That’s a wrap! 14 months down and time to enter the post internship world. It’s been a rollercoaster. The Covid environment of 2021 meant the internship’s overseas placement in Ethiopia and Rwanda unfortunately could not happen. However, I was able to spend a lot more time learning how the charity operates from the UK side, working with more teams and contributing to the Country Programmes from Bath.
I have gone from evaluating bids to writing them, from analysing data to designing baselines surveys and I have worked in almost every team at Send a Cow – learning about how they work together to effectively run an international organisation during a global pandemic and how they have adapted to maximise their impact when traditional ways of working became impractical. I have been blown away with the experience and enthusiasm people have shown and have learned a lot about the sector.
As the 6 month overseas placement was unable to go ahead I have started a Postgraduate Certificate in Humanitarian Practice with the University of Manchester. This has been fascinating and has added a theoretical understanding to compliment the practical understanding I have gained working with both Send a Cow and other organisations I have previously worked with. Modules I have been focusing on include “Critical Approaches to Management of Humanitarian Operations” and “Management and Leadership in Health and Humanitarianism”. So far, they have put my memory of referencing and essay writing to the test after a few years! I have really enjoyed getting involved in debates about issues in aid and development work and being able to compare my opinions with those of people from all over the world. I will now focus on finishing this course over the next few months before looking to work with an organisation in Eastern Europe.
I hope this blog has been helpful in describing my internship experience (albeit in a slightly out of the ordinary year). I’m very happy to answer any questions if you’re thinking of applying, and my progress will hopefully be shown here: Douglas Statt – LinkedIn. Thanks for reading!
Approaching the End
Those last few months have absolutely flown by! With the UK opening up, I’ve been able to add the Isle of Man and Wales to the places I’ve worked in and have been involved in some really exciting projects.
To celebrate the work of Send a Cow in Burundi that has been funded by the Isle of Man Government, we went to the island to meet with funders, give an assembly at a local school and put on a photography exhibition at Ronaldsway airport. Being new to the art world my talents were stretched, working out how light would hit the photographs and the journey visitors would take walking through the exhibition, but after a few last-minute adjustments we were ready. We were lucky enough to host the Chief Minister Howard Quayle among the guests: the Chief Minister had championed the Burundi project right from the start and on the day he gave a great speech about collaboration and the Isle of Man’s place in the world. Seeing how the set up in the Isle of Man’s International Development department was both similar and different to JOA was fascinating, and it was great to see another small island punching above its weight internationally.
After that trip it was back to the office for a few weeks, working closely with the Rwandan team and continuing my UK work with programme funding, partnerships and communications. We have also progressed well with the Disability Confident scheme, which I have mentioned in a previous blog, and hopefully the work we have put in will bare fruit before the end of the year. With more people being allowed back into the office it has felt a vibrant place to be and I feel very lucky I’ve been able to see things almost back to ‘normal’. This opening up culminated in a team building day run by ‘Raising the Baa’, where in two separate teams we attempted to herd sheep into a pen. This proved to be quite a challenge with my initial confidence proving to be totally unfounded. After a hard day of shouting at sheep and having to develop shepherding plan after plan, we were finally successful, though maybe the pen had been moved a little closer to the hedgerow.
After showing that sheep probably weren’t my favoured livestock (or vice versa), the opportunity then came up to attend the British Cattle Veterinary Association’s annual conference – Send a Cow are a regular feature as the organisation’s nominated charity. Manning a stall, I had a great chance to talk to people with all sorts of experience about the work Send a Cow does and learn about some initiatives going on in the UK. We also sold raffle tickets with one lucky vet winning a signed Welsh rugby top! An easy crowd pleaser.
I’m looking forward to the last few months – I’ll be finishing up some of my longer term projects. I’ve also been helping the team in the lead up to COP and will continue to help in the lead up to Christmas.
Hello from Bath! Or Newton St Loe to be precise, the picturesque village where Send a Cow is based.
