January 2021 set a new page in the careers of Shu Mabel Lum, Angela Akorfa Apedoh, Agossou Jacques Setondji and Ballo Ngomna as they joined the Capacity Development, Policy Influencing and Advocacy, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning and Knowledge Management units, respectively. They were recruited as the first cohort of interns for 2021 under the Institute’s flagship programme – the Next Generation Internship Programme.
The Next Generation Internship Programme (NGIP), one of four hallmark programmes under the Next Generation Leadership Programme, has been instrumental in grooming young West Africans who have eventually positioned themselves as indisputable professionals and leaders within the civil society sector, the private sector and the public sector across the continent. Serving as interns under the NGIP gives participants a unique opportunity to prepare themselves for the next phase of their careers.
Between January and June 2021, these four ambitious West Africans will be plying their trade at the Institute, where they hope to gain cutting edge professional skills that will prepare them for the job market.
“I hope to reap great gains from a structured internship programme and also sharpen already acquired professional and personal skills as well as acquire new skills that will give me a cutting edge as a young professional,” explains Apedoh, the Policy Influencing and Advocacy Intern from Ghana.
These interns did not hide their optimism about the added value of this programme to their careers. For Ngomna, the Knowledge Management intern from Cameroon, “this internship programme represents a unique opportunity for me to learn new things, gain more experience and skills which will enable me easily adapt to the professional milieu”.
Ngomna is keen on carving a niche for himself in the international development sector, an ambition he hopes the internship will help him achieve.
“I think this internship programme especially in the domain of knowledge management will pave the way for me to gain practical skills in the international development field,” he admits.
The programme is designed to deepen intern’s understanding of the civil society sector in West Africa. This is an interesting aspect of the programme that attracted Jacques Setondji to seek to join WACSI.
“[This] is a great opportunity for me to know more about civil society organisations, their needs, opportunity and the way [they] work to achieve their goals,” the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning intern explains.
Setondji who is a data science student in the University of Bretagne Site de Vannes in France is curious to leverage on this opportunity to make meaning out of the volumes of data produced by civil society actors in the region.
The internship is a hands-on training programme that will introduce the young graduates to the fundamental tasks undertaken in a typical civil society setting as they are prepared to become tomorrow’s leaders of civil society.
After spending a few weeks at the Institute, Shu Mabel Lum, the Capacity Development intern from Cameroon lauds the overall design of the programme and commends the diverse expertise she has been exposed to.
“The programme is made up of dynamic and focus – driven experts who are skilled in very different domains and who are patient enough to ensure that the right training is delivered. Their expertise in different fields present the perfect platform for diving into the domain of community development and youth empowerment which is my domain of interest,” she says.
To date, the programme has groomed over 61 Africans from 14 countries: Benin (11), Burkina Faso (4), Cameroon (4), Cote d’Ivoire (2), Ghana (16), Guinea (5), Guinea Bissau (3), Liberia (1), Mali (2), Nigeria (8), Senegal (2), Sierra leone (1), Togo (1) and Zimbabwe (1). Previous have gone to head African philanthropic foundations and play other leadership roles within the civil society, the private sector and the academia.
Partners keen on ensuring that more West Africans benefit from this opportunity and carve a niche for themselves in the civil society sector, while curbing the high rate of unemployment and underemployment in the region can support the Next Generation Internship Programme by donating here.