Deborah Mowesley’s Internship Reflection Piece

Excited to have completed my first month as the Communications Intern at CIVICUS under the Innovation for Change Cluster. I have always been passionate about civic space as a fundamental component of democratic societies getting to be part of CIVICUS has been amazing.

These have been the best parts thus far:

1. Understanding the importance of I4C and Innovation I have come to appreciate the crucial role of innovation in driving progress and addressing societal challenges. By constantly generating new ideas and processes, innovation enables us to find creative solutions to problems, improve efficiency and effectiveness, and ultimately bring about positive change. Fostering a culture of innovation is vital for creating a more sustainable future for civil society. Initially, I perceived innovation as a daunting and technical process, reserved only for experts possessing specialized knowledge. However, joining the team at I4C, I discovered that innovation is primarily focused on human-centered solutions that rely on the contributions of individuals from diverse backgrounds, including those without traditional expertise. Innovators are typically comprised of individuals with a wide range of skills and experiences who collaborate to generate novel ideas and problem-solving strategies, while also leveraging each other's knowledge and skills.

2. Seeing a co-design session in progress. Observing a co-design session in progress was a fascinating experience. Seeing the process for the first time, I was quickly drawn in by the collaborative approach that engaged all stakeholders and addressed their needs. Through this process, I saw how the co-design approach identifies challenges and opportunities, generates new solutions, promotes knowledge exchange, and ultimately leads to more informed and impactful decision-making. I am now a firm believer in the power of co-design to bring about positive change. What I would now love to see is the adoption, scale and spread of the solutions after an innovation has been designed.

3. Meeting my team. I have had the opportunity to work on multiple projects and collaborate with experienced colleagues. Working with them has helped me develop a better understanding of civic spaces and fundamental freedoms of assembly, association and expression in the world. It has been an honor to be included within such an inspiring, dynamic group of women dedicated to embracing meaningful and impactful change in civic spaces. Recognizing their effort and their success thus far has inspired me to reach even higher to accomplish my goals. I now have a better understanding of the industry and a clearer vision of my future goals. The digital work environment presents unique challenges, such as load shedding, unstable internet connectivity, and personal disruptions. Despite these obstacles, it is encouraging to observe the adaptability, empathy, and perseverance exhibited by colleagues in this context. It’s great to see that even with interruptions we are able to navigate and overcome these challenges, while still achieving their desired outcomes.

4. The organisational culture at CIVICUS. Since joining CIVICUS, I have encountered a supportive and accommodating team of colleagues who have been instrumental in easing my transition into the organization. The various team inductions I underwent were instrumental in clarifying the team roles and responsibilities and providing me with a better understanding of their functions. I also appreciate how the internship program at CIVICUS tailors its focus to meet the specific skills development needs of the interns, and links them up with relevant individuals to achieve their objectives. Finally, an aspect of the organisation that I particularly enjoy is the integration of a chatbot, which helps with deciphering acronyms and overcoming any initial confusion in the new environment. How cool is that? This serves as a positive example of how technology can enhance the onboarding experience for new employees.

I feel extremely fortunate to work with a team of talented and supportive coworkers and supervisors. Working in a fast-paced, digital and dynamic environment could sometimes be challenging however with passion, dedication and resilience it is very rewarding as it provides an opportunity to make a positive impact on society and make a difference in people's lives. I plan to continue developing my skills and expanding my knowledge in the field and I am confident that the experiences and relationships I gain during my internship will serve me well in the future. Excited for what the next two months have in store and hoping to be a true asset to my team!




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South Africa,
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CIVICUS, c/o We Work
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New York
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United States

11 Avenue de la Paix
Tel: +41.79.910.34.28