INTERN – HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS, I (Temporary Job Opening) at UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Org. Setting and Reporting

The United Nations (UN) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is the part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. OCHA also ensures there is a framework within which each actor can contribute to the overall response efforts. OCHA’s mission is to mobilize and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors in order to alleviate human suffering in disasters and emergencies; advocate the rights of people in need; promote preparedness and prevention and facilitate sustainable solutions.
This job opening announcement broadcasts multiple internship opportunities with OCHA in Geneva. The intern, under the general guidance of a primary supervisor, shall be assigned within one of the following OCHA entities: the Coordination Division; the Operations & Advocacy Division; and the Humanitarian Financing & Resource Mobilization Division.
This internship shall be based in Geneva, Switzerland, and the intern will be under the general guidance and direct supervision of OCHA-Geneva supervisor. The internship is being offered for a minimum period of two (2) months, with a possibility of extension up to a maximum period of six (6) months, beginning at a mutually agreed time.


The intern will support OCHA in fulfilling its mission to coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors; advocate the rights of people in need; promote preparedness and prevention; and facilitate sustainable solutions.
In general, the intern shall support OCHA in fulfilling mandated activities and projects in the respective area of assignment. Daily responsibilities will depend on the individual’s background and duties may include but are not limited to providing assistance with the design and preparation of studies on humanitarian, disaster, emergency relief and other related issues and in various follow-up activities; researching, analyzing and presenting information gathered from diverse sources on assigned topics/ issues; assisting with the preparation of various written documents, e.g. drafts sections of studies, background papers, policy guidelines, parliamentary documents etc.; assisting in the maintenance of reference/ resource information on specific topics or policy-related issues; providing support with the organization of meetings, seminars, conferences, work-shops, etc., and serving as note-taker to such events; maintains awareness of current humanitarian affairs and related issues, to include relevant political, policy, gender considerations or other developments in specific subject area and/or country or region concerned and; performs other tasks requested by supervisor, as appropriate.
In addition to the general responsibilities outlined above, the intern shall be given specific tasks related to the branch/ division of assignment, namely:
The Coordination Division, which comprises of the Assessment, Planning and Monitoring Branch, the Response Support Branch, and the Inter-Agency Support Branch:
• The Assessments, Planning and Monitoring Branch (APMB) helps OCHA and partners deliver more effective joint responses using innovative, state of the art coordination tools and services. The work of the Branch focuses on the key activities which enable effective coordination: needs assessment and analysis, humanitarian response planning and continuous monitoring. APMB aims to ensure OCHA and partner staff have the skills, tools and technical support needed to meet the needs of people affected by crises through a well-coordinated collective response effort, within the framework of a rigorous humanitarian programme cycle. The intern shall assist in the research and development of communication materials and website presence to enhance the visibility of information relating to the humanitarian programme cycle (HPC); research various thematic and political initiatives of relevance to the branch; support the development, editing and financial tracking of appeals documents; assist in the organization of programme cycle training events, as well as other initiatives. APMB consists of Needs and Response Analysis Section-(NARAS), Humanitarian-Development Collaboration Section-(HDCS) and Monitoring and Tools Section -(MATS).
• The Response Support Branch (RSB) supports OCHA and the broader humanitarian community in the response to new or escalating emergencies and disasters. It does this through provision of various emergency response services, rapid deployment of staff and experts, the provision of operations and OCHA logistics support, the compilation and dissemination of operational response guidance, capacity building of responders as well as partnership building. Specifically RSB assists in strengthening national and international disaster response and response preparedness capacities, facilitating initial disaster assessment and coordination through the timely deployment of appropriate staff resources and expertise; supports effective international response efforts through the provision of civil-military