I must say these two weeks flew by. After a lot of reading I decided to change the focus of my report which means I had to read a new set of documents, change my report and proposal (what a task) but I am confident in the new direction I am taking. I am learning about the evaluation and selection process used to screen potential applicants that may be eligible for micro and small grants that will be used towards their businesses within the four sectors (agriculture, tourism, crafts, and fisheries). This grant is different for Micro small & medium sized enterprises (MSMES) and community based organizations (CBOs). For example a MSME get a smaller amount of money than a CBO. If awarded the grant, the funds are supposed to make their business/livelihood more sustainable such as fisherman installing a solar panel on his/her stall which is a form or renewable energy which in turn reduces the utility bill. I had so much questions about the application process that I decided to analyze it more intently. If successful I will be able to answer my research questions as well as answer some lingering questions the caribsave project officers have, so it’s a win-win situation.
The highlight of week 2 which I absolutely enjoyed and was thrilled to be a part of was being able to accompany two senior project officers to the Global Environmental Facility- Small Grant Program (GEF- SGP) grantee network learning workshop with two senior project officers ( Nicholas and Nikki). It was an informal workshop where small associations and organizations in Barbados who had programmes or initiatives dealing with the environment such as organic farming and climate change education attended. This workshop was held at the United Nations location in Barbados. I was amazed to see the small island of Barbados had A UN building filled with offices. I love meeting new people and learning new things that’s going on at the grassroots level.
The workshop was very interactive and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There were 4 organizations that had one representative. Throughout the workshop we listened to an issue each one was facing and then we brainstormed ideas, had discussions and I even formed connections with two associations I was interested volunteering with after my internship.
This week I focused on the methodology section of my paper which seemed to be much harder than I anticipated. The project officers really helped me find a focus on how to write this section such as structuring the questions the right way, asking the right kind of questions, and general criticisms and advice.
I like that every task I am asked to do for the project officers they take their time to thoroughly explain what the task is, how to do it, the purpose of it and other particulars. Nikki the project officer I work with the most has helped me out a lot. She talks a lot of time out of her busy schedule to assist me in any way, even if it’s a simple question.
My name is Sherish and I am a water concentration student with an interest in ecotourism. I decided to do my 7 week internship at the CARIBSAVE partnership headquartered in Barbados. There are other CARIBSAVE locations in other islands such as Jamaica, and the grandfather of them all is located in the UK. This nonprofit organization focuses on climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies to ensure Caribbean communities become more resilient to climate change whilst switching to more sustainable practices. One of the projects I am analyzing is called Climate Change, Coastal Community Enterprises: Adaptation, Resilience and Knowledge (C-ARK). This particular project consists of four major components that are used to aide Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME’s) in four sectors (tourism, crafts, fisheries and agriculture) adapt more sustainable business practices while adapting to the negative impacts of climate change. These sectors were chosen because they are the most susceptible to climate change and are already experiencing and suffering from a financial and livelihood stand point. This is an ongoing project and unfortunately my internship is not long enough to see its completion so I will focus my report on component 1 which is completed and a part of component 3 as component 3 heavily relates to component 1. The complete project is very detailed and I can see why it takes about two years to complete a project. Either way I was very excited to be a part of it and learn all that I can about it, and I am grateful to be selected as an intern as it is slightly competitive here in the island. There are so many projects and activities going on in each component that it would take me a few months to understand everything furthermore analyze the feasibility of it from a sustainable perspective. However my first full week here proved to be very different from what I expected unfortunately. I am highly hopeful that the weeks ahead prove to be different since this is just the ‘ice breaker’. Instead of rambling on I decided to break down my first week in pros and what I learned about myself since starting here.
My own office space (desk, chair ect)
All of the project officers are friendly and the office has a warm and calm atmosphere
They didn’t make me feel like a ‘intern’ I felt like one of them
They are highly interested in my 50 page report and the 20 page proposal I let them read. They are fully committed to answering any questions and providing documents to help me complete the report although there are many restrictions on some of the information I can use.
They explained how to efficiently write a report, a case study and even gave me brilliant ideas for my project that I would have never thought of. They are fully committed to helping me learn how to complete this report as I have never done anything of this magnitude before.
I have set schedule of coming in Monday through Friday 8:30 to 4:30 with an hour lunch break.
The first half of the day flies by fast, especially when ‘clients’ come in with inquires and I get to over hear the conversations.
I love reading the application forms that I have to input in the computer that persons involved in the projects bring in, I get to learn a lot about the average Barbadian and their livelihood.
The documents and reports I have to read provide a excellent roadmap for how I should write my report.
we hold weekly meetings in a conference room about my 50 page report that’s due
I am in my home country Barbados, I can look out the window and see monkeys, palm trees and the beautiful sky.
what I have learned about myself since starting:
Although this is week one I realized that ‘office work’ isn’t really my thing. I need to interact with people more. But in order to get to the people portion you have to do the foundational work such as reading , writing and researching. But I learned that when I am looking for a job I should look for one that has a mix of indoor and outdoor assignments and more community involved. So I am glad this internship helped me learn my likes and dislikes about the ‘office community’
I found it strange yet fascinating that the project officers and managers communicate to each other via Skype ( chatting). This way it doesn’t disrupt them so much as it reduces the noise level of shouting across the room or disrupting them for a long period from doing their work. Somehow i still find my self picking up my laptop and walking over to their desk to ask questions, ill get the hang of the skype thing soon.
I spent most of my first week reading hundreds of pages of documents pertaining to the project I am basing my report on. I am amazed and proud of myself that I was able to sit down and read two or three sixty page documents without falling asleep.
I learned to ask a ‘directed’ open ended question instead of my usually simple closed ended questions. for example, when I am going to ask any of the project officers a question, I need to formulate it first, meaning it needs to be structured and have a strong reasoning for it being asked. I say this because the officers are so inquisitive, they will ask me questions about my question, that would lead me to an entirely different question which I think is cool .