Wednesday, November 9, 2011

World Health Organization (WHO) Internship Programme


We are a diverse workforce of some 8,500 people representing more than 150 nationalities working in 147 countries. We have six regional offices and a headquarters located in Geneva, Switzerland.

In line with our mission to provide global leadership in public health, we employ health specialists, medical doctors, scientists, epidemiologists and also people with expertise in administration and finance, information systems, economics, health statistics as well as emergency preparedness and response.

What do we offer?

The World Health Organization (WHO) as the leader in global public health issues is committed to building future leaders in public health. WHO's Internship Programme offers a wide range of opportunities for students to gain insight in the technical and administrative programmes of WHO.

The duration of WHO internships is between six weeks to three months. Exceptionally, internships may be extended up to a maximum of 24 weeks depending on your degree requirements. Unfortunately, WHO internships are not paid and all costs of travel and accommodation are the responsibility of the intern or the sponsoring institution.

Who are we looking for?

  • You are enrolled in a degree programme in a graduate school (second university degree or higher) both at the time of application and during the internship.
  • You have completed at least three years of full-time studies at a university or equivalent institution towards the completion of a degree.
  • You are at least 20 years old.
  • You possess a first degree in a public health, medical or social field related to the technical work of WHO or a degree in a management-related or administrative field.
  • You are fluent in the working language of the office of assignment.

How can I apply?

  • You are invited to create a profile in WHO's e-Recruitment system. This includes details regarding your education, current studies, language and computer skills.
  • You will also need to write a Cover Letter to express your motivation for applying for a WHO Internship (maximum length - three paragraphs).
  • To apply, please follow the instructions on the following website where you will find further information on our programme and advertised Internship opportunities.

    WHO Internships

    Internships are available in a wide variety of areas related to the technical work of WHO. Our Information Sheet for Interns regarding WHO departments (below) provides links to WHO-related websites about WHO's technical work. Please review this information and specify which area of WHO would be most suitable for you. The more specific you can be in your request, the better chances there will be to match you to one of our technical programmes.

    Conditions of WHO Headquarters internships

      • The duration of WHO internships is between a minimum of 6 weeks to a maximum of 12 weeks. Exceptionally, internships may be extended up to 24 weeks to respond to special academic requirements or particular needs of the receiving programme.

      • WHO internships are not paid. Travel costs, travel arrangements (including visas), and living accommodations are the responsibility of the intern or their sponsoring institution.

      • Persons related to a WHO staff member, i.e., son/daughter, brother/sister are not eligible for an internship.

      • Interns must possess a passport of a WHO Member State.

      • WHO Interns must have adequate medical insurance coverage during the entire period of the internships. This medical coverage must include Switzerland.

      • Interns may participate only once in the WHO Internship Programme.

      • Interns do not have the status of WHO staff members and shall not represent the Organization in any official capacity.

      • WHO Interns are not eligible for appointment to any position within WHO for a period of three months following the end of their internship. Any employment with WHO at that point in time shall be subject to established recruitment and selection procedures.

      Internships in the WHO regional or country offices

      The application links on this website are for internships in Geneva, Switzerland. If you are interested in applying for an internship in one of our regional or country offices where a limited number of internships may be available, please contact that regional office directly by following the links below.

      Internships in the WHO Regional Office for Europe

      If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us

      How to apply

      PLEASE NOTE: Application Dates and Deadlines

      Summer (May to October)
      To be considered for a summer internship, applications are accepted between December 1 - January 31 each year.

      Winter (November to April)
      To be considered for a winter internship, applications are accepted between August 1 - September 30 each year.

        The application process requires developing an individual profile within WHO's e-Recruitment system. This profile covers your education, current studies, language skills and computer knowledge and experience.

        Students may lack professional experience or find it challenging to complete the levels within the expertise section in eRecruit. Suggestion: Review your experience in light of your academic career or any activities you've done. Show how these experiences have provided you skills and competencies to work in a team, to make decisions and to solve problems. These may relate to your actual schooling or a personal situation.

        You are encouraged to supply a Cover Letter to articulate your motivation for seeking a WHO Internship (maximum length - 3 paragraphs). In this letter describe what type of project you feel you could contribute while interning with WHO. Tell us about your ideas. As part of your covering letter, include your dates of availability and any additional information to facilitate the selection process.

        If selected for a WHO Internship, you will be required to provide certified copies of proof of enrolment in a course of studies and proof of personal medical insurance (illness) coverage (which must include Switzerland.)

        All applications for WHO Internships are acknowledged when received and are made available to technical units for review. The period of time for this review is indeterminate. If you do not hear from a WHO technical unit in a reasonable period of time (say 1-2 months after the application closing date), assume that you will not be considered for a WHO internship at this time.

        As an important reminder, WHO Internships are not paid. Living in Geneva is expensive and finding accommodations can be challenging. All intern candidates should be aware of these factors before they consider applying for a WHO Internship. WHO does not provide financial support, so interns are encouraged to seek funding from other external sources.

        Applying for funding can be time-consuming and complicated, so interns are advised to start their funding search well in advance. When applying for funding, you are likely to be requested to provide proof of offer stating that you have been accepted for an internship with the WHO. If you have been accepted for an internship with the WHO, and thereby eligible to join the intern community, additional information will be provided to you to aid you in identifying sources of funding.

        Warning: If selected for an internship and you are identifying accommodations in Geneva, do NOT make advance payments or provide guarantee sums in advance of your arrival. This is particularly important is someone asks you to wire funds to Western Union or a bank outside of Switzerland. If in doubt, please with your query. Here is an informative article from the London Metropolitan Police:

        Please note that all applications will remain active for a period of six months. Intern applicants not offered an internship based on their initial application are encouraged to re-apply after this period.

        When you are ready to apply, please select one area within WHO.

        The World Health Organization receives a very large number of applications each year. Please review our Frequently Asked Questions if you have questions concerning the WHO Internship Programme.
        If you have additional questions, please use the email below:

        Please quote on your application when applying for WHO internship programme

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