I recently completed a virtual internship with the IBVM/CJ NGO Office associated with the United Nations (UN) from August to December 2022. I found out about the office and its work from the wider Mary Ward network, having worked in a Mary Ward school, St. Mary School Ascot, in the United Kingdom between 2021 and 2022.
During my five months working alongside Janet Palafox IBVM, Cynthia Mathew CJ and the other interns, I attended a host of meetings and webinars. I attended regular meetings of UN NGO committees and working groups that we were part of, as well as joining a Working Group on Girls (WGG) planning committee for a hybrid virtual and in-person event for the International Day of the Girl.
Despite not being able to travel to New York this time, I still found the internship to be a fascinating, immersive and extremely rewarding experience. I gained more experience in social media design and scheduling, receive training in video editing. I also undertook a research and survey of our students and network which was then used for our Written Statement that we, in collaboration with other NGOs, submitted to the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).
One of the most rewarding projects during my time as an intern was helping to plan and host the International Day of the Girl Summit ‘Girls Speak Out!’ in October. The hybrid (virtual and in-person) format of this event allowed a huge audience to visit the ECOSOC chamber at the UN Headquarters in New York in person and others to join online from around the world. The event gave a platform to an inspiring and impressive group of Girl Advocates from all corners of the globe. It was humbling for me and the other attendees to hear their stories and the details of the efforts they make every day to better the lives of women and girls in their communities and beyond.
Going forward I will take with me a newfound knowledge of the everyday workings of the UN and its component parts, and an appreciation of the valuable work being done by devoted people who give their time and energies to try and make the world a better place. I hope in the future I can work once again alongside the IBVM/CJ UNNGO or another UN body. I will always be grateful for the way in which my time as an intern here has broadened my awareness of key global and humanitarian issues and the ways in which we can all contribute to addressing them. I would recommend the opportunity to intern with the IBVM/CJ UNNGO, either remotely or in-person, to anyone with an interest in advocacy work, human rights issues, and NGO work more broadly.
Author: Francesca Povey