Paige, International Economics and Development
Internship Country: Nepal
Canadian NGO: Centre d’étude de cooperation international (CECI, Nepal)
Local NGO: Nepal Agriculture Cooperative Central Federation Limited (NACCFL)
Now that I’m nearing the end of my internship, I’m pleased to report that it’s been an overwhelmingly positive experience. While doing this internship in the summer months has allowed me to avoid some summer classes, this was not the only positive.
First, it’s been enlightening to see just how applicable the information I’ve been learning in my program at uOttawa is to hands-on international development practitioners. My program entails a lot of research, writing, and analytical reasoning. This internship has allowed me to further develop these skills and related knowledge streams. My program delves deeply into concepts like sustainable development, the importance of grassroots movements, and how disaggregated data can tell a more comprehensive story than the aggregate data that is commonly collected today. While working at the NACCFL I found that they championed a lot of these ideas, and I was well prepared to support their initiatives which aligned with these goals.
That said, working for the NACCFL has challenged me in more ways than one. In my pre-internship training it was emphasized that I would be needing to adapt to new situations, as each organization’s needs are unpredictable and frequently changing. This was not an exaggeration. While I applied to work for the NACCFL as a Documentation Officer, this quickly turned into more of a Communications Officer position I was happy to step on board in this role to support my host organization’s goals, and I received enough support to handle the changing dynamic.
As a result, the internship has broadened my horizons to tasks that I would not have been given the chance to conduct otherwise. I was surprised by the amount of trust I was granted to create content for NACCFLs website, PowerPoint, and brochures/pamphlets. It was very rewarding to know that my work was making a tangible difference. Rather than doing work to fill time or receive grades, which much of student-life can entail, this placement gave me a heightened sense of personal responsibility over my work knowing it would be made available to the public.
Ultimately, this internship has surpassed my expectations with respect to the training offered, work tasks I was given, and learning opportunities in the field. I’m so pleased to have taken part in this experience this summer!