University Interns Learn and Grow At INA

July 23, 2021

By William Stephenson (recent INA intern)

 “My time with INA has been nothing short of transformative. I reached out to INA at the start of 2021, looking for an opportunity to intern in the field of international development and non-profit work. I’ll admit that initially I was looking for a way to get a bit of real-world experience and didn’t really have the clearest idea of how I could fit into INA and the work that they do. As well as that, I hadn’t really given much thought to the kind of contribution that I could make and how that would make me feel.

“Now, at the end of my internship, it’s not just the skills that I’ve developed and the insight into development work that I prize the most. It’s putting in the work with a real world and tangible outcome that has been the most rewarding aspect of my internship with INA.

William, recent INA intern

William, a recent INA intern

The Start

“In the first few weeks, I spent time working in the Programs department, helping with country profiles that would go on to inform projects in the future. Soon after that, however, I was asked to help write and format a progress report for a sponsor of a project in Nepal. INA was facilitating the development of a solar panel array, which would be used to power a water pump in a local village. This was eye-opening.

“Until then, I’d not really understood just how a project like this was implemented, and through INA, I felt like I was thrown right into the mix of ‘real work’ which touched the lives of everyone involved; from the sponsor, to the local teams on the ground in Nepal, as well as the families and local community which would benefit from it. What surprised me the most, however, was that the solar panel array and battery system could also be used as a backup generator for the local hospital – genius!

What Came Next

“In the coming weeks, I found that I had got enough practice writing this progress report that when asked if I could help write a project proposal for a project in Uganda, I felt confident to help out. Through plenty of back and forth between my supervisor and me, we worked on a number of project proposals in the months following. I saw inside the planning, operation and financing of some amazing projects which INA was running all across the globe.

“It was refreshing to see the kind of real world work I’d only read about during University. I was perhaps most impressed with the well thought-out elements and mechanisms for sustainability in the programs. 

My Highlight

“It would be remiss of me not to highlight my most memorable and profound experience. In the latter part of my internship, my supervisor and I worked on a number of project proposals which would be submitted to a charitable trust. Notably, one was for a project in Uganda similar to the one I had worked on earlier.

“After a few weeks of working collaboratively on the proposals, we were able to come up with a number of documents which were sent off. A week later, I had heard that the Uganda proposal had been selected! I was ecstatic. At the start of my internship, I had not thought I was ever going to be able to do something so transformative.

The End

“Now, at the end of my internship, I feel that I’ve learned a lot and done my part in a small way, to the great work the INA does for the world.“

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To view current intern or volunteer opportunities, visit INA’s Internship and Volunteering page.

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