What IRC interns said about their internships
"It has been a great time for me in IRC, a unique opportunity to learn and share with an amazing group of people and more important, an opportunity to find "the missing link" in my professional training! I have learned to think out of the box of my engineering background and to discover other important elements and inspiration to keep my track on this beautiful and challenging world of water and sanitation."
Angela Salinas, Colombia (internship at IRC HQ, The Hague, 2015)
"Besides having uncovered important dynamics between sanitation, human rights, and gender in Burkina Faso, I am particularly proud of the professional skills I acquired in carrying out research in a context where documents and information are not always readily available. Thanks to IRC's professional network in Burkina Faso, as well as its presence at the local level, I was able to complement my desk research with interviews with professionals working in relevant fields. At the same time, IRC facilitated me with local contacts in the country's rural areas, which was crucial for the gathering of testimonies of women living in rural areas. This experience allowed me to gain thorough insight on the reality lived by those without access to sanitation facilities or services, which not only served as the backbone to my research, but which moreover has served as a true eye opener for me within the field of human rights. Looking back at my 6-month internship at IRC, I realise the invaluable step this experience has been for both my personal and professional development, and a stepping stone to career growth that I had not wanted to miss out on!"
Celeste Flores, The Netherlands (Internship at IRC Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou, 2015)
"One of the best aspects of joining IRC was immediately feeling part of the team, and that I was given responsibilities early. My supervisor did an outstanding job giving feedback that was helpful both in the internship as well as for my future career. I was continually challenged to test my limits and expand my skill set, and got an exceptional opportunity to see the inner workings of an NGO and the development community. All considered, interning at IRC has been a great learning experience, helping me identify my strong and weak spots and how to improve on them, as well as giving me valuable insights into the WASH sector."
Idun Rognerud, Norway (Internship at IRC HQ, The Hague, 2015)
"During my three months of working there, my advisors and other colleagues have been nothing but kind and helpful to me, which made the whole experience very enjoyable. Being and working at the organization, chatting with colleagues and attending events at work have given me exactly what I wanted: a inside look of the NGO world. Hearing about the stories of people working in tough areas, real challenges the WASH sector is facing and the travel & work style people have made me really understand what it is like to work for a NGO and potential opportunities in the field."
Vigil Yangjinqi Yu, China (Internship at IRC HQ, The Hague, 2015)
The specific research project that I worked on was the Community Water Plus Project, that examined what types of support by NGOs to the villages is most effective regarding their water supply. The field work consisted of data collection in various rural mountain villages, and we collected data from over one hundred households [read Kim's blog about her field work]. I do not believe there is any other way to get to know this type of work without actually being part of it. Travelling to a foreign country on your own for a long period of time, meeting new people and colleagues and the fact that your successes or failures have an impact that goes beyond yourself are not things that one can learn from books. My internship with IRC was exactly what I was looking for and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is considering it.
Kim van Winkel, The Netherlands, (Internship with IRC India programme, New Delhi, 2015)
"It was a great time for me the time spent working with IRC's Asia team on the topic of Systemic Change in Urban Sanitation. Mentors gave me the opportunity to bring my vision within the topic while, at the same time, giving valuable insights grounded on their own professional experience. Thanks to mentors and the wider IRC's team familiar ways I felt totally part of the organization even if for three months only".
Eleonora Bonacci, Italy (Internship based in Italy for IRC HQ, The Hague, 2016)
"This internship was a fantastic experience and a great introduction to the development sector. IRC is made up of such friendly and welcoming people, everyone was very interested and ready to discuss ideas, work and insights into the industry. I worked with the sanitation team to create a rapid assessment tool for faecal sludge management. The mentors were very willing to explain and help me, as well as being receptive to my ideas and was given responsibility on a project of real importance for the company."
Georgina Sandford, UK (Internship at IRC HQ, 2016)
"This was an amazing experience. It is by far the most productive internship that I have ever had. From the beginning, we managed to overcome formidable challenges, like working from a distance and in a different time zone, together. I always felt like this was a collaborative effort and that my opinions were always respected and considered by my mentor. I regret not being able to perform the work in person at the IRC office in the Hague; however, I think my telecommuting helped me to learn invaluable communication and management skills for my future career. In the end, I had a tangible product that I could hand over to IRC and show potential employers. Another aspect of the internship that I learned a great deal from was my inclusion in the communication and collaboration of different IRC departments. This was especially nice because it introduced me to different IRC staff and helped me to see how the larger organization functioned."
