So far my internship focused a great deal on Program Implementation. When I started interning, GEF SGP had recently approved a few grantees. It was my responsibility to ensure the grantees conformed with project deadlines, expected results and work plans. In addition, I had to follow up with ongoing community projects and grantees. Part of my duties involved assisting the National Coordinator in monitoring and implementing the projects, with occasional field trips to communities all over the country. Furthermore, I had to update the SGP’s project database, a National database, for ongoing and expired projects regarding project characteristics, focal areas, co-financings, and project results. I had to timely update the Project tracker to see where the projects stood and assist grantees with hindrances to ensure compliance with the project timeline.
My Financial Management responsibilities included preparing payment requests for the agency’s expenditures. I also had to maintain the grant disbursement table to ensure the grantees timely received their grants.
Lastly, like most interns, I had administrative functions to perform, such as maintaining files and organizing documents.
The field trips were my favorite!
Challenges faced: What posed to be the greatest challenge was managing the community member’s personal interests vs. community interests. In addition, getting a good turnout for meetings with the communities was difficult. What is the scope of the sustainability of the project in such communities?
Lessons learnt: I have learnt that it is important to adapt your thinking and working styles while working with different communities. From a general standpoint, community participation increases if they believe you want to help them. There is a greater likelihood of project sustainability with wider capacity building and community understanding of the importance of environmental and resource management in sustaining their livelihood.