2015 PFIG Recipient Bernice Tay
Journal Entry #1
IJM is a global organization that aims to protect the poor from violence through legal system reform. IJM’s work matters because violence undermines all other forms of human development and flourishing; the poor often cannot support themselves economically or act freely if their lives or property are constantly vulnerable to danger. The organization rescues victims from their perpetrators, supports survivors in the restoration process, and builds the capacity of local law enforcement to arrest and prosecute criminals in a just manner. IJM has field offices in almost 20 communities across Africa, Latin America, South and Southeast Asia. This summer, I am interning with the Program Design & Evaluation (PD&E) unit of IJM’s headquarters located in Washington, D.C.
My internship started off with a full week of orientation. Each day was filled with sessions equipping interns and new staff members with a deeper understanding of IJM’s history, values and operational strategies. It was an incredibly informative time as senior staff members from each division personally spoke about their work and experiences. We even had a casework exercise that allowed us to experience hands-on the daily challenges and realities experienced by field office staff. Orientation enabled me to feel much more prepared to answer questions from others about IJM. More significantly, I came to appreciate the vital role that every single department and task, no matter how minute or hidden, plays in enabling IJM to successfully carry out the work.
That being said, IJM’s PD&E work excites me the most. As a PD&E intern, I have the opportunity to tap on both of my majors – Global Development Studies and Statistics. The PD&E unit works to measure the impact of IJM’s work, which is crucial for ensuring that the organization is meeting its goals and objectives, as well as truly addressing the needs of its clients. It also provides useful information that can guide improvements or reforms in future program design and organizational strategy. This week I met with my supervisor, Julie, to go over my projects for the summer. These include writing a literature review on the prevalence of bonded labor in South Asia, making recommendations on conducting feedback surveys from IJM’s clients in an ethical manner, and developing a tool for field offices to track program progress and measure impact. I am excited about being challenged by my projects, and applying the knowledge I have gained from my college classes to tasks that will meaningfully contribute towards IJM’s mission.
I also hope to learn from and be inspired by the many individuals I will meet at IJM this summer, and I am especially grateful for how IJM’s internship program is designed to facilitate learning and growth. Each intern is assigned a mentor who provides professional guidance and support throughout the summer. My mentor, Terence, has been working for IJM for 8 years now and is currently the Director of the PD&E unit. I am looking forward to hearing his thoughts and advice on excelling in International Development and leveraging my internship experience for future professional endeavors. Throughout the internship, my intern class will also be attending a series of brown bag lunches with IJM’s senior vice-presidents, allowing us to ask questions in an intimate setting. The Intern and Fellows team also especially encouraged my intern class to get to know each other well – there are 24 of us across IJM’s various departments, which makes for a diverse and fun group with whom to explore the city. IJM is truly invested in helping us interns get the most out of the summer, and I can’t wait to see how the next couple of weeks will go!