Natural Infrastructure in Latin America (Intern)

World Resources Institute (WRI)

Washington, DC, US

About WRI

World Resources Institute is a global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. Our 500 experts and staff work with partners in more than 50 countries; we have offices in Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and the United States.

WRI is consistently ranked as the top global Think Tank working on environmental issues. In January 2016, WRI was again named the #1 environmental think tank in the world in a survey conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s ‘2015 Global Go To Think Tanks index’.


Internships at WRI provide opportunities for motivated young professionals to learn from our experts and participate in engaging work at the intersection of environment and development. WRI provides many internship opportunities throughout the year in all of our programs and offices. We seek interns with diverse backgrounds and who are passionate about the environment to help us make a direct global impact. For more information, see our website: Internships at WRI

The intern will work with the Natural Infrastructure for Water Project of the WRI Food Forests & Water program, based in WRI’s Headquarters in Washington, DC.
The WRI Natural Infrastructure for Water (NIfW) initiative works at the intersection of water security, environmental restoration, and sustainable rural development. With staff in Washington, DC, Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Mexico City, Mexico, NIfW is catalyzing a global movement to enhance water security and bolster economic development through landscape conservation, restoration, and sustainable management. It convenes and empowers champions at all levels of decision-making, and provides the best available evidence and guidance to put natural infrastructure strategies into action. The initiative also leverages WRI’s geospatial mapping (e.g., Aqueduct and Global Forest Watch) and economic expertise to identify water risks, unveil natural infrastructure opportunities, and inform smart strategies to secure water resources.

In 2016, NIfW launched a new project to identify smart natural infrastructure investment opportunities to protect urban water supply in Brazil and Mexico. WRI is building engagement with city and state government agencies, municipal water utilities, and civil society groups to examine how natural infrastructure could provide local water security, climate resilience, and rural economy benefits, while also helping governments meet their existing soil management, forest conservation and restoration goals. In collaboration with these stakeholders, WRI is analyzing the potential return on investment of natural infrastructure programs in source watersheds of each city. WRI will produce case studies to guide local decision makers through the process of building natural infrastructure programs in and around their cities.

Because the project integrates economic analysis, management and adaptive leadership to identify and promote new solutions to growing water insecurity challenges, the intern will gain first-hand experience on an interdisciplinary, action-oriented sustainable development research project. The intern will be assigned a research track in their field of study (e.g. policy, economics, and environmental management) and work closely with WRI experts to analyze opportunities and challenges in investing in natural infrastructure in Mexico or Brazil. Examples of specific internship research topics are:
Supporting economic analysis to evaluate the costs and benefits of investing in natural infrastructure
Assessing public financing mechanisms that could unlock investments in natural infrastructure
Pinpointing national and subnational regulations that enable or constrain cities’ investment in natural infrastructure
Identifying opportunities to incorporate natural infrastructure into mainstream water management system design

In addition to supporting a specific line of research led by WRI specialists, the intern will have the opportunity to personally engage with leading conservation groups, government agency personnel, staff at water utilities, other students, and other key stakeholders and decision makers in the fields of natural infrastructure, green finance, and water management.

WRI is committed to ensuring gender equity across our program portfolios. As such, the Intern is expected to incorporate attention to gender where appropriate.


The intern will gain experience in the following areas:

Research (70%) 

  • Conduct literature reviews and foundational research to inform site-specific studies, and provide input to research plans
  • Assist WRI experts with economic  analysis
  • Conducting research on funding resources and financing mechanisms related to natural infrastructure

Communications (30%)

  • Assist with project communications, and contribute to one or more sections of a peer-reviewed report to be published in 2018
  • Organize and participate in expert consultations and project-related events
  • Optionally, contribute to fundraising efforts.
  • Developing ways to convey our results to decision-makers


  • Degree: Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s or current graduate school student
  • Interest in and understanding of environmental economics and integrated water resources management
  • Knowledge or experience in water engineering, economics, and finance a plus
  • A keen interest to work on projects in Latin America
  • Excellent research skills, with attention to detail and quality of source material
  • Excellent English speaking and writing skills; Portuguese or Spanish language skills a definite plus
  • Experience engaging with and convening members of government and civil society sectors
  • Ambition to contribute to environmental policy and sustainable development in Latin America, through research or teaching, or as a policymaker and/or program manager
  • Demonstrated ability to work both independently as well as part of a team
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to represent WRI well among project partners
  • Ability to present complex information in a clear and concise manner
  • Ability to work calmly and enthusiastically in a dynamic environment
  • Ability to think creatively
  • Highly responsible, self-motivated
  • Extremely well organized and efficient

Final candidate will be required to take a writing test
Stipend: Stipend might be available to defray some minor expenses.
Duration: 10 weeks
Start/End Months: May-August

How to Apply

Qualified applicants must apply online at to be considered.

The World Resources Institute ( is an environmental and development research and policy organization that creates solutions to protect the Earth and improve people’s lives. As an Equal Opportunity Employer, it is WRI’s policy to recruit, hire, and provide opportunities for advancement in all job classifications without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, citizenship, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, parental status, protected veteran status, or disability. WRI’s global agenda requires a staff that is diverse – with respect to race, gender, cultural, and international background. Diverse perspectives and experience enhance the way WRI selects and approaches issues, as well as the creativity and applicability of WRI’s policy research and analysis. WRI, therefore, encourages applications from U.S. minorities, persons from other countries (especially developing nations), and from women of all backgrounds.

About WRI

Established in 1982, WRI is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization respected globally by policymakers, non-governmental organizations, and corporate leaders.

WRI’s reputation is grounded in its excellent analysis, non-partisan approach, and high-impact results. We measure our success based on how our work helps to create real-world change on the ground—an approach we call “Managing for Results.”

WRI’s work is united by and driven by our values: Innovation, Integrity, Urgency, Independence, and Respect.

WRI fosters a culture of innovative ideas, working collaboratively, and thinking independently. WRI employees are driven by the organization’s mission and have the satisfaction of helping to create a more prosperous and healthy planet.

Learn more about our organization at