Since I am a medical student and had do internship, I never really thought much about it.
About two years ago when I decided I will take my NGO more seriously, we are into community for self employment, I realized I could not handle it alone and I needed help.
Around that time Nandini Sahai from International Centre Goa suggested I take on an intern.
For the life of me I could not understand what an intern would do in an NGO. I asked a friend’s daughter what do you do in an internship why would you want one. She gave me an interesting reply
“Maasi, it develops intentional learning objective. The program is structured inot an experience, we are supervised by a professional who has done it hands on,. It actually allows me to grow personally and professionally.”
Made sense I mean balancing the kids learning goals with my own organizations need. Since we had about two to three projects going on, we decided to allow the kids choose depending on their learning objective. The kids also received academic credit for it.
Since I my NGO was in offbeat area this entire internship program gave me an opportunity to select and develop talent. It gave me an opportunity to evaluate and screen potential employees. The kids came with their creative and innovative ideas from my side I let them experiment the only thing I gave them was the goal they had to achieve.
It gave me an idea of how I should operate when I had employees.
Then came the great hurdle where do I source the right intern? I decided to work with the undergraduates as they needed a place to intern too, and they could actually utilize their classroom lessons hands on. The paper work required was minimum, I just shared at their college what was my NGO about and what are ongoing projects and what were we looking for.
We also offered them an option to trying a pilot camp for their own concept.
The duration was for that particular program.
It was challenge for me to figure how the intern works, at one point the kids told me madam we are here to do the work, so it’s okay if we do it. we created this module, where we put the project on paper the student took on the responsibility and made it deliverable on a time line.
I came up with a check list for myself.
- The onset and finish of the internship.
- What would be the remuneration…. one project had and another didn’t.
- The number of hours I expected from them, which I didn’t specify but I had a timeline for the project.
- We had weekly meetings where I would assess the work goals met until the date. There were times when the interns taking on the responsibilities of a project manager would delegate work to me and I was fine with it.
Eventually six students interned with me, and I learnt a lot from them. It also gave me an insight to the thinking of the younger generation, and their strengths and short comings as a generation.
As I was preparing to take on interns I found an interesting read about interns and internship by Sweitzer,H.F. AND King M.A. (1999) through a successful internation, transformation and empowerment occurs, this process seem to occur in a predictable order and each stage comes with its own challenges and opportunities. There concerns that the intern will face at each stage, and to some extent those concerns must be resolved for them to move forward and continue learning and growing, to an extent resolving those concerns are part of the learning experience and growing.
Internship is a monitored meaningful learning experience in which an individual has intentional professional goals and reflects activity on what he or she is accomplishing throughout the experience. It is a great place to discover future colleagues and leaders.
pictures courtesy Rta Sadhanalaya, clicked by individual intern in charge.