Marco Pereira from Portugal, one of the summer interns, will be based in Bhopal for his two-month internship
By Jyoti Rao
New Delhi, 28 May 2008: The air in the Banquet Hall of The Ashok was crackling with youthful energy and anticipation, as 79 graduate interns were welcomed on the first day of the orientation workshop of the fourth UNICEF Summer Internship Programme in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Assembled from different parts of the world and India, the interns are in Delhi to attend a three-day orientation workshop from 28 - 30 May and will get to hear high-level government officials, policy experts and resource persons speak on the development scenario in India and on the case studies to be undertaken them.
For Marco Pereira, 32, from Portugal, this is his second visit to India. Ten years ago, he made his first trip as a backpacking tourist spending nearly two months touring northern India.
Marco has worked as a freelance journalist reporting on business and economic matters. He graduated in M.Sc. Development Studies in December 2007 and aims to transition to a career in development. "I want to make most of this opportunity" he said. "India is the ultimate laboratory".
Katha Kartiki, 24, has completed her Masters in English Literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. She will start another Masters Degree in Development Studies from Sussex University later this year.
Hailing from Uttar Pradesh, Katha is in a group of 5 interns who will be assessing the impact of the Government's Total Sanitation Programme on reducing the incidence of manual scavenging in the district of Moradabad.
Katha has definite expectations from her internship. "I know how deeply entrenched caste consciousness is in UP. People may give up their 'undesirable' occupations, but that doesn't mean they will get accepted in society. So my expectation from our case study is to find out if former scavengers have indeed been integrated in society and whether there is any exclusion after their rehabilitation, and if so, what can be done about it".
This year, the internship programme has selected 84 students representing 18 nationalities drawn from universities and institutions from 13 countries. Of the total, 44 are international and 40 are Indian students.
After the 3-day orientation, the interns will disperse in groups of 4-5 and head off to 14 states across India.
They will spend the next two months based in partner research institutions and conduct case studies on UNICEF supported interventions across sectors, with a focus on addressing social inclusion.
All the groups will return to Delhi in early August to debrief and present their case studies in a closing workshop on the 4th and 5th of August.
UNICEF's summer internship programme began in 2005 under the aegis of the Knowledge Community on Children in India (KCCI), an initiative aimed at fostering the exchange of information and learning on policies and programmes related to children in India.
Over the three years since its inception, the KCCI Internship Programme has hosted 262 interns from 22 countries who have produced 70 case studies.
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