Darya, Honours Criminology
Internship Country: South Sudan
Canadian NGO: Mines Action Canada
Local NGO: The South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms (SSANSA)
Throughout this internship I have already had to opportunity to acquire a great deal of knowledge regarding the fight against armed violence and efforts towards landmine clearance. Being able to intern with not only my host/international NGO, the South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms, but also my Canadian partner NGO, Mines Action Canada, has been an eye-opening experience. Along with my other peers I am unable to travel to my host country of South Sudan due to COVID-19, however it has been just as engaging, as I have been able to attend certain talks, including Senate Foreign Affairs Committee meetings. However, I do feel as though if I had travelled to my host country, I would be more integrated with the daily affairs of the NGO.
The South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms advocates against armed violence through a series of campaigns. The day to day for me includes monitoring news websites looking for daily updates regarding politics, security, the economy, taking note of the state of society in which my host organization is trying to advocate. This gives me the ability to learn more about the current affairs in South Sudan, as well as keep my host organization informed of any events which may impact their ability to effectively advocate.
As stated on their website, my Canadian partner NGO, Mines Action Canada works to eliminate the serious humanitarian, developmental and environmental consequences of indiscriminate weapons. It is a leading humanitarian disarmament organization attempting to prevent suffering by restricting weapons which can pose risk both during and after conflict. They work to end suffering caused by weapons such as landmines, explosive weapons, and cluster munitions. I have attended senate meetings as well as a couple of conferences held regarding armed violence and landmine clearance, information which can aid my host NGO, the SSANSA, as well. I have meetings every couple of weeks with my supervisor and fellow colleague at Mines Actions Canada which allows me to express concerns, ask questions, and speak of future assignments for when I do not have much work to get done for my host NGO. I feel as though I have support within the organization as when I have questions or concerns, they are immediately acknowledged.
Working with both NGO’s has allowed me to new insights into the fight against armed violence, not only the damage done to civilian populations during conflict, but also the dangerous aftermath in terms of unexploded ordnance.
I have learned from my experience so far that there is always more than one can do if they are motivated to do so, like doing more research, attending informational sessions. In this internship I believe one can learn as much as they like regarding the advocacy their NGO’s do. My supervisor at Mines Action Canada for example sends me articles and meetings I can attend to learn more about landmine clearance, and I can do further research beyond that to get some background information.
So far, I have found this internship eye-opening and enlightening, and I look forward to the rest of my internship.