In theory, internships are supposed to serve as a platform for career growth for young graduates. Unfortunately, not all interns are able to see this theory become a reality.
This is partly because many organisations struggle with inadequate resources to design and implement successful internship programmes.
The situation is even dire in West Africa where many organisations including civil society oraganisations (CSOs) are struggling financially. Internship programmes require huge investments if they are to be successful. Material, human and financial resources are needed to efficiently design and implement a successful internship programme.
With such dire resource constraints faced by organisations, many interns are constantly in search of opportunities that have higher potency to meet their career goals.
Not only are they looking for internship programmes that will help them meet their career goals, but also looking for organisations that have a rich history of grooming exceptional leaders.
For many of these young graduates, ‘it is a dream come true’ when they finally achieve this goal.
The inspiring story of our 2023 Next Generation interns: Abdoul Wahab from Niger, Anthonette Quayee from Liberia and Paco Lethicia Gnada from Burkina Faso, is no different from that of many young ambitious graduates who have a burning desire to invest in their career growth.
The three who constitute the first cohort of 2023, are a step ahead in career growth having interned with the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) for more than three months. They have gained valuable experience and knowledge working on myriad of projects on various thematic areas the Institute works.
In an interview with WACSI’s communication team, the interns who were welcomed by the Institute in January 2023, shared their experiences.
Anthonette Quayee, who is interning with the Knowledge Management Unit noted with excitement that the past few months have been a “learning curve.”
As the second intern from Liberia and a graduate of the University of Njala, Quaye is ambitious of becoming a researcher. Through the six-month internship, she is enhancing her skills in research, writing and facilitation skills.
“I am open to learning, unlearning, and relearning better ways of working,” the environmental science graduate said.
For Burkina Faso’s Paco Lethicia Gnada who’s interning with the Capacity development Unit, the collaborative work culture of the Institute continues to make WACSI a better place to work in.
“WACSI has an open-communication culture and a friendly environment that fosters growth and teamwork,” the law graduate of University of Aube Nouvelle of Ouagadougou, said.
As a CSO, WACSI prioritises transparency as an important recipe for growth. This is one of the things Abdoul Wahab, the third intern from Niger is excited about.
“Transparency is a good virtue. And I am excited WACSI values it,” he said.
Wahab hopes to deepen his knowledge in civic space issues and development in West Africa.
The Next Generation Internship Programme is a six-month rigorous skills development initiative which began in 2008. Out of the 69 young Africans from sixteen countries who have graduated from the programme, 38 are females while 31 are males.
Sixteen of the participants came from Ghana, ten from Nigeria, three from Burkina Faso while ten were selected from Benin.
Seven of the graduates were from Cameroon, three from Cote d’Ivoire, two from The Gambia, six from Guinea Conakry and two were selected from Guinea Bissau.
One Liberian has also benefited from this programme. Two also came from Mali while one was selected from Seirra Leone.
Two Senegalese and one youth from Niger have also benefited from this flagship programme with two and one from Togo and Zimbabwe respectively.
Graduates from the programme have grown to occupy leadership positions in renowned civil society organisations, bilateral agencies, funding organisations among others. It is hoped that a pool of sound civil society leaders will emerge from the programme with the right mindset to drive sustainable change for a peaceful and prosperous West Africa in the years ahead.