I’ve had a very busy couple of months here so far, working with the teams based here and some further afield. My move has been timed well with the return of staff to the office and as a result, I have been able to be in the office 4 days a week. It has been brilliant (if surreal) to actually meet people I’d only seen on Teams for a few months, and any chance to reduce my screen time has been taken gratefully.
After I arrived, I completed my rotation of different teams in Send a Cow, working with supporter care, programmes, comms, programme funding and human resources amongst others. Being able to work with these teams for longer has been really useful, with me being able to take on larger projects such as writing a grant proposal for a project in Burundi, being involved in forming one of Send a Cow’s positioning papers and being part of a core group to make the organisation ‘Disability Confident’.
Writing the proposal was a brilliant experience – being for a country programme that I didn’t know too much about before – meaning that I got to learn a lot about the team, their previous work and the history of the country itself. Using information I’d picked up in other roles, I was able to write a (hopefully effective) narrative and description of what the Send a Cow programme will look like, so now fingers crossed to hear if it was successful!
Alongside work I’ve been busy meeting people and making the most of what summer we’ve had so far. I’ve been bat tracking, hare watching, watched a ridiculous amount of the Euros and Olympics and have joined a few sports clubs. I’ve also learned so much about the passions of the other staff, having conversations about different ways of growing a garden, spotting birds and stories of previous programmes they’ve run. I’ve even met the local wildlife, being surrounded by about 30 cows whilst on a walk, the Bath version of HEAT training.
Over the next few weeks I will work closely with the team in Rwanda, establishing a new baseline questionnaire and writing a mid-term report with them. I’m excited to spend more time virtually with colleagues in the African offices, and if the artificial insemination presentation they gave me is anything to go, by I’ll be learning a lot. Speak to you then.
The Halfway Point
As I pass the halfway point of the internship – and Jersey spring turns to Jersey summer – it seems a good time to take stock of how much I’ve done and what’s coming up next!
Since my last blog I have continued working remotely for Send a Cow and have been involved in quite a few interesting projects. These have ranged from reading training materials and adapting the key information into a new easy to follow format, to using my previous work experience to be part of the core team responsible for making Send a Cow more inclusive in its hiring process, and plenty in between. Through Send a Cow’s work to become a Disability Confident Employer I have been able to work with people I otherwise might not have overlapped with, and have been involved with adapting application forms, and simplifying job roles. I have also been involved in running a survey for the UK and African offices to judge attitudes and knowledge of disability, and to identify any key gaps. It’s been great working as part of a really motivated and diverse team, and I have learnt a lot about the work that goes on behind the scenes of an organisation.
Working with the UK office longer than anticipated has meant I’ve also been able to work with certain teams more, helping me to understand the projects and each teams’ role in them. It’s also enabled me to get a real understanding of the tasks and barriers each component faces in making sure a project is run efficiently and effectively from afar, especially given that the pandemic has occasionally resulted in unexpected changes having to be made. I have also had time to rotate into other teams that otherwise I’d never have met. With my move to Bath just a couple of weeks away, I have been able to work closely with the finance, communications and HR team amongst others, giving me an almost unique experience in seeing how the charity runs from every aspect.
With restrictions easing and the likelihood of being able to actually meet people face to face in the next few weeks, I’m excited about the next stage and will let you know about it in the next blog!
Send a Cow HQ (Remotely!)
Two and a half months in to working at Send a Cow already! As everyone working through these crazy times will know, it feels like I’ve been there for both only a couple of weeks and for 6 months at the same time.
Because of Covid, I haven’t made it over to Bath yet, but have been welcomed into the Send a Cow family with open arms, meeting everyone over Zoom and Teams and have been bowled over by how much effort people put in to welcome me.
After being asked early on which area of the organisation I preferred to work with, and probably not overly helping with my slightly generalised answer of “all of them”, my first few weeks were spent meeting the heads of different teams, learning about the work that they do and the roles different people in their team filled. I was really fortunate everyone took so much time to meet and explain everything to me, and I felt I gained a real understanding of the complexities and specialisations needed in each team for an organisation to work effectively. I was included in meetings focused on specific projects as well as those focused on a country wide approach, and while the first few of these were spent trying to work out which project was using which method in which place, the fast paced nature meant I got my head around it quite quickly.
