INTERNSHIP STORY: KATONGO CHILESHE

I started my internship at the Levy Mwanawasa Regional Centre (LMRC), through a fellowship by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender, called ‘Women at Work’. When I reported for work at the Levy Mwanawasa International Conference Centre on 15th December 2016, I knew within the first few minutes that it would be a life changing experience for me, not just because of the apparently beautiful environment, friendly faces and the reputation of the Centre, but because of the sense of seriousness and the passion for work that everyone seemed to have. Through the one year I was there, my initial assumptions were confirmed.

My first assignment was to read different Gender Monitoring Frameworks that had been done across the globe and within Africa and give my perceptions of areas of improvement. Having been a passionate scholar of gender from my undergraduate studies, this was an assignment I found very exciting. I participated in many other assignments, but my favourite was contributing to the design of the ICGLR Gender Monitoring Framework, as this gave me an opportunity to learn from my bosses and colleagues who had far greater experience than I did.

Apart from growing my capacities in my field, the Centre was also a stepping stone for many achievements I have made since. Firstly, I was privileged to have been recommended for a Training of Trainers Course in Sexual and Gender Based Violence at the International Peace Supports Training Centre (IPSTC) in Kenya. This broadened my scope in Sexual Violence and allowed me to later design courses in Sexual Violence. In August 2017, I was selected to represent Zambia and the East and Southern Africa United Nations consultation meeting on youth, peace, and security, based on my experiences at LMRC, among other things. In addition, I applied for and won the highly contested 2018 Rhodes Scholarship for Zambia, to the University of Oxford, where I am currently perusing an MSc in Evidence Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation. The knowledge I had gained was very instrumental in allowing me to make a relevant case for my applications. The lessons I learned still shape my passions and aspirations to date.