Internships on Energy – Action Opportunities Pre-Feasibility Assessments (6 openings)

Location : Home-based
Application Deadline :23-May-22 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :Internship
Post Level :Intern
Languages Required :
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract :3 months

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


UNDP is the knowledge frontier organization for sustainable development in the UN Development System and serves as the integrator for collective action to realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UNDP’s policy work carried out at HQ, Regional and Country Office levels, forms a contiguous spectrum of deep local knowledge to cutting-edge global perspectives and advocacy. In this context, UNDP invests in the Global Policy Network (GPN), a network of field-based and global technical expertise across a wide range of knowledge domains and in support of the signature solutions and organizational capabilities envisioned in the Strategic Plan.

Energy is one of UNDP’s six signature solutions – alongside poverty and inequality, governance, resilience, environment, and gender equality - to support countries towards three directions of change: structural transformation, leaving no one behind and resilience.

As per UNDP’s new Strategic Plan 2022-2025, the first objective of UNDP is increasing energy access for those furthest behind. By speeding up investment in distributed renewable energy solutions, especially for those hardest to reach and in crisis contexts, it aims to increase access to clean and affordable energy for 500 million people.

Second, UNDP will work to accelerate the transition to renewable energy through systems changes that support inclusive, green economies, particularly in countries with low levels of renewable energy generation or poor energy-efficiency improvement rates. This work will capitalize on technological gains, clean energy innovations and new business models in the energy sector.

The newly established UNDP Sustainable Energy Hub will be the arrowhead of UNDP’s new Strategic Plan objectives. The Sustainable Energy Hub will build on UNDP’s existing Energy Portfolio, covering over 100 countries to harness clean energy and support the energy transition as well as on UNDP’s Climate Promise, UNDP’s Sustainable Finance Hub, and UNDP’s Digital offer.

The Sustainable Energy Hub will develop and operationalize, policies, programmes and partnerships to support the realization of UN/UNDP’s Energy Compact, a commitment to help increasing access to clean and affordable energy for 500 million people by 2025, and accelerating and supporting the transition to renewable energy.

Recognizing that change will be disruptive, UNDP will work to ensure that such transitions are just, and that their impact on vulnerable people is understood and duly mitigated.

To assist countries to scale up interventions to close the energy access gap and accelerate the energy transition, UNDP will support the identification of country-level action opportunities that can at least half (and/or preferably close) the current energy access deficit by 2025. The action opportunities will be implemented in a collaborative approach between UN-Energy members and other partners in the short, medium and long term.

A pool of interns will work together with a task team of specialists based in UNDP Country Offices, Regional Hubs and other locations on the preparation of Action Opportunities pre-feasibility assessments, under the guidance of a task team Coordinator (the “Coordinator”).

It is envisaged that these country-level Action Opportunities pre-feasibility assessments will identify specific levers, financial mechanisms, and funding requirements to scale up clean energy access solutions. The identified interventions should build on and complement existing actions at the country-level, including the Africa Minigrids Programme, and drive both grant and concessional finance towards scaled-up clean energy access solutions. The solutions should ideally be able to at least half (and/or preferably close) the current energy access deficit by 2025. Off-grid solutions are the main focus although critical on-grid solutions can also be examined, in line with the national/sub-national context of the concerned country.

Based on the findings at the country level, programming approaches and actions to enhance private sector investments towards meeting the needs of closing the energy access gap at the country level will be scoped out, and information needs and availability (or lack of) identified. These findings will inform and shape tangible follow up actions that need to be implemented to drive investment towards closing the energy access gap and accelerating the energy transition. The findings should enable the identification of key partnerships, including their respective scope, that will be necessary to assist the country supported to close the energy access gap. In addition, the findings will also inform UNDP Country Office Energy Strategy which will contribute at the country-level to the objectives of UNDP Strategic Plan 2022-2025.

Sub-Saharan Africa will be a key region of focus for the identification of the Action Opportunities given its high energy access deficits; the region accounts for approximately 75% of the estimated 759 million people without access to clean energy. Therefore, to identify relevant pathways to scale, an initial set of assessments will be performed in at least 18 countries that UNDP is currently working with.

