As I wrapped up my last project at Sesame Workshop India (SWI)-creating an activity guide for caregivers to strengthen children’s executive functioning skills, my summer internship in Delhi has officially come to an end. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to intern at, and my only wish is that my visa allows me to stay a little bit longer.

 

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My colleagues waving me goodbye! 

When I first arrived  in Delhi in May, I decided to take notes every day to document my learning and growth over the next few months. Today, I finally had the time to organize these notes by themes. Here in this blog, I will share some of my reflections and what I’ve accomplished during my internship.

To begin with, what have I learned?

To be honest, there was so much learning happening, both at work and in my personal life, that it’s impossible to summarize. My internship, specifically, has challenged me and changed my perspectives in several significant ways. One of the most important lessons I learned was that not all “innovative” solutions are good solutions. For example, even though I thought it was really “creative” to design a flip book to engage children in story telling, in reality, children failed to understand the purpose of this design. The gaps between field observations and my expectation revealed my “expert blindspot,” and this realization terrified me a little (because we’ve discussed this phenomenon extensively in our IEDP seminar). Eventually, I developed the habit of asking questions before evaluating any interventions: “if I am not literate, will I be able to use this intervention?” or “if I live far away from the community center, will I be able to attend this workshop?” These questions guided me to examine interventions from the perspective of the targeted beneficiaries and helped me identify and remove my own mental shortcuts.

What have I accomplished during my internship?

Perhaps because I really enjoyed my work, I didn’t even realize how much work I’ve completed over the past few months until my last week in office. Because I’ve been working closely with colleagues from the content development team, the research team, and the communications team, my final deliverables covered a wide range of topics. Below are some of the projects I worked on:

Research:

  • Completed a research report on gender equity in early childhood education (ECD), which spotlighted key gender indicators in ECD
  • Finalized a impact evaluation report on a multi-country initiative that aims to empower caregivers to leverage play in support of children’s early development and lifelong learning
  • Developed two questionnaires to investigate the long-term impact of our intervention on children’s development
  • Identified global trends in early childhood education and completed a forecasting report to inform my organizations’ future strategies

Content Development:

  • Synthesized recent research findings and developed an activity guide for caregivers of 3- to 8- year-old children to help them strengthen their children’s executive function skills.
  • Summarized findings from two research projects and created a pitch document for future fundings.

Communications:

  • Worked with the communications team to create an infographic showcasing the major findings of one of our projects. This infographic demonstrated the major impacts of the project on caregivers’ perceptions surrounding play and will be used to promote the project during its scale-up phase.
  • Drafted a news article to introduce SWI’s new radio initiative in Kashmir, where children in conflicts are cut off from formal education.
  • Identified strategies to expand my organization’s social media presence. These strategies have been adopted and will be utilized to promote SWI’s work in the future.

Looking back, I’m just very grateful that I have the opportunity to combine my passion for ECD and my past experience in publicity to contribute to SWI’s work. And here comes the next question..

Will I miss Delhi and the wonderful people here?

Absolutely!!

I had such a great time and I’m so grateful that I had chosen a smaller organization that dedicates to early childhood education. I will definitely miss my colleagues and my IEDP family in Delhi. As cookie monster would say, “Me wouldn’t trade you for all the cookies in the world!” Me will definitely miss Delhi and come back one day!

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My farewell gift from my organization-Cookie Monster 

Bye bye, my friends! See you next time!