Our Wonderful Intern the Last 8 Months
Interning at Global Seed Savers (GSS) has been an incredible,
eye-opening experience. I feel very lucky to have been immersed in the workings of a small but mighty international non-profit. I chose this organization because I felt it aligned with my interests in the intersection of human and environmental health, as well as sustainable development. What I didn't know is just how much I would learn from the guidance and support of all the people involved.
The first month or so of my internship was relatively chaotic. Global Seed Savers has its largest event in October, so it was all-hands on deck in preparation for the upcoming event. I actually really love those types of working environments that rely on teamwork and cooperation - everyone working toward the same goal and investing in collective tasks to make it happen. It reminds me of being on staff at a small summer camp where as a counselor, you still helped with camp clean-up and maintenance. I think it's really special to have the opportunity to see all sides of operations because they are all important!
One of the highlights of this internship was the opportunity to meet Karen our Philippines Country Director. I am
very fortunate that she was visiting Denver to speak at the Nourish Event and that I got to learn about Global Seed Savers from someone who is active in the field. That was something that was
important to me as I thought about the implications of working with an international nonprofit. I was hopeful that I would get to interact with the leaders and farmers that we get to work with, so meeting Karen early on in my internship helped it get off to a great start! She has been very kind, helpful, and supportive.
At some point pretty early on, I mentioned to Sherry that I was interested in learning more about program monitoring and evaluation (M&E). I honestly don't remember how that came up, but it ended up being a major highlight of my internship! Sherry really went above and beyond to ensure that I got the experience I wanted, and I got to invest my interests in something that would also benefit GSS. I had an incredible opportunity to meet and learn from Julie, an M&E expert also based at the Posner Center. She provided an abundance of educational materials and expertise that was relative to our M&E goals. And, we simply had fun working on the tool development!
Overall, one of the big takeaways for me was beginning to think about the "so what" of the work GSS does. I've thought a lot about how to effectively communicate how seed saving, food sovereignty, and climate resilience are important not only in the Philippines, but also across the globe and for us here in the U.S. This comes from effective M&E, asking good questions, and having established relationships, and this is modeled well at GSS. GSS has shown me first-hand what community-based solutions look like, and I am excited to take what I've learned moving forward!