Sustainability/Social Responsibility Internship
June 17 – July 18, 2013
AHA Bolivia is a fair trade, ethical manufacturing company in Bolivia working with over 300 artisans to hand craft knitwear, handbags, baby clothes, toys, and more.
Mission: AHA Bolivia believes garment and accessories manufacturing can be done ethically. We work with designers, retailers and wholesalers to create designer pieces in natural fibers and recyclable materials. We respect and utilize handmade manufacturing techniques that have taken generations to perfect. We value our workers and artisans and treat them with dignity and fairness. We are proud members of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO).
This combined internship, learning workshop, and cultural experience program is designed to introduce students to socially responsible business practices, international business, and environmental respectfulness in business. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of how business works in a developing nation, and how it relates to export markets such as the US and Canada. Participants will engage in hands on learning and will produce a measurable intern project by the end of the program.
The AHA Bolivia internship program will focus on three major areas:
Learning Modules are designed to give students an overview of pertinent topics and to create a forum for discussion. Learning modules will be conducted in a classroom setting with occasional outings to cottage factories, markets, and the like. Modules include but are not limited to: Fair Trade, Ethical Trade & Corporate Social Responsibility; Globalization and the Supply Chain; Sourcing; Bolivian Culture & Current Events. A local business school professor and the owners of the company will teach the modules.
The practical internship is designed to give students hands-on experience working with a socially responsible business focused on cottage industry and export. The practical internships can be individual or group based, depending on the content. Level of Spanish language knowledge will vary depending on the internship project selected. We will work with you to choose the best project for your background, experience and needs. Internships can be for-credit if prior arrangement with your university is made. We offer the below internship projects but are also open to suggestion for additional tailor made projects:
Environmental Impact: AHA Bolivia’s ing bag line is currently sold to numerous shops in North and South America. These bags are made from a signature recyclable plastic material, inspired by the local Bolivian market bags. Ideally, 100% of the bags sold will eventually be returned to AHA Bolivia after being converted into recycled material. The intern will research all possibilities for accomplishing this, will propose partnerships with organizations capable of recycling the bags, and will create an efficient ‘reverse’ supply chain to get the bags from customers to AHA Bolivia as recycled material. (Note: a basic level of Spanish is preferred but not necessary).
Domestic and International Marketing: AHA Bolivia has recently stepped up its’ international marketing efforts by creating several websites. Additional work remains to be done in order to make the business more sustainable and in order to give the craft workers a more steady income. It is the interns goal to increase domestic and international marketing efforts via social media efforts, e-newsletters, press contacts, in-showroom events, contact with local businesses, etc. (Note: domestic marketing interns will need to posses at least an intermediate level of Spanish, international marketing interns need not know Spanish). Creative marketing ideas will be a plus in this internship.
Product Development: AHA Bolivia has several different lines of products it offers to retailers abroad. It will be the interns task to diversify these product lines and propose new and innovate products. The intern will become familiar with the current target market, will evaluate buying trends, and will engage in product development with the knitters, bag makers, and other craft workers. An additional goal of the product development intern will be to propose products made out of various recyclable materials and scraps AHA Bolivia has saved.
Socially Responsible Landscape: The ideas of social responsibility, fair trade, and ethical trade are all gaining more and more momentum. As a business that was built on socially responsible principles, AHA Bolivia is now looking to join the wider network of like-minded colleagues to share resources and ideas. It will be the interns task to research the wide variety of membership and certification organizations for corporate social responsibility, fair trade, ethical sourcing, etc. and determine which organizations would best suit AHA Bolivia. Time permitting, the intern will start the process of applying for membership or approval with chosen organizations.
AHA Bolivia believes that cultural emersion is necessary to really understand how businesses function in different countries. Some cultural activities will be built into the Learning Modules, but the program will also offer interns optional evening and weekend cultural excursions to become more familiar with Bolivia and her people.
Learning modules & accompanying activities (6-8 hours per week)
Accommodation, shared housing
Artisan site visits
Spanish classes (6 hours per week)
Does not include
Travel/Emergency Medical Insurance (required)
Optional cultural activities
$2700 for 4 weeks