I have since been working mainly in three teams; Programme Funding, Partnerships, and Fundraising Insight, alongside learning about some of the techniques Send a Cow use in their projects (such as Push Pull Technology and Transformative Household Methodology). In these teams I have been involved in evaluating reports from projects, contributing to new proposals and learning about the research that goes in to identifying donors and partners. I have also been involved with the successful fundraising campaign run in partnership with Standard Bank called Relay for Hope and have used it as an excuse to force me out the house and into the spring air to rack up some miles of my own.
In the less than ideal circumstances, I’ve learned a lot from the team at Send a Cow and am hoping to be able to work in their office, and meet people in person, once some of the UK’s restrictions have been lifted, before hopefully being able to travel and meet the in-country teams who do the day to day implementation of these great projects. Until then, I’ll keep working remotely from Jersey, learning both how to write an effective theory of change and the benefits of a mandala garden.
Two and a half months in already! To say time has gone quickly during 2020 seems an oxymoron, but here we are. I’m really happy to say I’m the 4th Jersey Overseas Aid International Development Intern and am very excited to see how the next year pans out.
Despite being from Jersey, I’ve been out the Island quite a while. My experience before the internship was eclectic to say the least, involving teaching in China, working with refugees in mainland Europe and eventually working for a charity in the UK for the last two and half years. With the world becoming more uncertain and my desire to work in International Development becoming more set, I decided that I needed to learn a lot more about what goes on behind the scenes of projects and this internship is the perfect way to do it, hopefully with a bit of in-country experience as well!
As you’ve probably seen in the blogs from the previous interns Lauren, Becki and Faye, the JOA International Development Internship is designed to give invaluable experience in the field of international development over a year, and is split into the 3 main sections. The first section is 2 months in working in Jersey with JOA, learning the role played by a donor organisation and how JOA represents Jersey on the international stage. This part of the internship allows interns to develop a deeper understanding of JOA’s work, as well as a more holistic summary of how the sector operates and how different international organisations interlink. This is followed by 4 months working with a partner organisation and a 6 month overseas placement.
I am excited to be working with Send a Cow for this section, a charity that works with smallholder farmers (among many others) in Africa to develop community-wide strategies to increase agency and improve their futures. Originally, I was meant to be based in Newton St Loe – their main offices near Bath – but the current plan is that I will work remotely and hopefully be able to travel over in late Spring. During this part of the internship I hope to work with many different teams, learning about their programmes and how they are planned, fundraised for, implemented and then finally evaluated and learned from. For the final 6 months of the internship, the plan is that I will travel to Rwanda and Ethiopia to work with the in-country programmes, getting a hands on introduction to working in the field, with all of the challenges and rewards that come with it. Hopefully this will be possible as I am really looking forward to this opportunity!
Although it has only been 2 months, so far I’ve learnt a lot in the internship! JOA has streamlined its international development funding over the past few years to focus on three main areas: Dairy for Development, Conservation Livelihoods and Financial Inclusion, which each have a strong link to the Island’s history and Jersey’s identity. After focusing on getting my head around the different areas JOA supports, I then had the chance to look at the projects themselves and learnt how to monitor and evaluate project reports, track a project’s progress and see when and why interventions are made. I was able to talk to people working within the projects about challenges they’d faced and how they had overcome them and heard about their plans for the rest of the project and beyond. I was also involved in the first stage of JOA international development grant selection process, reviewing the 2021 cohort of project concept notes and giving my opinion, whilst learning new ways to analyse the concept notes and what to look out for.
I’ve really enjoyed my few months with JOA, and am now excitedly moving onto the next step of the internship. Whilst I’ll be working from home for the first part, I cant wait to get stuck in at Send a Cow and let you know what I do there!