by: Elly Reserva ’19

Last August, I was at the UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office in Dakar, Senegal where I worked as an intern for the Child Survival and Development (CSD) Unit. This internship came as an extension and continuation of my work at the UNICEF Headquarters Office last Spring Semester. This opportunity was made possible thanks through the GSAS Summer Research Fellowship.

At the Child Survival and Development Unit of UNICEF West and Central Africa Office

At the regional office, I was mainly tasked to conduct methodical data analysis and create data visualizations, reporting to effective monitoring and analysis of projects for the 24 countries in West and Central Africa. The nature of my work provided direct support of the situational analysis and updates within the area of CSD.

My timing was also perfect since the regional office was busy preparing for various meetings, such as a partnership and strategy meeting with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the 68th Session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa. Through these, not only did I get to attend some of the sessions, but I was also able to contribute through preparing briefing notes and talking points for some of the meetings.

Presented my work and provided a brief training as part of the documentation and knowledge management process

I was also lucky that my summer internship came after my language immersion in France because it prepared me as I worked and traveled around the city. Senegal, together with most of the countries in the region, are Francophone. Being in Dakar allowed me to use and explore the health and business jargons in French and it helped solidify the language skills I acquired during my language immersion.

With the CSD Unit composed of the Nutrition, Immunization, and Health Systems Strengthening Teams

Overall, it has been a cohesive and productive summer. All these experiences helped strengthen my skills as an aspiring professional in the International Development Sector.