By Oluwabusola Olaniyan, 2nd year MDP student
I have been given an opportunity to intern at the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). This practicum has been impactful and the experience garnered is an eye opener to new possibilities for development.
First and foremost, at the start of the placement, I was assigned to a monitoring task, which I felt was outside of my comfort zone, based on my previous experience. Identifying my skill gap, I took up the challenge as an opportunity to better understand the concepts and models involved in monitoring.
Over the past two months of in-depth exposure to monitoring activities and collaboration with experienced monitoring staff at IISD, I have become a more knowledgeable development practitioner. My initial cold feet about monitoring has been transformed into a strength.
|Busola testing water from the Assiniboine River|
Specifically, my work focuses on water monitoring, including a long term monitoring strategy, which is one of the four thematic knowledge areas of IISD. Water monitoring entails the collection phase, the analysis phase and the reporting phase. It involves a cross-sectional review of the reporting components of Manitoba and Ontario water-monitoring programs.
Indeed, I better understand how water monitoring reporting influences the management of water resources and the development of efficient water policies. In the same vein, the internship revealed how monitoring reporting can help bridge the gap between science and policies in the hopes for greater water security. Working as a water-monitoring intern, I feel better equipped with the knowledge of secondary monitoring while building on the research knowledge acquired through MDP. However, it is not so much the crystallized knowledge learned during my course of study, but more so it is the environmental awareness, scientific knowledge, the ability for independent initiatives and the critical analysis and problem solving skills I have developed over time.
I also have a greater understanding of power relationships between the tri-sector players in the society- the government, the private sector and the NGOs/civil society organisations, and learning how social, economic and environmental context influences these relations.
My ultimate achievement during this placement is the treasured knowledge I am acquiring, the collaboration and interactions with development experts and handing real-life projects, which is beyond but complementary to what was taught in the classroom.