I spent the last two weeks of my internship incorporating comments into my documents and writing my final case study/appreciative inquiry (AI) report. The AI was extremely fulfilling to write because it felt like I was going full (small) circle with my internship tasks. It started by studying the existing monitoring tools, editing the tools and creating a shorter version, testing the tools on the field and finally creating a usable version. Overall, the original preschool monitoring tool contained 109 indicators, some repetitive, some unnecessary and some difficult to capture on a daily basis. After many rounds of edits, we were able to reduce this to 19 key indicators.
The field visit also helped us capture innovation solutions to problems on the field. These have now been added to the best practices section. This includes stories such as – the Primary School Director who requested for funds from the hamlet budget to construct a preschool. The hamlet chief refused because the school would be attended by children from many hamlets and he wanted all those hamlets to contribute too. The situation was becoming too messy so the Director wrote a proposal to MoE officials and convinced them to build the school. The construction of the preschool is now included in MoE’s next budget. Simpler solutions such as preschool facilitators using sandbox for students to write alphabets, as an alternative to using paper or using available materials like leaves, bottle caps and tais (locally produced material) for artwork have also been included. These solutions are relevant to other preschools and will be included in the next round of training too.
I was also able to write a human interest story which has been uploaded on UNICEF’s blog page. You can read it here.
In my last week, my supervisor informed me of a debriefing session with the Dep Rep on the last day of the internship. Needless to say, I spent all my free time that week panicking about the debriefing session. Hence, I spent a lot of time reflecting on how things went. Overall, I am very grateful for all my experiences in Timor-Leste. What I appreciate the most is the feedback I received on all my work. My colleagues demonstrated oversight and attention to detail at the same time, which really impressed me. For instance, a colleague once sat me down and explained the difference between the words integrated and combined, and explained how the government officials understood the words very differently. Another time a colleague explained the implications of writing gained independence in 2002 versus independence was restored in 2002. Overall, there were many aha moments and lots of learning and unlearning (especially w.r.t. development jargons).
And through a bunch of serendipitous acts I ended up applying and accepting an MnE position in an AusAid project in Timor. So if anyone is passing by or planning a vacation in Timor-Leste, I’ll be here creating log frames 🙂