My Experience Interning with Mines Action Canada: Lessons Learned

Faculty of Social Sciences
Nouvelles du terrain
Lebanon

By Wenfei

Program Support Officer, Mines Action Canada

petit globe terrestre sur clavier d'ordinateur
petit globe terrestre sur clavier d'ordinateur
«I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to important work that has real-world impact.»

Wenfei, Honours International Economics,
Virtual Internship Country: Lebanon
Canadian NGO: Mines Action Canada
Local NGO: The Landmines Resource Center at the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Balamand

I recently completed a virtual international internship with The Landmines Resource Center at the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Balamand (LMRC) located in Lebanon.  LMRC is a local partner of Mines Action Canada (MAC). As an Honours International Economics student, I was excited to work with an NGO that focuses on the intersection of conflict, development, and humanitarian action. Throughout my internship, I had the opportunity to work on several projects and collaborate with a dedicated team of professionals. In this blog post, I will share some of the highlights of my experience and the lessons I learned.

One of the most rewarding aspects of my internship was working on the development of an improvised explosive devices (IEDs) awareness brochure for children. This project was a collaborative effort between MAC and the Landmines Resource Center at the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Balamand (LMRC). As a team, we researched the effects of IEDs on children and developed a brochure that is both educational and engaging for children aged 12-15. It was gratifying to know that our work will help to raise awareness about the dangers of IEDs and prevent future accidents.

Another project I worked on was the creation of a victim assistance brochure. I researched best practices for assisting victims of conflict and disasters and created a brochure that provides information and resources for victims and their families. This project was challenging, but also fulfilling because it highlighted the importance of providing support to those affected by conflict and disasters.

Additionally, I had the opportunity to work on a social media campaign to promote landmine awareness and encourage individuals to take action against landmines. This involved creating visually appealing graphics and crafting captions that were both informative and compelling. It was rewarding to see our campaign generate engagement and interest from the public, and to know that we were making a positive impact in raising awareness about the issue.

Lastly, I was involved in analyzing funding trends for mine action programs in the Middle East and Africa. This project required me to analyze transparency reports submitted by state parties to the Mine Ban Treaty and draw conclusions about funding trends and priorities. It was challenging, but also insightful to see how funding priorities shifted over time and to identify areas where more support is needed. Overall, these projects allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of landmine and explosive remnants of war issues, and to contribute to meaningful efforts to address them.

Lessons Learned
During my internship, I learned several valuable lessons that will stay with me throughout my academic and professional career. Here are a few of the most important ones:

  • Collaboration is key: Working with a team of professionals with diverse backgrounds and perspectives allowed me to learn from others and broaden my own knowledge. Collaboration was key to achieving our goals and delivering high-quality work.
  • Research is the foundation of good work: In every project, thorough research was essential to developing effective solutions. I learned that research is not just about finding information, but also about analyzing and interpreting data to create meaningful recommendations.
  • Flexibility is important: Working in a fast-paced environment requires flexibility and adaptability. Being able to adjust to changing priorities and deadlines was crucial to completing projects successfully.

Overall, my internship with LMRC and MAC was an invaluable experience that allowed me to work on meaningful projects with a dedicated team of professionals. From creating an improvised explosive devices awareness brochure for children to researching best practices for victim assistance, I learned the importance of collaboration, research, and flexibility in achieving our goals. I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to important work that has real-world impact and would encourage anyone considering an international internship to take the leap. Thank you to Mines Action Canada and the Faculty of Social Sciences for this opportunity, and I look forward to continuing to apply the lessons I learned in my future academic and professional pursuits.