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How collaborative work can serve the most vulnerable populations to achieve zero hunger.

Rime Melake
Rim Melake is a Dual Degree Student at Sciences Po and Bocconi University. In Paris, she studies International Development with concentrations in Agriculture and Global Health - in Milan, she focuses on Economics and Management of Governments and International Organisations. At the end of her M1, she was offered to return to Ethiopia to work as an intern for the World Food Programme Relief and the Refugee team in Addis Ababa.

What was your mission during your internship in Ethiopia for the World Food Programme (WFP) ?

During my stay, I was writing reports, reviewing project proposals from partner organizations, and supporting two field missions. My supervisor encouraged me to work with other units to find creative solutions to improve the situation for beneficiaries. I mentioned my interest and expertise in agriculture and my field experience with female farmers and women’s organizations, which led me to support the Productive Safety Net Program and Livelihoods unit to improve the access to income generating activities for rural women in Ethiopia. The program proposal is currently under review and I am proud to have had an actual impact on programs at the WFP Ethiopia office. 

My supervisor invested much time and effort to introduce me to the work structure and procedures of the organization, allowing me to work independently and approach colleagues to receive recommendations and support.

How did you land that position ?

In late December 2017, I sought advices with Sciences Po Careers because I had concerns about finding an internship. I received support and encouragement from Cyriel Pelletier, Manager for International Careers, to apply for positions within UN organizations. During our meeting, we highlighted the qualifications that I gained from prior internships and work experiences in different African countries and with the German development agency (GIZ).
When the WFP Internship Programme opened, I applied through the online platform and received an invitation for an interview with the Country Office in Ethiopia. A week later, I had a Skype Interview and was offered an internship placement. The on-boarding procedure and the visa request were well organized and I booked my flight tickets to Addis Ababa.

What were the highlights of that experience, both professionally and personally?

From the beginning, the many accents in the office fascinated me.  The WFP office reflects the vibrant atmosphere of the Ethiopian capital, with international residents working for the UN, the EU and the African Union.

My highlight was to work with colleagues from different units and Sub Offices and to join a mission to East Hararghe. I had the unique opportunity to see how WFPs food aid positively influences the lives of the most vulnerable who were forced to flee their homes due to conflicts. Interviewing and listening to beneficiaries helped me to better understand the objectives of the organization and the commitment of the staff members who work under difficult conditions on the field.

"From the beginning, the many accents in the office fascinated me. The WFP office reflects the vibrant atmosphere of the Ethiopian capital, with international residents working for the UN, the EU and the African Union."

Where are you heading to now?

This experience taught me not only how to work under tight deadlines and to navigate through one of the biggest WFP Country Offices in the world, it also demonstrated how much impact collaborative work can have to serve the most vulnerable population and to achieve the goal of zero hunger.
I am grateful to have been able to return to Ethiopia for a second time and to do this with a UN Agency such as WFP. I met incredible dedicated people in the office that work hard every day to ensure that beneficiaries receive their food aid on time.  Moreover, I was grateful to experience a work environment in which women hold many leadership positions, women of colour who support their staff to grow and interns to expand their knowledge.

I am moving to Milan soon to continue with my M2 at the Bocconi University. I will write my master thesis and maybe I will return to Ethiopia for my field research …

"I was grateful to experience a work environment in which women hold many leadership positions, women of colour who support their staff to grow and interns to expand their knowledge."

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Mise à jour 07/11/2018
02.09.2021
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