or spending months in a foreign country: you'll meet your new family overseas and worrying is for people who eventually never take a chance. Go for it!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Morning meetings about the daily and weekly tasks, doing research, writing posts, keeping in touch with the Greenpop fans.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

It was my third time in a year in South Africa, so for me, it kinda felt like returning home. I never really had any doubts, worries or fears; I simply was super excited to finally be part of the Greenpop family and gain experience in a communications department in a social and environmental enterprise.

Do you have anything else to share with future participants?

Cheryl Strayed said: "Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves."

It might be scary to think about spending months abroad, far away from your family and friends, far from everything that is known to you. It might be scary to think about all the responsibilities you will have, you might doubt your own capacities. People might say you're being crazy or stupid. Don't believe them. Don't believe yourself.

Doubts and fears are powerful, paralyzing weapons if you let them have the best of you. Don't believe that story. You don't want to end up on the street of "what if". There's a world of chances, knowledge, friends, and adventures waiting for you. Tell yourself a different story. You are brave. You are wonderful. You are the one they're waiting for.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Talitha van der Waerden

Job Title
Managing Director
female headshot

Tell us about yourself, Talitha.

I have done a variety of things from working as a tour leader in the Middle East to a communications consultant, and a project manager developing recruitment and change management campaigns for big multinationals.

In 2012, I came to Cape Town on a sabbatical and never left. I took a break from my career to travel in the Netherlands, explore new places and use my skills for a good cause during a work placement with Greenpop. Three months turned into six, and eventually into a job coordinating events and experiences.

I am now excited to manage Roots, and enable others to have fulfilling and inspiring volunteer work placements in Africa. Having been in your shoes, I know how important it is to find the right match between individuals and organizations, and I go out of my way to create the most rewarding experience for all involved.

What is your favorite travel memory?

I love traveling overland to enjoy especially unspoiled nature. But I guess I was the most impressed by my visit to the gorillas in Rwanda. I've always wanted to do that and when the moment was finally there I was excited as a little kid.

After a 3 hour muddy hike, we found a group of 15 gorillas relaxing on a patch of grass in the middle of the forest. When we looked into each others' eyes it was as if they were like me and I could just join their playful games and afternoon naps (unfortunately you are not allowed to).

Not for one second was I scared or nervous to be around them. I think I mostly felt respect for these amazing animals and wish that one hour could have lasted so so much longer.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Because we work with grassroots organizations the interns are often a large part of a small organization. They are able to substantially contribute to the organization.

Some interns are surprised about the amount of responsibility they get or surprise themselves because they stepped out of their comfort zone to do new things. It's their smile at the end of the internship that makes me smile -- someone had a great experience with the organization and living abroad.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I love seeing the passion in each of our host organizations. People saw an issue and opportunity to take matters into their own hands and take action. And every organization does it in its own way.

Doing an internship is not only about skills and experience, but also about your personality. I don't want to sell a certain internship, but am looking for a match where both the intern and host organization have a valuable experience. So after a few months, both look back on this time with a big smile.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

We partner with NGOs and small start-up companies with ethical and sustainable practices; all organisations that are adding valuable contributions towards community programs, conservation efforts, or local and green economies.

We are looking for people keen to get a valuable working experience while making an impact at the same time.

More Interviews