Identified Action Opportunities from these pre-feasibility assessments must be of a technical quality that can inform the design of follow up work, including feasibility and detailed design work for proposals to enhance on-the-ground programming among UN Energy partners and other relevant stakeholders (e.g., the private sector, philanthropy, civil society, and others) within each of the 18 countries, and more broadly, across the Africa region.

Duties and Responsibilities

Summary of key functions:

  • Preparation Country background briefs;
  • Development of pre-feasibility assessments to identify Country-level Action Opportunities (one assessment per country) and provision of technical inputs in the development of UNDP Country Office Energy Strategies;
  • Preparation political economy intelligence reports.


1. Preparation of Country background briefs

The Interns will support with research and analytical support in the context of the development of country background briefs, to prepared by a lead Energy Specialist in close coordination with National Energy Specialists, under the coordination and technical leadership of an overall Coordinator. These briefs will include key indicators and data set regarding energy access and transition, e.g., drawing from national reports, literature, and other materials available online or through stakeholder engagements at the country level. An annex of the country briefs will also include the main development projects and interventions taking place at the country level (e.g., projects being implemented by UN-Energy Members, Multilateral Development Banks, civil society organizations, the private sector, and others). The Coordinator will be responsible for providing guidance and quality control to Energy Interns for the preparation of these briefs.


2. Development of pre-feasibility assessments to identify Country-level Action Opportunities (one assessment per country)

Following Methodology to be prepared for the pre-feasibility assessments and the guidance of the Coordinator, the Interns will assist with research and analytical support, the Energy Specialist who will undertake the development pre-feasibility assessments in all UNDP supported countries to identify Country-level Action Opportunities. The interns will work closely with the Energy Specialist, National Energy Specialists based in each country as well as the overall Coordinator.

The pre-feasibility assessment will identify key actions that can be implemented at the country level to close the energy access gap and accelerate the energy transition. The key interventions identified will be documented and will be prioritized in an evaluation matrix (based on the criteria to be defined and approved in the methodology (task 1). Actions to be considered can include policy interventions, technology demonstrations and/or pilots, financial mechanisms and instruments, technical assistance and capacity building, and other type of interventions.

Up to 18 Action Opportunities will be prioritized and categorized based on the potential impacts in terms of energy access/transition, additional SDGs benefits, risks, timeframe, costs, etc. as it will be defined in the approved methodology (task 1). The action opportunities will be divided between off-grid and on-grid related interventions when applicable. It is noted that the total number of Action Opportunities will vary by country and context, but the intent is to identify a set of key and focused priorities that can have an impact at scale, and not to establish a long list of interventions.

A financing plan and instrument matrix will be established, including budget, source of funding and the expected timeline for the implementation of the actions. The expected results from the implementation of the Action Opportunities will be well defined and documented.

Once the Action Opportunities are defined, engagement with key stakeholders shall inform a resource mobilization plan and strategy, to be included as part of the pre-feasibility assessment.

For each Action opportunities a brief concept note (between 3-5 pages) will be prepared, including the preliminary design of the interventions. The concept note will be used as a basis for stakeholder engagement and resource mobilization for full feasibility studies and design.

The findings will also inform UNDP Country Office Energy Strategy which will contribute at the country-level to the objectives of UNDP Strategic Plan 2022-2025. The interns will support with all the above tasks by working alongside various regional level Energy specialists, National Energy Specialists and will work in close coordination with the COs to develop these strategies.


3. Preparation of political economy intelligence report

Building on the information gathered to deliver Tasks 1-2 and the respective interview and stakeholder engagement process, the interns will support a team of Energy Specialists who will develop a Political Economy report (for each country) gathering intelligence on some existing political, commercial and market risks and barriers that may hinder the scaling up of actions to close the energy access gap and accelerate the energy transition. The report will include information such as potential governance risks, economic interests that may hinder progress and benefit of status quo, etc. that may be revealed in the stakeholder engagement process. This report will not be made public and as such will not be included in the final report.