coordination, logistical support, information technology expertise and emergency relief stocks; manages rosters and networks to ensure effective deployment of humanitarian specialists including environmental emergencies experts, and provision of technical services to support field operations; works with partners to ensure appropriate international standards for response are constantly developed and updated, including international urban search and rescue (USAR) activities, civil-military coordination, environmental emergencies response and; forges, maintains and develops effective networks e.g. United Nation Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC), International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG), International Humanitarian Partnership (IHP) and Surge Capacity resource providers. In particular, the intern shall provide support in connection with OCHA’s mandated actions related to coordination of response efforts. RSB consists of: Emergency Response Section (ERS) and Civil Military Coordination Service (CMCS).
• Inter-Agency Support Branch (IASB): The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) secretariat’s primary purpose is to support the Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC) in his leadership of the IASC to ensure robust collective humanitarian action and to support the IASC subsidiary bodies by ensuring that IASC decisions are acted upon and their implementation is on track, to support field effectiveness. The IASC facilitates and promotes efficient, effective, field-oriented, and inclusive IASC structures that deliver concretely on the IASC’s vision and priorities. Its work includes: Closely following up with IASC members and its subsidiary bodies to ensure that IASC priorities are achieved and decisions are actioned; Supporting the IASC structures by facilitating agenda-setting and the preparation of background material; proactively maintaining communication channels amongst organisations; Fostering connectivity between the IASC Principals, the Emergency Directors Group (EDG), the Operational Policy and Advocacy Group (OPAG), the Results Groups, and entities associated with the IASC; and, promoting outreach to non-IASC members, including Member States, civil society, and other key actors in the wider humanitarian ecosystem.
In particular, the intern shall support the preparations for the IASC Operational Policy and Advocacy Group Meetings, Principals and briefings, including assisting in all preparatory processes and background documents and the meeting report; support the liaison with UN and non-UN humanitarian agencies and other relevant bodies to ensure timely information sharing, attending meetings of IASC organizations and other relevant events including with assisting with monitoring the progress in IASC Results Groups by drafting notes and identifying gaps and bringing them to the attention of the Secretariat; help with the development of information management mechanisms within the Secretariat, developing relevant information dissemination tools; help with the maintenance of the IASC website and promotional material; help strengthen information management through monitoring of humanitarian developments throughout the world and through careful information analysis and while using the Salesforce as a tool manage this information and to achieve this goals and; support communication on IASC events and concerns by supporting the preparation of the IASC Newsletter.
• The Humanitarian Leadership Strengthening Section (HLSS) works on one of the critical issues in the global humanitarian agenda – humanitarian leadership. The overall goal is to ensure that the humanitarian community has the right leader, in the right place, at the right time. The Section aims to achieve this overarching goal through: i) selecting the right humanitarian coordination leaders, ii) broadening the pool of potential candidates including identifying and nurturing the next generation of humanitarian coordination leaders, iii) providing learning opportunities and leadership development support to sitting humanitarian coordination leaders; iv) supporting the ERC-RC/HC accountability framework and v) supporting the ERC and DERC in ensuring that humanitarian elements are adequately taken into consideration within all operational and policy fora discussing issues related to field leadership. The Section interacts on a daily basis with Resident and Humanitarian Coordinators, the highest-level UN officials in crisis countries, as well as Senior officials from the IASC and broader UN community. The Section carries out its agenda in support of the IASC and the Humanitarian Coordinators themselves. Among other possible tasks, the intern will support the organization of the orientation programmes for Resident and Humanitarian Coordinators and may accompany them during their meetings with senior officials in Geneva; she/he will participate in the organization of retreats, workshops and other learning events for RCs/HCs and support the organization of inter-agency meetings on humanitarian leadership.
