As most of you know, I’ll be in Bangladesh for 6 months working with TARANGO through the IYIP Program. But I’m sure you have some questions…
- What is the IYIP Program?
- Who is TARANAGO?
- What will I be doing exactly?
- How does Humber fit in?
This blog aims to answer some of those questions. However, if you have more questions or something isn’t clear, please feel free to give me a shout so I can clarify and expand on my ideas! 🙂
The International Youth Internship Program Program (IYIP) is run by the Canadian Government. Specifically, it is administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development (DFATD – formerly CIDA). The goal of the program is to give young graduates (you must be under 30 and have a post-secondary degree) some international work experience. The program involves training in Canada (for a week or two), followed by 6-months working with a partner organization (usually a local or international NGO) in another country, followed by re-entry into Canada.
DFATD is in charge of the IYIP program. They solicit applications from Canadian organizations who want to be involved in the program. 1. Each year, DFTAD selects a certain number of Canadian organizations to send a certain number of interns. 2. Each organization puts out a call for applications, performs interviews, and selects candidates for each available spot. 3. All of the interns for a specific Canadian organization (who are going to work with different NGOs in different countries, and with different roles) get together for training before leaving for 6 months of work with their partner NGO in another country. (diagram created by me – for a higher resolution version click here)
DFATD provides the funding but they don’t do any of the actual training or recruiting. Instead, they give funding to a number of organizations across Canada, such as World Vision, the Canadian Bar Association, the Atlantic Council for International Cooperation, and Humber College (who I am working with). These Canadian organizations are responsible for choosing local partner organizations, recruiting interns, training interns before leaving, booking flights, dealing with issues while in-country, and ensuring a smooth re-entry process. Since Humber International Development Institute is based in Toronto, that is where I did my training in August before leaving for Bangladesh. This year, Humber hired 20 interns, who will work for about 6 organizations in 8 different countries.
Step 4. In September, I left for Bangladesh, where I’ll be working with TARANGO. The head office is in Dhaka, where I’ll be based. TARANGO works in 9 districts across the country (map and people not to scale). Most of their projects focus on empowering women. During my time here, I must also complete online assignments for Humber, and stay in regular communication. Humber is accountable to DFTAD, and must submit regular reporting about finances and the progress of the internships. (diagram created by me – for a higher resolution version click here)
In Bangladesh I’ll be working with a local organization called TARANGO. They work with women in marginalized communities to promote income generating activities such as the creation of handicrafts. These products are sold domestically and internationally. They offer a number of development program in various districts across the country. The projects cover a wide range of activities, including job training, savings programs, a shelter for abused women, healthcare services, and help for child labourers. The primary program I’ll be working on is the handicrafts program.
“TARANGO is a secular non-government organization, which works towards establishing a just and poverty-free society by organizing and training disadvantaged women in Bangladesh.”
My role with them is “Market Development Officer”. I hope that the position involves a combination of useful office work and informative meetings with community members (including field visits). Basically my job is to improve the market for the handicrafts program by improving TARANGO’s communications. To start, I am working to develop a communications strategy for the organization. I am also planning to majorly revamp the website, to help with brochures for their programs, and to create case studies of the various programs. I’m working out of the main office in Dhaka (the capital), but I’m hoping I’ll be able to go on field trips to see the other projects also. The nice thing is, some of the ladies who do the sewing and weaving for the handicrafts program are in the same office, so I’m able to see them working first hand and visit as often as I’d like. 🙂
I’m sure a lot of things will change and adjust during the time I’m here. My role will probably change along with my expectations, based on what the organization needs and the skills I bring to the table. It’s already been 1 month, and I can’t wait to see what the next 5 months have in store!