A lifetime experience for UNICEF interns in India
By Srinivasan Kannan
August 2005 - For the 107 interns from eleven countries who came to India for a ten-week summer internship programme, it was a lifetime experience to have worked in a group situation in India.
This was a first effort of its kind made by the UNICEF in India to have so many interns come together at one time and share their experiences with others not just in classroom sessions but also in field trips.
After the three-day induction programme in Manesar, located on the outskirts of New Delhi in May, the interns were divided into twenty-six teams and sent to various parts of India to gather valuable information in their respective field projects. And after nine weeks, when the interns returned to the capital and showed, at the Habitat Centre, the twenty films they had produced based on the work done, one knew it was a worthwhile effort.
Given the unrelenting heat, field trips were not exactly easy. Yet, most of the interns want to be back in India at some time or the other.
Not only did the interns get to share their experiences with noted speakers, but were appreciated for their efforts as well and presented with a certificate for completing the programme successfully.
Ten weeks later …..
His field study pertained to right to health campaign.
Haady’s case study was related to breast-feeding practices in South India. “For me, the nine weeks programme was non-stop work. If in the day it was travel and interviewing people, at night I was on the video editing table” he said. We did manage to educate the village folk, teaching them the importance of colestrum and why breast milk is the best till a baby is six months old” said Haady. If there was any regret for Haady, it was time. “I think nine weeks was too short to do too much. I would have loved to be on the field longer” he said.
In our nine weeks here, not only did we do case study work but also made sure we were educating the locals. “It was not tough to tell the women that sugar water was not good for the newborns but breastmilk. We were not there to revolutionise the state in nine weeks, but yes we did a lot of education as well. The data we collected has been very good” said Kim. If he does get the chance again, he would love to be back in India and also be associated with one of the UNICEF programmes.
“I spent the first two weeks reading a lot of literature about child labour in hybrid cotton seed production. Understanding the issue was my first priority” she said. Wouda and her group next did a pilot project before venturing into the field trips. Asked to sum up her overall