“Yes We Pay Our Interns!”

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Social Change School (SCS), under the impulse of Marco Crescenzi (SCS President) and Diego Battistessa (SCS Board Member), launched the “Yes We Pay Our Interns” Human Right Campaign in Europe: a campaign inspired by the first effort made in Geneve in 2016, under the name “WepayourIntern”.

The campaign is shared and supported by many big and small partner NGOs, who are already “on the same page” (like WWF, Greenpeace, Save The Children and others). The “Yes We Pay Our Interns” campaign is therefore run by Social Change School WITH the NGOs, to promote the Dignity and Human Rights of workers.

We believe that a structure working towards the improvement of human rights has no justification whatsoever for not paying or fully reimbursing its interns.

Many youths arrive to an internship (or “training period”) after many years of university, with volunteering experiences, sometimes in developing countries (where they collaborate on a Project but have to pay for the flight, accommodation and food on their own), after attending a Master that costs them thousands of euros. And after all of that… At 28-30 years old they receive once again an offer for a “free” training period, being forced to accept and losing their small jobs, or refuse and losing a great opportunity.

Many small and responsible organizations with little income are often capable to offer a small contribution of 400 or 500 euros. For the Third Sector Organizations that do not have enough income to pay their interns, there are other intern sources available like the Civil Service programme.

The role of President Marco Crescenzi is supporting the General Directors and the Boards of Third Sector organizations to change their organizational culture on people development and wellbeing, promoting talent and satisfaction, decreasing burnout and stress.
In agreement with our partner NGOs, we believe that not paying interns hits the legitimacy of the Third Sector. Therefore, the campaign is not only about youth, but even about the good reputation of non-profit organizations, especially NGOs. The Role of Diego Battistessa is to be an ambassador of the initiative.

As a High Educational Institution, Social Change School is today one of the very few in Europe which takes the responsibility to reimburse the costs of its students interning abroad. We would like to see all training institution doing the same. 

Conditions to be part of the “Yes We Pay Our Interns” Charter:

  1. Members of the Charter recognise that 500-600 euros per month should be viewed as a minimum payment for an intern working 6/8 hours. Also not asking interns for full time availability would allow them to have another part time job and pay their bills.

2. It is also considered acceptable to reimburse the cost of an internship/ training period abroad (travel, insurance, accommodation, and food), even without a salary, for the first 3 months (while still learning), especially when many interns are hired by the hosting organizations after the traineeship.

To join us as a third sector organization and to be in the “Yes We Pay Our Interns” Good List, write to YesWePayOurInterns@socialchangeschool.org

At the end of 2022, only the organizations in the Charter will be partners of Social Change School.

Campaign Action Plan 2022

1. Awareness-raising of the main NGOs in the sector (December 2021- DONE)
2. Launch of the social media campaign (December 2021- DONE)
3. Campaign officialisation and involvement of Forum Terzo Settore, AOI-Associaizione ONG Italiane (February 2022)
4. Involvment of the network of granting foundation ASSIFERO and of banking foundations, to propose including in the eligibility criteria for grants to Third Sector Organisations, the reimbursement/payment of stage/training period  (check here to know more about it!)
5. Sector agreements Forum/AOI and new policies implementation (June 2022)
6. Collection of Endorsements and publication of Third Sector Organisations that share the
Policy ‘We pay our intern”

The organizations that already joined our campaing are: Assifero, UnicefSave the Children, WWFFairtradeAction Aid.

Assifero declares about the campaign:  “ASSIFERO adheres to the campaign “Yes we pay our interns”, because it believes in the skills and competences of young people and in the uniqueness of their contribution to all organizations in which they collaborate with an internship.
In Assifero’s vision, young people are a precious resource, who must be supported in entering the world of work, who must be acknowledged for the effort already sustained in their studies and who must be guaranteed the opportunity to begin to become economically independent”.

About ASSIFERO joining our Campaign, Marco Crescenzi, President of the Social Change School, says: 

“The third sector is realizing, though still really slowly, that it’s not just about ethics, solidarity and consistency, but also about inclusion, productivity, and generational turnover.

The main organizations have already been on the same page for some time. With others we have a firm and open dialogue. Important social actors and – I would like to say conditioners – such as Assifero, can surely make a difference.

SCS - Staff - Marco Crescenzi
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