Liz Kendall, USA (Internship based in the US for IRC HQ, The Hague, 2016)
"During my internship at IRC I've learned a lot from the organisation's commitment to the sustainability of WASH projects and I've enjoyed working with experienced professionals that appreciate the added value of working with younger experts. This enriching experience has helped me define my career and I would encourage all recent graduates to apply for an internship at IRC."
Laura Gonzalez Lleal, Spain (Internship at IRC HQ, The Hague, 2016)
"My experience at IRC WASH has been an enriching one. I had the opportunity to work on a cost effectiveness analysis of a hygiene promotion intervention that is taking place in Bhutan. I was able to apply the skills that I have learnt during my Master of Public Health studies at École des hautes études en santé publique (EHESP) and learn more about how IRC works in the WASH sector".
Danny Joyce, UK (Internship at IRC HQ, The Hague, 2016)
"The internship at IRC was one of the most valuable off-campus activities that I could experience prior to graduation. It offered me the opportunity to gain hands-on and real-life work experience in the WASH sector. During my internship I supported the sanitation team in developing an urban sanitation assessment tool. What I liked most about the assignment was the collaborative nature of the work. Although I was continuously challenged I always had the feeling that I was contributing to work that matters. It was a pleasure to meet and work alongside compassionate and passionate people who want to make this world a better place."
Laura Schneegans, Germany (Internship at IRC HQ, The Hague, 2016)
"Being the first communications intern at IRC was a very exciting experience. With a background in communications (BA Information and Communication Science and MA Intercultural Communication), the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector was new to me. In the first few weeks I quickly managed to learn a lot about this sector and IRC's contribution to it - thanks to the help and open attitude of my colleagues. I had very diverse tasks, which gave me the opportunity to learn many new skills and improve my existing skills – such as writing for the website. Also, it gave me great pleasure to run my own projects, for example the production of a pilot podcast series and setting up a TEDxTalk for our CEO. Our CEO? Yes, I am very pleased I am not leaving IRC after these three months. I will continue working at the communications department as a freelance writer and communications specialist."
Femke van der Meijs, The Netherlands (Internship at IRC HQ, The Hague, 2016)
"As an intern at the IRC International Programme I had not only the opportunity to enrich my research and communication skills regarding water finance but also the possibility to gain new insights into working for an international organisation in the WASH sector. Working remotely and receiving weekly valuable feedback from my mentor was also an asset as it gave me the needed flexibility to learn and contribute to the organisation while working independently. Having the opportunity to travel to The Hague for the Amsterdam International Water Week was also an outstanding opportunity to foster my understanding about the sector, expand my network, and the most important, work closer to an exceptionally passionate team which has more than doubled my interest and commitment with the sector."
Florencia Rieiro, Argentina (Internship based in the UK for IRC HQ,2017)
"As a recent graduate in international development studies with special interest on WASH, my internship with the Strategic Partnerships team at IRC was a great first professional experience in the WASH sector. Through a variety of substantive tasks, I learned a lot not only pertaining to strategic partnerships but also pertaining to operations in the sector. I particularly enjoyed making clear links between what I learned in the classroom and what happens in the "real world", as well as developing a newfound passion in the subject of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs)."
Augaly Kiedi, the Netherlands (Internship at IRC HQ, The Hague, 2018)
“My time with IRC’s Strategic Partnerships department was very rewarding, especially since I joined at an exciting time and had the opportunity to be involved in the WASH Systems Symposium. I also supported the development of Expressions of Interests and project proposals, which I learned a lot from. Throughout my three months, I met and worked with amazing people who are passionate about what they do, gained insight into how NGOs operate, and built on my knowledge of the WASH sector.”
Gheed Jabbar (SP Intern January-April 2019)
“I have thoroughly enjoyed and learnt loads during my 4-month internship not only about water, hygiene and sanitation but also skills for going into the development sector! I was part of the business plan development for the WASH Systems Academy. My internship was completely virtual but, it always felt that we were in an office environment and I was really part of the team.”
Amall Saleh, UK (virtual internship for IRC HQ, Oct 2020 – Feb 2021)
"In October 2020 I found a (virtual) open door at IRC for doing an internship for the WASH Systems Academy. The vibrant and diverse colleagues made this such an experience, even during these “new normal” times! The lessons learned: new knowledge, hands-on experience, and a boost of my network."
Ana Leal, Mexico (virtual internship for IRC HQ, Oct 2020 – Feb 2021)