Like many students in Burkina Faso, getting to the end of Carmelle Sergine Kabore school year, she was looking for an internship opportunity to gain practical experience. One day, she saw an announcement on the Facebook page of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) with the title APPLY FOR NEXT GENERATION INTERNSHIP PROGRAMME.
Reading the announcement, she found the opportunity suitable for her. It was an opportunity she believed would catapult her into a professional dream career. She applied for the internship and was fortunate to be selected and this was the beginning of an amazing journey with WACSI.
Carmelle was part of the second batch of 2019 interns who worked at the Institute from July to December 2019. She worked under the Capacity Development Unit (CDU). This unit is in charge of providing training, technical assistance and creating space for learning and reflection for civil society organisations.
Narrating her story, Carmelle said, when she first came to WACSI, she knew that her overall duty was to assist the unit but she was surprised there were series of training sessions to hone the relevance of personal and professional skills required within the development sector. she participated in pieces of training on report writing, proposal writing, training and facilitation skills, writing of articles and blogs, project management, data collection and management.
Part of her daily tasks was to assist and coordinate programmes in countries like Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and The Gambia. She had had the opportunity to chair a couple of WACSI staff meetings. These according to her has built her capacity to work and communicate with people from different backgrounds.
“As part of the Next Generation Internship Programme, during the 5th month of my internship, I was tasked to work at the Gender Centre for Empowering Development for a one-month externship. The externship programme has been designed to allow interns to have another work experience in their domain of professional interest. As a student in gender population and development, this externship deepened my knowledge on the gender context in Ghana”, she said.
Overall, Carmelle added that her time at WACSI has been a great learning experience. She has been able to strengthen her organisational, managerial and relational skills. It also helped build her confidence and ability to work within a multicultural environment. Her ability to communicate in English has also improved dramatically.
“I left this organisation with the belief that this programme is adding value to the civil society sector in West Africa. It is building a generation of youth who are aware of some of the challenges that the civil society sector faces and are well equipped to respond to these challenges.
I, therefore, encourage youth, especially my peers from French-speaking countries to apply for the Next Generation Internship Programme. It will be an opportunity for you to overcome your language barrier’ she concluded.