By Michael Pulford

My second month with UNFPA Mozambique has been a busy one. The office as a whole has a lot of overarching projects that need to be completed by the end of the year so I’ve found myself working on a multitude of projects over the past weeks. As this work has progressed I’ve found I’ve been using skills I developed during my time at BSIA more and more.

In the last month I have had the chance to write policy briefs and country analyses in the areas of demographics and population dynamics. This has been super interesting, as these are areas of interest for me going as far back as my undergrad. This has been a pleasure as I feel I’m working as a useful contributor to the work my office is doing. It’s also been a great opportunity to get deeper insight into the conditions within Mozambique. This is something I’ve found I have had to work hard to get up to speed with. Not being able to physically be in the country and work in person with people working in the field, I’ve done a lot of reading and research to get myself up to date on the conditions in Mozambique. Doing work in country analysis has given me an opportunity to learn more deeply about the history of Mozambique, as well as the different issues contributing to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the North of the country.

Another piece of work that has really interested me is completing due diligence reports regarding UNFPA partnerships. Because of some early work I did on resource mobilization and potential options for funding, I was asked to look into a company that UNFPA is considering for a private partnership. UNFPA needs this partnership to facilitate the provision of supplies to groups of internally displaced people in the Northern provinces. A due diligence report is essentially researching the history of ethical or unethical practices of a potential partner to decide whether the company is an entity the UNFPA would want to partner with, as well as the political implications a partnership might have. This combines investigative research with political analysis; two areas I found I really enjoy. As such, doing this work was very rewarding as it’s not only valuable to the Mozambique office, it was really interesting work to do.

A third of the way through my internship at this point. I have to say I’m very pleased with the type of work I’ve been doing and how rewarding it feels to be a meaningful contributor in areas that I’ve spent the last few years studying. I’m also finding that the breadth of work I’ve been asked to do is helping immensely with understanding which areas of work within the field are areas that would be interesting for me as a career as I move into the professional world post- internship.

Despite the looming winter (which I’ve mentioned before I’m not the biggest fan of), I’m very much looking forward to the next four months and the work I’ll be doing over that time. I feel that the experience I’m getting is truly invaluable and I’m hoping the work can help the winter fly by!

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    Dr. Howard is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Waterloo. He researches and teaches in the areas of…