I’m currently completing an internship with Oxfam Canada in Ottawa. I have a B.A. in International Development from the University of Guelph, but upon graduation I wanted to gain some hard skills related to the field of development, so I applied to the International Project Management program at Humber College. This internship is the final component of my program at Humber, and I can say that it’s been a complement to everything that I’ve learned in both my undergraduate and postgraduate studies.
I first became involved with Oxfam at university with Guelph’s campus chapter. Guelph is a very liberal campus, and I wanted to become involved with a group that promoted the issues and ideals that I care about: fair trade, HIV/AIDS awareness, and social justice. I really enjoyed the role that I was able to play with Oxfam on campus because of the people involved and the organization itself.
When it came time to find an internship, I knew that I wanted to work for an organization whose vision and mission I agreed with, one where I would be able to learn as much as possible from the organization as a whole. I liked the work that Oxfam was doing within Canada, and was eager to find out more about their international programs.
Working with the Executive Director’s office has provided me with a unique opportunity to see how the organization works. A big part of my job was to help prepare for the Board of Directors meeting in September, as well as the annual Oxfam International meeting held in Ottawa in November. In both cases I supported the planning, organization, and logistics of the events. I was able to see how Oxfam Canada functions as an independent organization, and how it related to the larger Oxfam International confederation. I am grateful for the chances I have had to meet Oxfam Canada staff, board members, and representatives from other Oxfam affiliates, as everyone has been kind enough to speak to me about their various experiences as development practitioners. It’s been inspiring to meet people who have been working towards making a difference, trying to fight poverty and injustice.
Certainly the successful completion of the weeklong Oxfam International meeting was my most rewarding experience. After months of planning and meetings, phone calls and e-mails, signing contracts and making arrangements, it was great to see it all go off without a hitch. I was thrilled to actually be a part of the conference, and to see its success.
I also want to mention the awesome experience I had campaigning for Oxfam’s For All campaign at the Coldplay concert in Ottawa this fall. In a few short hours, I and 20 other Oxfam volunteers were able to get over 2,000 people to sign action cards calling for education, health, water and sanitation for all. I met so many socially conscious people from such different backgrounds, and their instant enthusiasm for the campaign was almost overwhelming.
This internship at Oxfam has also shown me that I have the skills to play a role in the fight for a world that is more just, inclusive, and fair. I’ve come to learn that there are many skilled and talented people involved in this fight, within Oxfam and abroad, and that our passion and dedication can make a difference.