I am struggling to believe that my journey as an M&E intern at Cloneshouse is coming to an end. These past few months have been nothing short of personally and professionally transformative. I remembered how I took a deep breath and hit the “Submit” button on my application for the Cloneshouse Africa Internship Programme (CAIP) for the second time. The anticipation and nervousness were all too familiar, as this wasn’t my first attempt. Last year, despite my enthusiasm and determination, I didn’t make it past the application stage. It was a tough pill to swallow, but I decided not to give up on my dream of interning at Cloneshouse.
Working in groups with diverse interns from other African Countries has demonstrated that the internship has been more than just a professional experience; it’s been a journey of personal growth, cultural enrichment, and a deepening understanding of the challenges and opportunities that exist in Africa.
One of the most rewarding aspects of my internship was the chance to be part of a team tasked with conducting a capitalization survey on the nutrition intervention programme by ALIMA in Maiduguri, Borno State. I remember my first field visit with Dr. Steven, a senior Consultant at Cloneshouse. At the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH), ALIMA trained health professionals to manage Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM). We interviewed the trainers and trainees who have participated in ALIMA SAM management training since 2020. Their stories were filled with hope. I couldn’t help but admire the resilience and determination of these health workers, who were fighting against all odds to save the children. The highlight of the day was meeting Emmanuel, a Nutrition Assistant who explained Fluid therapy and rehydration as an aspect he found most beneficial in the training. He shared how he could differentiate between SAM, MAM, and SAM with complications, among other experiences. Other participants shared their experiences, from the initial diagnosis to the treatment phase, and how the training programme helped improve their skills and knowledge on nutrition and patient hygiene.
As we visited other facilities and listened to stories from trainers, trainees, and partners like UNICEF, MSF, and the State government, I realized ALIMA’s profound impact on people. I am also more convinced that our role as evaluators might seem analytical and data-driven, but the human stories behind the statistics motivate me. We began data entry, analysis, and report writing at the ALIMA office. Each piece of information we collected would contribute to a comprehensive evaluation report. I was impressed by the dedication of the M&E team, comprising members from Cloneshouse HQ and other interns, in ensuring that every piece of data was accurate and meaningful.
The supportive atmosphere at Cloneshouse was instrumental in my growth as an intern. My colleague and Team Lead, Dr. Steven, provided guidance, mentorship, and opportunities for skill development. He fostered an environment where questions were encouraged, ideas were valued, and learning was continuous. Reflecting on my first day supporting the ALIMA evaluation project, I am reminded of why I chose the development space. It’s not just about words, numbers, and charts; it’s about making a positive change in the lives of vulnerable populations.
I look forward to the weeks ahead, where I will continue to learn, grow, and contribute to this important mission alongside a team of passionate individuals.
Finally, as I close this chapter, I am reminded that setbacks are a part of life. Rejection stings, but it also has the power to fuel determination and resilience. I am glad I didn’t give up on my second attempt at securing a Cloneshouse Africa Internship Programme.
About the Author:
Hashimu Adamu is the Co-Chair of the Plan International Nigeria Youth Advisory Panel and an intern with the Cloneshouse African Internship Programme (CAIP). He was the Technical Lead of the #SheVotesToo campaign that birthed the #DemocracyConvening2023 – a campaign aimed at amplifying the voices of young people and inclusive political participation. #DemocracyConvening was supported by Plan International, ActionAid, Oxfam, Save the Children, Amnesty International, LEAP Africa, and Friedreich Ebert Stiftung Nigeria.