* Posts with the tag ‘Inquisitive intern’ are internship-related posts. You can click the tag underneath any post to be taken to a list of related content, or browse through all my varied posts.
In June 2013 I began a Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)-funded internship coordinated by the Atlantic Council for International Cooperation (ACIC).
Part A: After a week of intercultural training through the Canadian Foreign Service Institute in beautiful Tatamagouche, NS, I worked for the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Chalice Canada for five weeks, as part of a friendly, dedicated team.
Part B: working with one of Chalice’s partner NGOs, Centro Esperanza, in Chiclayo, Peru from July 2013 to January 2014. It was an incredible experience working alongside Peruvian women who run Project Chiclayo, a program for children, youth and their families, generously supported by Canadian donors. I was non-stop busy for those six months and did a wide range of tasks, using many skill-sets and learning new ones, and meeting incredible people who taught me so much. I took time to reflect on what international development and local, grassroots development can achieve and some of the problematic realities of the models I witnessed.
Part C: 6 weeks back in the Chalice office helping out wherever possible and sharing my experiences in Chiclayo with the other intern who had been with me in Chiclayo.
Below are (most of) the amazing young women who did internships through the ACIC in Honduras, Costa Rica, Peru, Bolivia, Ghana and Tanzania. ___________________________________________________________________________________
Peru Part Two :
While international development is far from perfect (and can cause harm even in ways not known until they can be analyzed in hindsight), what I had experienced was something real and something worth continuing. I was thrilled to return on a more independent basis to work at Centro Esperanza and arrived in early June 2014, staying until late March 2015. Similar to my first time in Peru, I was busy:
-designing and (co-) facilitating classes and workshops for children and youth: environmental awareness/tree-planting; drawing and painting through a nature lens; [Spanish] literacy and English homework help sessions; self-esteem, values, youth leadership.
-helping develop and facilitate training sessions about pedagogical practices (literacy and art with holistic lens to promote personal and community development).
-launching a rotating library, out of a suitcase, called ‘La Cometa Lectora‘ (or ‘The Reading Kite’) to improve literacy levels in children, youth and their families (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRJgEMQ7-TE for the English-language video, and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjWiWEedgfI for the Spanish one)
-supporting a cooperative of mothers in making and marketing colourful artisan products for local sale and export to Canada: market research, design/production, quality control, marketing, communication, surveys/feedback implementation, innovation
–translating an array of NGO documents and doing live-interpretation (my respect for all live interpreters everywhere!)
-laying the technical ground work for the first ever website for Centro Esperanza on WordPress (centroesperanzachiclayo.org)–As of 2020, it is no longer active.
Centro Esperanza offers multiple programs centered around 1) Human Rights and Democracy (holistic childhood and family development), 2) Gender Equity, 3) Interculturality and 4) the natural Environment. The team seeks to strengthen organizational and leadership skills in order equip people with the skills and values they need to achieve a dignified life. Through offering year-round programming to people living in poverty in and around Chiclayo, the NGO supports equal opportunities for all people and promotes a life free of violence, while encouraging sustainable development and livelihoods.
Centro Esperanza offers Project Chiclayo to build people’s capacities so that they become agents of change in their personal, family and community lives; inspired by Christian values and ethics, the NGO is secular/laic and opens its programs to anyone. The Project’s objective is to become an example of inter-institutional networking and coordination in the Province of Lambayeque and I was lucky to be a volunteer at several intergovernmental and non-profit meetings, training sessions and events in the province.
The NGO is making a notable difference in the lives of its valued participants. When individuals and their families feel empowered and capable of bringing about change in their own lives, magic really does happen–though not without challenges and hick-ups and frustratingly time-consuming ‘bureaucratic’ roadblocks. This grassroots-level development is successful due to the giving and sharing of love, trust, respect, patience and dignity by a staff ad volunteers of Peruvian-born women and men, from ages 17 to 70. Many of the staff live in the same areas as program participants, areas in which people face precarious existence due to a lack of infrastructure, job opportunities and high crime.
I am forever grateful for the time these beautiful people allowed me to be part of their professional and personal ‘family’ lives; I never felt alone or unconnected to locals. As of 2021, I am delighted to still remain in contact with many team members and program participants. These people shaped my early professional development and I admire their strength and determination to fight for justice and dignity for all.