Personal Reflection on My Internship at SPA

My three-month internship with the Somali Public Agenda (SPA) has come to an end. The internship was a great opportunity for me to acquire various skills and experiences. I am grateful for this opportunity at SPA. A few of the things that I learned while working with the SPA were discipline, respect and time management.

Before I started the internship, I had a meeting with Mahad Wasuge, the Executive Director of SPA who also was my lecturer at Mogadishu University. We discussed about the possibility of an internship with SPA.  He informed me that I would be starting the internship in early March 2021. On Sunday, March 7, 2021, I started my internship, and I came to the SPA office with a lot of energy and excitement. I was warmly welcomed by the SPA team and felt a special joy that gave me hope that I could be effective and contribute to SPA’s work.  It was a Sunday morning, and the weekly meeting began immediately. I was assigned to take the minutes of the meeting and share them  with the team.

During my internship period, I developed a number of skills and learned multiple things. Writing the minutes of SPA’s weekly meetings was a regular task. I also contributed to the translation of some of SPA’s publications, co-organized a number of events, and conducted research interviews.

I participated in a research project in which I interviewed various respondents for an upcoming study on taabuu tobacco. These interviewees included soldiers and construction workers who use taabuu, and we wanted to understand the reasons why they use the drug and the social, economic and health effect it on them. SPA teams were very friendly, helpful, and eager to guide me with advice and ideas.  The project gave me  firsthand experience in research and data collection.

During my internship, scholars and researchers visited the SPA office. It was an opportunity for me to expand my networking/connections with the great people who visited us. Apart from the SPA work, I was able to read books during my internship. SPA’s well-resourced library allowed me to read five different books, most of them on Somali studies, which boosted my understanding of Somalia politics, society and economy. Roald Dahl  once said: “If you are going to get anywhere in life, you have to read a lot of books.”

Meanwhile, as a student who was in his last semester at the university, it was an additional benefit and eye opening for me to develop my interview and note taking skills before my graduation. This was very useful for my university thesis research.

SPA gave me a scholarship to participate in an ongoing month-long blog writing training along with other inspiring young people. Through the blog writing training, my writing skills are improving fast. This is thanks to the intensive write ups that the course requires from trainees. It is exciting training, and I will share my blog training experience in another piece.

Finally, I am grateful for the unwavering support SPA team gave me during my internship. I am especially grateful to Farhan Isak Yusuf, SPA researcher, for helping me during my internship. I hope our paths will cross again.


Abdirahman Osman

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