Statement on internships and volunteering at Global Justice Now

For many years, unpaid interns made a valuable contribution to the work of Global Justice Now. Working for a limited period of three months and for three days a week to make the positions a little more accessible, our interns gained useful work experience which was often tailored to their own requirements. We recognised that this was not an ideal situation, since most of our interns were eventually looking for paid work in the sector, but the internships extended the capacity of a small campaigning organisation, and offered work experience and training in return, so seemed acceptable.

In recent years, the situation has changed. Entry-level paid jobs (which we have always offered as well) have become scarcer, leading to people taking multiple unpaid internships. Gradually the NGO sector and the economy in general shifted to depending more and more on unpaid workers. Rightly, there was an increasing level of concern in wider society about these changes. In response to such concerns, Global Justice Now’s council initiated an internal review.

We are now able to afford occasional paid internship positions (made possible in the first instance through a generous legacy from a supporter.) Any positions will be offered as full time placements, paid the London Living Wage. At the same time, we no longer offer unpaid internships.

Through the introduction of our paid intern programme, we are seeking to address concerns voiced both inside Global Justice Now and in society in general about the potentially exploitative nature of unpaid internships and the exclusivity of internships in general. We are also trying to use our paid internship programme to actively promote diversity rather than exclusivity in the workforce of Global Justice Now and in the wider sector.

There continue to be many unpaid people who are part of Global Justice Now. The organisation as a whole is based on a national activist network comprised entirely of people who are passionate about global justice and campaign on a voluntary basis in their spare time. Our council (Global Justice Now’s governing body) is also comprised entirely of volunteers from within our membership.

In the office, volunteers remain an important and valued part of Global Justice Now and are reimbursed for their travel and food expenses. Volunteers may provide ongoing administrative support, or they may work on specific one-off projects such as helping to organise an event or carrying out some research.

Volunteer opportunities are listed on the jobs and volunteering page of our website.