07 Nov Innovate ME: Anna’s Virtual Internship Experience
YCI alum, Anna Bruce, shares how interning virtually helped her gain global skills and experience
There is rarely one set pathway people take on their professional journeys. Mine is one that ranged from local to international work, took me back to school, and eventually brought me to Youth Challenge International’s Innovate ME program – a step for which I am extremely grateful. Innovate ME enables young professionals to engage in meaningful work on key global issues, such as environmental sustainability, high-quality education, tech solutions and gender equality. Through virtual overseas placements, interns like myself were able to work with global partner organizations in many countries, including Rwanda, Ghana, Liberia, Senegal, The Gambia and Zambia. Through these placements, we developed knowledge and honed skills that are deeply relevant to international development and impact work.
But to me the program wasn’t only that. This unique opportunity allowed me to tap into and foster critical interpersonal skills that will support my future professional endeavours. Innovate ME also allowed me to gain contextual knowledge and experience supporting global organizations. I learned from colleagues with vast experience in West Africa about their regional programs and monitoring and evaluation practices. With the amazing team at Worldreader, I was able to strengthen my monitoring and evaluation skills by learning how to develop a monitoring process, carry out evaluations that are responsive to gender and the local context, consider the positionality of the evaluator and cause no harm. I know that I am better equipped to work in the gender equality and international development fields because of this experience.
I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. I was lucky enough to connect with and learn from several Innovate ME internship colleagues. It was inspiring to learn about what they’d accomplished and what they were working towards. Here you can read about their experiences with Innovate ME in their own words:
“I am very interested in pursuing professional opportunities in the field of international development in the future and I feel that YCI’s Innovate ME program has certainly helped me prepare for that type of work. Having the experience of working with folks in another region of the world and getting to be part of a literacy development project has been so valuable. I have learned how to write project reports for [international funders] and what it is like to be part of creating sustainable change, which has again solidified my future career goals.” – Megan Gibson, 2022 Innovate ME intern
“Something that stood out to me about YCI’s Innovate ME program was the focus on helping the interns plan their next steps. With aspects like career coaching sessions and the commitment to connecting the interns through Jam Sessions and a Solutions Lab event, the YCI team makes you feel like they care about how you move forward in your career after the internship is over, rather than simply the work that you can do for them in the short time that they have you. ” – Rebecca Garnette, 2022 Innovate ME intern
“I think that the placement and the program will have a significant impact on my future goals. Not only have I been able to be a part of a well-known program within the industry, it also allowed me to make connections with other peers who are moving into the same career space. As well, the work that I have been able to do with my placement has expanded my skill sets and given me a look into this career field which will help me as I decide which elements align to my future goals.” – 2022 Innovate ME intern
The Innovate ME program offered pivotal professional opportunities and diverse internship positions to young Canadians. I know that the impact it had on participants such as myself and the organizations we supported will be long-lasting.
An enormous thank you is owed to the global partner organizations we worked with. Their efforts allowed us to take leadership, get curious and gain invaluable skills and knowledge. Similarly, I’d also like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the Government of Canada for their support in funding this program. The opportunities offered through YCI’s Innovate ME program allowed my colleagues and I to develop critical skills and learn from renowned partners in an equitable way.
About Innovate ME
Youth Challenge International’s Innovate ME international youth internship program provides Canadian youth, aged 19-30, with the opportunity to work with global partners while learning how to create a career they love and making a difference.
Innovate ME is generously funded by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada.