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Human Development and Family Services in Cambodia | Cambodia

More photos from this internship can be found here.

More photos from this internship can be found here.

This is a unique opportunity to work with the Cambodian Organization for Children and Development (COCD), a local NGO focused on child development in rural areas. COCD works with approximately 2,000 of Cambodia’s poorest families each year, using a child-centered approach focused on child protection and development, economic empowerment, social empowerment, and COCD capacity building and sustainability.

COCD works in the heart of communities, helping children and families to help themselves. Interns will work to support COCD’s projects and activities at the head office in Phnom Penh and will also travel to operational offices and rural sites where they will support programs encouraging social change, poverty alleviation, equality, and social inclusion.

Duration of Internship:

  • 10-24 weeks. Minimum of 12 weeks preferred.

The Cambodian Organization for Children and Development (COCD) is a non-governmental, non-political, non-profitable, and non-religious organization. It is one of the few child focused development NGOs which operates in the remote areas of Cambodia. COCD’s main programs are focused in four key areas: child protection and development, social empowerment, economic empowerment, and COCD capacity development.

The vision of COCD is that all children have quality social welfare and are free from all forms of abuse. The mission of COCD is to improve the quality of life of vulnerable and abused children in Cambodia by tackling structural causes of poverty, inequality, social exclusion, and child abuse. COCD assists around 2,000 of Cambodia’s poorest families per year, through a child-centered approach that addresses numerous challenges: poor education, family incomes, migration and trafficking, access to clean water and sanitation, and people’s ability to participate in decisions that affect their communities. COCD seeks to improve the lives of children by working directly with children, and assisting their families and community stakeholders to uphold their responsibilities as duty bearers.

COCD was established in late 2007 by a group of Cambodian development professionals with expertise in rural development and child rights promotion, with a number of years of common experience working together. COCD was officially registered with the Cambodian Ministry of Interior in March 2008. COCD’s headquarters are in Phnom Penh, and they have three operational offices – two in the Pursat province and one in the Kampot province. There are 12 staff members working in the head office and 26 staff in the operational offices. Please visit www.cocd-cambodia.org for more information.

Interns will work in the head office in Phnom Penh to support COCD programs, contributing to a variety of administrative tasks, including development and editing of: project reports, newsletters, website content, project proposals, and grant proposals. Interns may also conduct research and compile resources for ongoing and future projects. Interns will get a chance to see COCD’s programs and activities first-hand through travel to project sites in rural Cambodia. While on-site, interns will provide program support as needed, and may interview and photograph project beneficiaries in order to write case stories. Interns are encouraged to share their unique knowledge and skills with COCD staff in the field, especially in social work and community development.

Interns will gain experience working with poor families and vulnerable children in remote areas of Cambodia during their internship, learning about the integrated rural development models, and child rights-based approach of COCD to uphold child rights in Cambodia. Interns will learn how to work effectively in a new culture and work environment, learn how to empower marginalized communities to be self-reliant, and have the opportunity to work closely with rural communities and learn about different ways of life.

Academic Background

  • Coursework or knowledge in the following fields is strongly preferred: child rights, education, communication strategy, fundraising and sponsorship, and newsletter/report writing.

Skills / Experience

  • Interns should be committed to serving the best interests of the child, and follow COCD’s children protection policy. Applicants must be self-starters, flexible, self-aware, cross-culturally sensitive, and able to succeed in a challenging environment. Ideal applicants will have experience in adopting participatory approaches to organizational development and will have the capacity to mentor/train staff.

Language Requirements

  • Interns will work predominantly in English and should have strong communication skills. Knowledge of Khmer or a willingness to learn is appreciated.

Estimated One-Time Expenses

  • IE3 Global Program Fee: $3,450
  • Host Site Fees: None
  • International Travel: $1,800
  • Visa Fees: $110
  • Recommended Immunizations: $600

Estimated Monthly Expenses

  • Housing: $400
  • Food: $300
  • Local Transportation: $75
  • Recreation: $150
  • Personal Expenses: $100

COCD will cover work-related expenses (transportation, local accommodation, and some meals) if intern is required to travel to operational offices outside of Phnom Penh.

COCD can help arrange potential housing for interns, typically an apartment near the office in Phnom Penh. Interns are responsible for housing costs.

Final Reports:


"My coursework helped contribute to my internship experience, specifically on ethics, respecting diversity, how to conduct a case study, working with poor families, children development, families and the impact on children, etc. My knowledge on child development and families and working with poor families have been the most important so far. I retained a lot of the information from the courses that discussed these topics and now that I got to apply them, it tied the whole picture together! I know for certain that I want to work with children, or in relation with children and this experience only confirms my desire."

-Whitney, Oregon State University

“The greatest reward I have received from this internship is feeling like I have achieved many things and contributed to an organization that supports poor children and families. I researched and contacted potential grant funders for new projects within the organization. I also helped in the write-up of multiple project proposal documents and grant applications. The work I have done may be a very small part of the organization but I know that I have made a difference and I have helped others, even if I do not see those effects with my own eyes.”

-Erin, Oregon State University

I can honestly say that the organization exceeded my expectations, despite the fact that I tried not to have any. Cambodia stole my heart and I am determined to make a difference, wherever that may be. I have learned so much about the world, but the most rewarding thing was what I’ve learned about myself. Outside of the initial loneliness and isolation I felt during my first weeks, the biggest challenge and biggest reward are closely linked. I have learned to be a more positive person and I have gained such an incredible perspective and the little things that used to bother me don’t really any more. I have such a passion for living a life that makes a difference as well as one that makes me happy.”

-Chloe, University of Montana

“Professionally I feel like this experience has made me more committed to a field of work that is child and family focused. It had also made me want to do more work internationally and travel more. I loved working at my internship and I think that seeing the programs being implemented in the provinces showed me how these programs make a difference and I want to help with that. I think the biggest step I took to make sure I was an asset to the organization was making it clear to my supervisors that I wanted to help, and wanted to receive feedback. I also tried to do a good job on all the projects I was assigned and ask a lot of questions along the way. They understood that this was a learning experience for me and that I wanted to do my best. I also tried to focus on my projects, show my supervisors what strengths I had, and what I was capable of doing.”

-Hallie, University of Oregon


Fall | Winter | Spring | Summer

Application Deadline

Summer: January 25
Fall: April 15
Winter: September 1

Spring: November 15

Basic Requirements

- Basic knowledge of children’s rights, international development, non-profit administration, and community development
- Coursework in social work, psychology, or community development preferred