SDG Youth Programme: International Programmes and Digital Transformation

Helvetas is an organization specialised in development cooperation and humanitarian response, anchored in Switzerland. Our vision is a just world in which all men and women determine the course of their lives in dignity and security, using environmental resources in a sustainable manner.

The SDG Youth Programme was designed by the Mercator Foundation Switzerland, together with cinfo. It aims to offer students and aspiring professionals the opportunity to  gain initial exposure and work experience with an NGO or social enterprise active in international cooperation (IC).  

Selected candidates are allowed to work on new topics and innovative projects for one year, both at the headquarters in Switzerland and in an office abroad (or with a partner organisation of the host organisation). While doing so, the young talents  can explore their motivation to follow a career path that allows them to contribute to the SDGs. At the same time, they can transfer the knowledge and competencies acquired to the Swiss labour market. Particular emphasis is placed on the career development of the successful candidates.

Part of the new SDG Youth Programme, this position is reserved for Swiss nationals/permit C holders with a bachelor's degree (University or FH/HES), or an Advanced Federal Diploma of Higher Education, or a Federal Diploma of Higher Education.

Learn more about the programme here.

Your Main Tasks

The main task of the Trainee International Programmes and Digital Transformation will be to contribute to Helvetas' work on ICT4D (Information & Communication Technology for Development), which is central to the organisation's contributions to the SDGs. The SDGs acknowledge the potential of ICT to foster human progress, and several SDGs explicitly mention ICT as a driver of development, incl. SDG 5, 9 and 17.

The trainee's work will include: supporting the strategic positioning of Helvetas on ICT4D; co-creating and developing ICT4D solutions; and knowledge-sharing and communication around ICT4D.  The traineeship also includes a field assignment to work on concrete ICT4D solutions that increase the impact and scale of Helvetas' work.

Furthermore, the trainee will support the overall management of Helvetas International Programmes department, providing the trainee with insights into concrete development cooperation work.  A special task relates to the participation and collaboration in the innovations working group. 

The distribution of tasks may be as follows:

ICT4D (50%-70%)

Main purpose: contribute to the advancement of Helvetas' engagement in Information & Communication Technology for Development – ICT4D, as part of Helvetas' digital transformation with focus on its development programmes in the global South.  

This includes

  • Support to Helvetas' strategic positioning on ICT4D, based on analysis of ongoing field engagements, research on donor priorities, and ICT4D initiatives by other organisations.  
  • Contribute to the development and maintenance of a data base on a) Helvetas ICT4D initiatives, i.e. projects and project components, and on b) ICT4D partnerships.  
  • Contribute to the further development of 1-2 strategic ICT4D initiatives, incl. through a field assignment of 3-4 months. 
  • Establish detailed case studies of the 1-2 strategic ICT4D initiatives supported, incl. lessons learned and recommendations.  
  • Contribute to knowledge sharing and communication on ICT4D by further developing the intranet space on ICT4D, writing blogs, and contributing to e-newsletters and other communications.  

General support to International Programmes (30%)

Contribute to the overall management of Helvetas' International Programmes in line with the SDGs:

  • Assist the management of the International Programmes department in the quality steering of the country programmes in the global South.
  • Contribute to Helvetas' innovation workflow in specific country programmes by attending the respective working group, gathering and analysing innovation initiatives and supporting their progress in line with Helvetas' innovation strategy. 

Digitalization is one of the mega trends of our time, opening up unprecedented opportunities for development but also bearing considerable risks. Leveraging digital technology through innovative solutions will be key to achieving the SDGs.

This traineeship is a unique opportunity to get hands-on experience with an INGO by working on a topic that is at the forefront of addressing humanitarian and development challenges. Furthermore, the traineeship provides the opportunity to work at different levels – from strategy to concrete projects in the field – thus offering insights into many crucial aspects of international cooperation.

Your Qualifications

For the SDG Youth Programme

  • Swiss nationality or C permit
  • Bachelor's degree (University or FH/HES), or an Advanced Federal Diploma of Higher Education, or a Federal Diploma of Higher Education
  • Strong interest and intrinsic motivation to contribute to the SDGs
  • Good knowledge of at least one Swiss national language and English


For this position

  • Bachelor's degree (University or FH/HES), or an Advanced Federal Diploma of Higher Education, or a Federal Diploma of Higher Education in development studies, social sciences, humanities, natural and engineering sciences, or other relevant studies. 
  • Excellent analytical and conceptual skills 
  • Very good communication skills, incl. writing skills 
  • Proven intercultural skills 
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office applications 
  • Good knowledge of and affinity with other digital applications, incl. social media applications, statistical programmes, and others are a clear advantage 
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English
  • Additional language skills, especially French, Spanish and / or German are a clear advantage 


Required competencies

  • Proven ability to gather, analyse and communicate information in appropriate forms 
  • Strategic, joint-up thinking, and entrepreneurial mind-set 
  • Solution-oriented, forward-thinking, learning and growth mind-set, anticipating new developments and fostering innovation 
  • Ability to organise and structure work processes and facilitate participatory interaction 
  • Knowledge of international cooperation, incl. knowledge in a specific thematic area – such as water, food, climate, skills, private sector development, governance, migration, etc. – are a clear advantage 
  • Knowledge of digital transformation, and ICT4D in particular, are a clear advantage 
  • Thematic or methodological knowledge regarding innovation, incl. design thinking, and other approaches are a clear advantage 


Demonstrated interest in

  • Development cooperation and humanitarian response, incl. the work of international NGOs 
  • Digital transformation, incl. ICT4D 
  • Innovation and methods to foster innovation 


More details

  • Start date: 01/09/2021
  • Expiry date: 18/05/2021
  • Working hours (%): 100%
  • Job type: Internship
  • Duration: 1 year
  • Education level: Bachelor


Important details regarding your application

Make sure your profile on cinfoPoste is complete and up to date:

  • Motivation letter in English or French
  • CV in English
  • All work certificates, diplomas and university credentials (as PDF) uploaded under the section 'documents'


Application deadline: 18 May 2021
First round of interviews: 1st June 2021
Start date : 1 September 2021

--> Apply now on Cinfo