Are you interested in working for the largest American non-governmental organization operating in the West Bank and Gaza? ABPA Institute has a partnership with American Near East Refugee Aid (Anera) to place students into internships.
Anera is an American 501(c)3 non-governmental organization funded by individual donors and grants from public and private institutions that helps refugees and others hurt by conflicts in the Middle East.
The organization delivered humanitarian relief and sustainable health, education, and economic development projects totaling more than $48.8 million in 2019. With 100+ staff members from various disciplines who live and serve Middle Eastern communities, their team offers different programs that help meet basic refugee needs. For example, Anera focuses on the health of Palestinian refugees by giving out supplies, funding infrastructure and giving refugees access to medicine through clinics and hospitals. In addition, they provide necessary education to help these communities stay healthy, even in harsh conditions.
Anera works on the ground with its partners in Palestine (West Bank and Gaza), Lebanon and Jordan. It mobilizes resources for emergency relief and for sustainable, long-term health, education, and economic development, and works closely with local institutions, grassroots communities, and charitable associations to improve the community services they provide.
Internships at Anera
Interns at Anera are directly involved in the work of the teams they support, attend weekly meetings and participate in brainstorming and implementation. It is an opportunity for hands-on experience in fundraising and international development from the viewpoint of a non-profit organization. Depending on which team you support, your work could include dealing with donors, database research for new business development, drafting and/or editing funding proposals, writing and/or editing stories for the website and social media, press releases, or tracking and monitoring in-kind donation deliveries to communities in the Middle East.
Types of Internships include:
New Business Development (NBD) Internship – The New Business Development team researches new grant opportunities, writes proposals to secure funding, designs new programming for Anera projects, and compiles reports for donors during and following program implementation.
Fundraising & Communications Internship – The fundraising team advances the mission of Anera through innovative and project-oriented fundraising activities. The team identifies potential donors and funding sources and drafts proposals, based on our project experience and field expertise.
Nisreen Khalaf at Anera
Nisreen Khalaf is the Director of Medical Donations at Anera and has worked in development and humanitarian aid at non-profit organizations for over twenty years. Nisreen is the author of the book, “My Millennials.”
We asked Nisreen some questions about the work she does at Anera.
How did you find out about Anera?
After going through a number of job interviews that I found through LinkedIn, I was chatting with a friend about offers I got for a number of jobs and he told me that an organization in DC called Anera is also looking for someone of my caliber. I looked Anera up and realized that the work they do is my passion and my strength. I applied for the job and got it.
What is an average day like for a Program Manager and Director of In-Kind?
Gifts In Kind is also humanitarian aid. The amount of work is a bit stressful, especially during emergencies such as the Syrian refugee crisis, COVID-19, and others. Daily work can be mostly logistics of offers to shipping containers of medicine, medical supplies and other gifts. Coordination and outreach to donors/funders on a daily basis can take 3-4 hours of my day. This includes calls and meetings or responding to questions and inquiries by email. In addition to showing donors/funders impact through reporting and other communicative means on their donations, I spend time managing my staff in different countries and different time zones. I do field visits around three times a year to the countries we work in. This is a great experience and required for my position to be in direct contact with my team in the field, while at the same time to see the implementation of the work.
Is there anything you find interesting about Anera that maybe an outsider or someone who isn’t familiar should know? Or an interesting experience you’ve had where you gained an acute insight or awareness about the industry/sector?
I worked in many interesting places and countries. Working at Anera has been unique in certain ways. This is the oldest organization I ever worked for. Anera is 53 years old. There is richness in experience and knowledge at the organization that is mind blowing. At the same time, there are staff in field offices that have been working at Anera for 15+ years with great knowledge and experience. Anera is very specialized in the type of refugees and countries it works in. It is limited to the countries that host Palestinian refugees such as West Bank, Gaza, Jordan and Lebanon. Of course, it serves the host communities and other refugees in these countries but it is focused on Palestinian refugees since its inception. The organization encourages creativity and less micromanagement. It makes me want to give more when I’m accountable for my results of accomplishment rather than for daily tasks or the number of working hours.
Traveling to the countries we work in is a unique opportunity. We work in countries that a person might not want to visit for vacation or might not be able to visit due to political constraints. Having the opportunity to go to Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon and be with locals broadens the perspective and understanding of the work and the needs.
Do you have any advice you could give if someone were to get a position at Anera or a similar organization?
The best advice I can give is to understand the mission of the organization you want to work for and see if it suits your beliefs and desire. You have to be passionate for the work in order to excel in it and keep giving.
You have to be passionate for the work in order to excel in it and keep giving.
If you are looking for a job for the sake of earning income, this type of organization does not necessarily provide that. But if you are looking for experience and growth, this is the type of organization to work for.
For more reading:
Sports Can Empower Youth in Refugee Camps (Written by a former Anera intern)