  • Demonstrates integrity by modelling the UN’s values and ethical standards;
  • Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of UNDP;
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability;
  • Treats all people fairly without favoritism;
  • Fulfills all obligations to gender sensitivity and zero tolerance for sexual harassment.


  • Background in data analytics and research skills relevant to the topic of energy access in off-grid settings;
  • Knowledge of policy, innovative business models, and financial mechanisms in low-carbon energy to disrupt existing markets and to bring energy and development benefits to developing countries. 



  • Ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing, in a simple, concise and persuasive manner.


  • Ability to work and build partnerships with multiple stakeholders and partners across a wide range of disciplines;
  • Demonstrated ability in strategic thinking; 
  • Strong organizational, reporting and writing abilities;
  • Able to work independently and remotely with minimal supervision;
  • Remains calm, in control and good humored, even under pressure; 
  • Consistently approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude; 
  • Openness to change and ability to receive/integrate feedback.


  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively as part of a collaborative team and process.


Institutional Arrangements

The interns will report to the Coordinator based in UNDP’s New York office within the Nature, Climate and Energy team.  

Interns’ Expenses

Interns may be given a stipend under conditions prescribed in the section on stipends, below.  Costs and arrangements for travel, visas, passports, accommodation and living expenses are the responsibility of:

  • The nominating institution, related institution or government, which may provide the required financial assistance to its students; or
  • The intern.


Where an intern is not financially supported by any institution or programme, such as a university, government, foundation or scholarship program, a stipend intended to help cover basic daily expenses related to the internship, such as meals and transportation at the duty station, will be paid by UNDP. 

The stipend will be paid on a monthly basis and part-time internship arrangements are prorated accordingly.

Where an intern is financially supported by an institution, government or third party, UNDP will, subject to the rules of such institution, government or third party, pay the intern the difference, if any, between the external financial support provided and the applicable UNDP stipend.  No other payments of any kind will be made to an intern by the office in connection with an internship agreement.

Interns will accrue leave at the rate of 1.5 days per month. Any accrued leave days not used by the end of the internship will be forfeited. Any unjustified absences during the internship period exceeding a total of nine days, will be deducted from the monthly stipend.


Interns are responsible for securing adequate medical insurance for the duration of their internship with UNDP. UNDP will not reimburse the medical insurance of the intern. Any costs arising from accidents and illness incurred during an internship assignment will be the responsibility of the intern.  Applicants for internships must show proof of valid medical insurance for the duty station in which they will intern.  For applicants who are neither nationals or residents of the duty station, the insurance must include adequate coverage in the event of an injury or illness during the internship duration which: 

  • Requires transportation to the home country or country of residence for further treatment; 
  • Results in death and requires preparation and return of the remains to the home country, or country of residence. 

Subsequent Employment

There is no expectation of employment with UNDP following an internship.  Interns cannot apply for, or be appointed to, any position during the period of their internship.

Third-party claims

UNDP is not responsible for any claims by any parties where the loss of or damage to their property, death or personal injury was caused by the actions or omission of action by the interns during their internship.

Required Skills and Experience

Applicants to the UNDP internship programme must at the time of application meet one of the following requirements:

  • Be enrolled in a graduate school programme (second university degree or equivalent, or higher) in fields such as Energy, Economics, Business Administration, Social Sciences or related disciplines;
  • Be enrolled in the final academic year of a first university degree programme (minimum Bachelor’s level or equivalent) in fields such as Energy, Economics, Business Administration, Social Sciences or related disciplines; 
  • Have graduated with a university degree (as defined above), and, if selected, must start the internship within one-year of graduation.


  • Relevant work/voluntary/internship experience in climate change or sustainable energy, multi-stakeholder initiatives at the domestic and/or international level;
  • Knowledge of/familiarity with the design and/or implementation of development projects to promote energy investment.  Hands on experience preferred;
  • Experience working with a wide set of energy stakeholders, such as the private and financial sector, government, and civil society is an advantage;
  • Field experience in energy-related projects in developing countries contexts is desirable;
  • Knowledge of, and/or prior experience within, the UN system is considered an advantage.

Language requirements

  • Excellent oral and written communication skulls in English language is required;
  • Knowledge of French is considered an asset.

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