What is the Fiji Impact Internship?
South Pacific Business Development (SPBD)
The Fiji Impact Internship is a Monash-approved internship with South Pacific Business Development, one of the largest microfinance institutions in the South Pacific. You will spend three weeks in the summer break travelling to Fiji and shadowing SPBD project managers on both Viti Levu and Vanua Levu – the major islands of Fiji.
South Pacific Business Development (SPBD)
Beginning in 2000, SPBD is an established microfinance firm with local operations in Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, and the Solomon Islands. Across these countries, SPBD serves over 20,000 loan clients and 44,000 savings clients. Applying the Grameen Bank model of microfinance, means that SPBD services are provided to groups of women. Daily operations are undertaken through SPBD staff workers travelling across urban towns and rural villages to facilitate the loan process (interviewing, loaning, collecting and depositing funds).
The internship will be an opportunity to:
While spots on this internship are limited, successful applicants will receive support from both Monash SEED and Monash University.
Every intern will receive:
- 6 or 12 - point credit toward your degree as a Monash University Work Integrated Learning internship
- Complimentary travel insurance
- $500 travel scholarship
|Credit Points||Location||Cordinators||Overseas Dates|
|6 OR 12 credit points||Fiji||Jeanne Cheong (Fiji Impact Internship Coordinator) and academic supervisor (TBC).||Mid January – Mid February 2019|
You will need to budget for the following:
- Daily living expenses
SPBD will facilitate your travel between villages and branches, and travel between branches is self-organised.
Estimated costs are approximately $2,500- $3,000 before scholarship.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Prior to departure, successful interns will develop the list of survey questions asking SPBD members about their satisfaction, suggestions and issues with the services provided. Surveys are completed by hand however survey software is utilised in order to easily analyse the data upon return.
Once back in Melbourne, it’s time to analyse the data. A report is written addressing each question alongside recommendations for SPBD. It is up to interns as to how this is written but ideally the majority is completed to semester beginning.
That’s okay! English is one of the official languages of Fiji along with Fijian (bula!) and Fijian Hindi. While English is widely spoken because of this, in some villages, members may find it more challenging to answer the survey questions. Patience, synonyms and a friend who can translate often helps. Of course – learning a few sentences of Fijian help practically and enhance understanding of the culture and members!
Rest assured you will not need to drive – in fact, SPBD hires designated drivers due to the distances covered and often unsealed roads. There are essentially two main roads in Fiji that take you around the biggest island – Viti Levu. They are Kings Road across the top and Queens Road along the bottom. Busses are the most common mode of transport by locals and tourists alike as they travel regularly and reliably on this circuit. You will also take a ferry in crossing to Vanua Levu. Unmetered taxis may also be used.
Like any office, SPBD is closed on the weekends which may be used as free time. Some weekends may include travel time to other cities in Fiji. Take time to see the natural beauty of Fiji, hide from the heat in the cinema, learn about Fijian history at the museum or make use of the activities at your hostel should there be any. Students may also choose to stay on a few extra days for some R&R.
You are eligible for this trip if you are a student at Monash University (and thus with the relevant student visas). All interns will be required to obtain a visa that permits work on a visitor visa. However, this will be done through SEED/SPBD.
It is not necessary to have experience in the sector however it is preferable to have some knowledge of the sector, region or perspectives on gender and development. Above all, interns should be motivated, reliable and willing to learn.
Prior to departure, there will be a number of meetings to organise, plan and prepare for the trip.
As mentioned above, the costs can be quite variable depending on where you decide to stay or eat. A modest budget would be around $2,500 - $3,000 for four weeks including flights, accommodation, food, transport and additional purchases such as gifts and sulu (skirt).