• The System-Wide Approaches and Practices Section (SWAPS) promotes and supports the establishment, maintenance and evolution of inclusive, flexible and context-specific coordination mechanisms, through collecting and analyzing information on coordination as well as the integration of thematic issues such as gender, protection, cash, the private sector and AAP. It also provides technical expertise through its broad/diverse network of partners and stakeholders, facilitating linkages and acting as a conduit between global and field levels practices/experiences. In practice, SWAPS promotes and supports the establishment, maintenance and evolution of inclusive, flexible and context-specific coordination mechanisms. The Section also supports – and at times leads – OCHA’s work on thematic issues impacting coordination such as: cash transfer programming, localization (local action), community engagement, private sector engagement, gender equality programming, the centrality of protection including protection-mainstreaming, urbanization, area-based coordination and the New Way of Working. SWAPS engages in these themes – ensuring their integration where they impact coordination structures and systems – and supports the collection on analysis on them as they impact other parts of OCHA’s work (E.g. on policy, operations and advocacy, etc). Furthermore, SWAPS also provides technical expertise through its broad/diverse network of partners and stakeholders, facilitating linkages and acting as a conduit between global and field levels practices/experiences including via inter-agency partners. It collects and analyses information on coordination as well as the integration of thematic issues such as gender, protection, cash, the private sector and AAP.
As OCHA’s operational hub, the Operations & Advocacy Division (OAD) oversees the management of all field offices and provides operational support to Resident Coordinators/Humanitarian Coordinators (RCs/ HCs), OCHA country and regional offices and Humanitarian Country Teams (HCTs). OAD is also responsible for coordinating all country level humanitarian strategies and emergency responses, and is the working-level inter-face with affected Member States, partner humanitarian organizations, UN Secretariat departments and donors on operational issues. In particular, the intern shall support with the creation and/ or maintenance of databases for humanitarian field activities by conducting research through relevant websites, OCHA disaster and complex emergency files, and situation reports; assist in contacting external partners in order to update existing contact database; assist with the preparation of briefing notes on disasters and the activities of the Section; assist with updating access and security-related information; support with copying, compiling records and filing of current emergencies records; assist in the preparation of meetings, Member States Briefings and Conferences with the High Level Working Groups (HLWG) in Geneva-agenda, background documentation, notes and summary records and; accompany the Desk Officer to meetings with donors, humanitarian partners and UN agencies.
Located within the Humanitarian Financing & Resource Mobilization Division, the Partnerships and Resource Mobilization Branch (PRMB) is responsible for (1) Ensuring coherence across the organization in all of OCHA’s fundraising efforts, to achieve targets for its own income and pooled funds (the Central Emergency Response Fund and the Country Based Pooled Funds ) through strong relations with donors, an expanded donor base, and consistent messaging; (2) Driving coordination and implementation of a system-wide resource mobilization plan that engages relevant parts of OCHA, HCs and country teams, connects opportunities and events throughout the year in a coherent manner, works closely with other IASC partners and reflects more active donor coordination; (3) Expanding the depth, breadth and predictability of OCHA’s partnerships with member states and other key actors based on strong relationships in support of robust financial and political support. PRMB has three sections: the Donor Relations Section (DRS), the External Relations and Partnerships Section (ERPS) and the Inter-Governmental Policy Section (IGPS).
Tasks for the intern include but are not limited to: support fundraising for OCHA’s Programme and the pooled funds as well as system-wide resource mobilization efforts; contribute to donor visibility products and funding analysis; support the preparation of partnership and donor meetings in Geneva (including high-level meetings); contribute to background documentation, notes and summary records; liaise with OCHA staff at headquarters (HQ) and other relevant partners, gathering and disseminating information about partnerships; assist with the preparation of inputs, ensuring that they are carried out in an efficient and timely manner; assist in updating PRMB’s partnership and donor profiles, including websites (intranet and/ internet) and contact database; accompany the supervisor to meetings with Member States, UN agencies, NGOs and other partners; assist in research and analysis on identified priority partners and; participate in other related assignments.


