As an intern at UNESCO IICBA my primary task has quickly become developing the Play & Resilience toolkit. Play & Resilience is China-Africa project targeting healthy and holistic Early Childhood Development in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. On my first day itself my supervisor Binyam shared the initial draft developed by a consultant that I had to expand into a toolkit. IEDP Prosem was a life saver right here- my first task was to develop, design, and deliver within a week an entire Policy Brief.

Since the Policy Brief is an entire capstone assignment that we take a semester-long class to produce, I was not mentally, emotionally, or physically ready to have to produce an entire policy brief from scratch. Somehow, with the blessings of the memory of EDUC 695 and all my IEDP training for war, the task was done. Now laid ahead the gargantuan task of creating was the rest of the toolkit and designing an entire curriculum. Needless to say- I’ve crammed so much new material in my head, it felt like I was carrying an over inflated water balloon ready to explode in my arms at all times. As rigorous and demanding this deliverable was- it was obviously equally rewarding in the amount I learnt. Getting published doesn’t hurt either.

Play & Resilience Cover Page
“Play & Resilience” is published and launched! Mom, I helped make this!

Major Internship Twist #1 – the graphic designer is on summer leave and I have to design the entire 100-page toolkit for publication. My previous graphic design experience was using an online software for my capstone, so this was another mammoth learning experience that also resulted in more rapid heart palpitations from the anxiety of making deadlines than I would have liked. Nonetheless, both the office and my heart are satisfied with the final product.

Major Internship Twist #2 – I get mugged. I lose my phone, wallet, and my confidence to be outdoors for a while. It could have worse, and there had to be some downfalls to make this experience a better story!

A Play & Resilience dissemination seminar was planned for July 10th and 11th in Addis Ababa and delegates from Ethiopia, China, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, and South Africa were present. I had to present and launch the toolkit. Naïve that I am, I was convinced a snazzy PPT with animated slides would shield me from any further presenting. Little did I know that the attendees were armed with questions on the toolkit, and boy was I grilled. This was the first time in my entire life when I had to stand in front of people who definitely knew better than I do and be held accountable for something that I produced. This was all followed by a cocktail party at Yumiko’s and a three-day weekend for me to catch up on much needed sleep.

toolkit launch
Me feeling important as I launch the Toolkit

The weekend came with another pleasant surprise- Dr. Gershberg was in town! Matt and I got dinner with him at The Beer Garden and that was so delightful. Yumiko threw me an amazing birthday cocktail and dinner, which Dr. G attended as well, and it was another incredible memory I will cherish. I felt pretty healed from the mugging incident and had so much support going forward, and somehow even more excited for what’s ahead!

Yumiko on birthday
Yumiko – the best boss an intern could ask for
Dr G on bday
Dr. G making waves in Addis

My next post discusses the final project I worked on as an intern and how wrapping up the internship goes!