Bahja: A Transformative Internship Journey at Somali Public Agenda

Reflections From Our Team

I embarked on this exciting internship in July 2023 stepping into an organization dedicated to research and dialogue. From day one, the team’s warm welcome enveloped me, making me feel like part of a close-knit family.

During my three months of internship, I had the opportunity to undertake various tasks typically assigned to interns. My journey began with training in the administration office, where I was exposed to the daily operations of the human resources department. Idil Omar, SPA human resources officer, played a pivotal role in guiding me through these initial stages. The second phase of my internship saw me closely collaborating with Qamar Osman, SPA’s procurement officer. Under her mentorship, I gained valuable insights into procurement operations, including processing, managing, and organizing expenditure data, both digitally and in hard copy.

After completing these two phases of the internship, I took online courses, such as the effective email writing course, which elevated my communication skills and boosted my confidence in corresponding with colleagues. Another interesting writing course significantly enhanced the clarity, competency, and elegance of my writing style. This course, of course, honed my editing abilities and I learned how to craft compelling pieces, which has fueled my aspiration to become an accomplished writer.

One of the most impactful courses during my internship was a research methodologies course. This course deepened my understanding of various research types, and their applications, doing comprehensive literature reviews, formulating research questions, employing sampling techniques, and selecting data collection methods to yield valid and reliable research findings. Following each course, I diligently composed reflections, which I shared with Farhan, the deputy director and director of the SPA Center for Learning and Development, who was my immediate mentor and instructor.

As an intern, my responsibilities encompassed diverse tasks, including minute-taking during both physical and virtual meetings, as well as capturing discussions from monthly forums such as Gaxwo & Gorfeyn. I diligently managed and organized the organization’s library as well as digitized book records. Furthermore, I actively participated in ongoing research projects and transcribed and translated recorded interviews and focus group discussions.

In retrospect, my internship at SPA has been a transformative experience; it equipped me with a wide array of skills and knowledge. It sharpened my critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, and effective communication skills, enabling me to build a valuable network of colleagues and mentors. I was encouraged to ask questions, engage in meaningful discussions, and contribute input to projects. I thrived in a friendly, supportive, and collaborative work environment. This culture of intellectual curiosity and knowledge sharing significantly contributed to my personal and professional growth.

My involvement in this dynamic organization deepened my understanding of Somalia’s political landscape and policy-making. Witnessing the impact of SPA’s publications, such as commentaries, governance briefs, policy papers, and research reports underscored the immense value of research in guiding well-informed policy decisions.

After the successful conclusion of the internship, I was offered to join SPA on a full-time basis as a research assistant. Looking ahead, I am eager to apply the knowledge and insights acquired during my internship stint and to make a meaningful contribution to the research outputs of SPA.

Bahja Ahmed Mohamed

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