CLIENT ORIENTATION: considers all those to whom services are provided to be “clients ” and seeks to see things from clients’ point of view; establishes and maintains productive partnerships with clients by gaining their trust and respect; identifies clients’ needs and matches them to appropriate solutions; monitors ongoing developments inside and outside the clients’ environment to keep informed and anticipate problems; keeps clients informed of progress or setbacks in projects; meets timeline for delivery of products or services to client.
COMMUNICATION: speaks and writes clearly and effectively; listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; tailors language, tone, style and format to match the audience; demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.
TEAMWORK: works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals; solicits input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others; places team agenda before personal agenda; supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position; shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.


To qualify for an internship with the United Nations Internship Programme, applicants must meet one of the following requirements:
(a) Be enrolled in, or have completed, a graduate school programme (second university degree or equivalent, or higher); or,
(b) Be enrolled in, or have completed, the final academic year of a first university degree programme (minimum bachelor’s level or equivalent).
Students who have completed the academic year prior to the final year of a first university degree but have not yet commenced to the final year are eligible for the internship programme but must provide proof of their continued enrolment.
The University degree must be in the area of political science, social science, international studies, public administration, economics, engineering, earth sciences or in a related field.

Work Experience

No working experience is required to apply for the United Nations Internship Programme. Your training, education, advance course work or skills should benefit the United Nations during your internship.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this internship fluency in English (both oral and written) is required. Knowledge of French is desirable. Knowledge of another United Nations official language is desirable.


Candidates will be assessed based on their Candidate Profile. Individual interviews may be conducted by the Hiring Manager directly for further consideration. A complete online application (Cover Statement and Candidate Profile) is required. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. The cover Statement must include:

  • Title of degree you are currently pursuing;
  • Graduation date (when will you be graduating from the programme);
  • IT skills and programmes in which you are proficient;
  • Explanation why you are the best candidate for the internship position.
    In your Candidate Profile, be sure to include all past work experience, if any; IT skills and three (3) references. Due to high volume of applications received, ONLY successful candidates will be contacted.

Special Notice

Applicants are encouraged to apply for internships which relate directly to their studies and/or skills and expertise. Applicants are asked to please indicate preferences which best match her/his suitability and do so carefully in order to enhance the value of the internship for both the intern and the receiving UN department.
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, applicants may be requested to undertake the internship remotely in view of constraints regarding visa issuance, international travel and access to UN premises. Applicants must be willing and prepared to undertake the internship remotely for a part or the entirety of the internship.
A person who is the child or sibling of a staff member shall not be eligible to apply for an internship at the United Nations. An applicant who bears to a staff member any other family relationship may be engaged as an intern, provided that he or she shall not be assigned to the same work unit of the staff member nor placed under the direct or indirect supervision of the staff member. For purposes of this advertisement, “child” means (i) the child of a staff member; (ii) the child of the spouse of a staff member (stepchild); and (iii) the spouse of a child of a staff member or a staff member’s spouse (son- or daughter-in-law). “Sibling” includes the child of both or either parent of a staff member and the child.
In line with the United Nations internship programme, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs-(OCHA) internship provides a framework by which students from diverse academic backgrounds gain exposure to the work of the United Nations through assignment to offices within the Secretariat. The Programme endeavours to attract qualified students, offering them an opportunity to enrich their educational experience through exposure to the work of the Organization. Equally, it provides the Office with the assistance of students specialized in various professional fields. The internship is an unpaid and full-time opportunity and the intern must adhere to the established official weekly working hours of the duty station where it is based with one hour for a lunch break. For more information on the Programme, please visit:

United Nations Considerations

According to article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. Candidates will not be considered for employment with the United Nations if they have committed violations of international human rights law, violations of international humanitarian law, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, or sexual harassment, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have been involved in the commission of any of these acts. The term “sexual exploitation” means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. The term “sexual abuse” means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions. The term “sexual harassment” means any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offence or humiliation, when such conduct interferes with work, is made a condition of employment or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, and when the gravity of the conduct warrants the termination of the perpetrator’s working relationship. Candidates who have committed crimes other than minor traffic offences may not be considered for employment.
Due regard will be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. The United Nations places no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.
The paramount consideration in the appointment, transfer, or promotion of staff shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. By accepting an offer of appointment, United Nations staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and assignment by him or her to any activities or offices of the United Nations in accordance with staff regulation 1.2 (c). In this context, all internationally recruited staff members shall be required to move periodically to discharge new functions within or across duty stations under conditions established by the Secretary-General.
Applicants are urged to follow carefully all instructions available in the online recruitment platform, inspira. For more detailed guidance, applicants may refer to the Manual for the Applicant, which can be accessed by clicking on “Manuals” hyper-link on the upper right side of the inspira account-holder homepage.
The evaluation of applicants will be conducted on the basis of the information submitted in the application according to the evaluation criteria of the job opening and the applicable internal legislations of the United Nations including the Charter of the United Nations, resolutions of the General Assembly, the Staff Regulations and Rules, administrative issuances and guidelines. Applicants must provide complete and accurate information pertaining to their personal profile and qualifications according to the instructions provided in inspira to be considered for the current job opening. No amendment, addition, deletion, revision or modification shall be made to applications that have been submitted. Candidates under serious consideration for selection will be subject to reference checks to verify the information provided in the application.
Job openings advertised on the Careers Portal will be removed at 11:59 p.m. (New York time) on the deadline date.

No Fee


How to apply

Apply here