By: Mike Pulford (written in December 2020)
The last few weeks before the holidays have been hectic for my UNFPA office in Mozambique. Because the end of the year is coming up, there are a lot of things that have to be tied up in terms of annual reports and work plans for next year. While this time has been very busy for me (especially working with a large time difference), I have been really happy with the work I’m getting to do.
As one of the lead researchers for the resource mobilization strategy, my reports have helped inform office timelines concerning when to engage in advocacy and when to appeal to different donors for funding. Researching donor priorities and available funding sources has been very interesting. The more work I do, the more I feel I am getting a big picture look at not just the humanitarian/development situation as they relate to UNFPA in Mozambique, but also the global funding flows in general. I’ve found this to be really cool, as I’m getting real-life exposure to the things I studied during my undergrad and at BSIA.
On top of the rush to complete work by the end of 2020, the office has been working hard to prepare for the Regional Director visit to the northern province of Cabo Delgado. Cabo Delgado has been hit hard by multiple natural disasters in the past two years, including drought, floods and two cyclones. As such, this is where most of UNFPA Mozambique’s work has been focused since I started in September. Prepping for the RD visit has been a really valuable experience, as my work has been very similar to the type of work I imagine myself doing in the future, and work that I spent semesters preparing to do at BSIA. Supporting our office representative by creating briefing notes and short fact sheets on different facets of the work UNFPA is doing to prep her for upcoming meetings with the Regional Director has been exactly the sort of work I envisioned doing. Because of this, I have been happy to gain further experience developing briefing notes and short information packets, and I find I’m learning a lot of new skills thanks to the placement.
While this work has been really exciting to be a part of – and I’m glad I’m getting the opportunity to work on important materials for the office – this has also led to some challenges because of the time zone differences. As the work I’m doing becomes more substantial, the more necessary it has been for me to attend meetings that are not necessarily scheduled with my time zone in mind. Because of this, I’ve had a couple early starts to accommodate earlier meeting times in Mozambique. While sometimes a challenge, I consider this a positive as I feel I am becoming a more integrated member of the UNFPA team.
As the holidays approach, I imagine things will begin to slow down after the RD visit. As much as I’ve enjoyed my work over the past months, I’m looking forward to taking a few days off to decompress and recharge for the new year, at which point the whole process starts anew. Since my internship term ends in March of next year, I’m looking forward to a strong finish over the last 2 months of my internship, and hopefully leave having been a valuable contributor to UNFPA Mozambique’s work in 2021.