Getting to Know CIPE’s Paid Interns

09.05.2021 | Christina Oyelowo

CIPE’s Internship Program provides university students and recent graduates the opportunity to get involved in international development.

The program, usually offered each semester, had a brief hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic but has since been revamped and brought back. To make the Internship Program more accessible and in compliance with COVID-19 Safety protocols, the program went virtual, allowing CIPE to host interns from institutions and homelands globally. Program Associate for the LAC Team and Internship Committee Member, Morgan King, helped to explain the program’s new direction and components.

The program aims to provide educational experiences for interns and teach them various development skills. It is the hope that throughout the interns’ duration at CIPE, and by the time they leave, they will be confident to use their professional experience gained at CIPE within the broader workforce. To navigate the new program, establish its goals and guidelines, and help maximize interns’ time at CIPE are the tasks of the Internship Committee, consisting of HR members and 5-6 junior staff volunteers who work continuously to refine the program and ensure its success.

The program aims to provide educational experiences for interns and teach them various development skills.

When not focusing on administrative or programmatic efforts, Committee members get to know CIPE interns. Through weekly chats, intern-specific events, language groups, and more, Committee members become interns’ resource points and confidants. “I love working with interns and the Internship Committee. It warms my heart to see how many people at CIPE want to engage with the interns,” King said.

Perhaps the most consequential change in the Internship Program is CIPE’s ability to offer interns compensation for their work. In the previous years of in-person internships, positions were generally filled by students attending local institutions. In the summer, internships were often limited to those who could sustain themselves financially. By now offering paid internships, CIPE can attract new and diverse talent to its international organization.

Following another round of successful Internship Capstone presentations in late August, CIPE welcomed Fall interns to the organization. Below, learn more about three different CIPE interns, their experiences, and their thoughts on the Internship Program. For any questions on the Internship Program or about the Internship Committee, message the Internship Committee on Slack or Teams, or directly at internships@cipe.org

Answers may have been edited for length or clarity.

Manuela Reviez, BA in Economics and International Development studies from McGill University, Interning with the LAC Department:

  • Why did you choose to intern at CIPE?
    • I knew I wanted to do something with international development since the age of fourteen. I applied to a bunch of places, focusing on American and Caribbean programs as I thought this would give me the best odds based on the languages I speak, and looking at places that had women’s programs. CIPE ended up being the one that worked.
  • How important was securing a paid vs unpaid internship for you?
    • Securing a paid internship was really important because I had another unpaid internship. Having at least one that was paid helped me to save up for grad school. It was also a huge role for me to stay on with CIPE in the summer rather than finding another job.
  • What is the most exciting project you’ve worked on at CIPE?
    • So we have two, I guess. One was a personal project. One of the great points of the internship helped me to create and work on a project I was interested in. I had enough flexibility to ask my supervisor to do what I wanted. You don’t always feel comfortable asking someone directly what you want. The Monitoring and Evaluation project was also great. We have nice youth entrepreneurship projects in South America within the creative industry- there’s a lot of potential there. When you think of youth entrepreneurship, you think of tech or science. You don’t think of youth entrepreneurs who are studying art or cooking. It really also shifted my perspective on getting close to the youth. In Guatemala, not all of them are focused on tech. Some are focused on the arts. You can’t force someone into something else.
  • What are your next steps after CIPE?
    • I really wanted to stay at CIPE! If I hadn’t said yes to master’s program I would’ve said yes to being a Program Associate or something else. I can’t wait to come back to work with the LAC team or maybe even the MENA team. For now, I am really interested in monitoring and evaluation. I know CIPE is making efforts to expand and help regional teams. I think that my master’s program that I’m going into will help me come if I come back to CIPE, as that’d be the angle I’d like to take. But now, for sure, health and women are very important to me.

Anri Abuladze, BA in Law from Ilia State University, Interning with the E&E Department

  • Why did you choose to intern at CIPE?
    • I work in labor safety projects, the project I work for at CIPE is about labor law enforcement and labor safety in Georgia. I want to be a lawyer, and I’m passionate about human rights and labor rights- those are a part of this. I want to study this and dedicate my career to this. Working at CIPE goes along with my future goals.
  • How have your experiences with CIPE helped to determine your career goals?
    • The majority of tasks I do at CIPE are legal- based which is in direct connection with my career and studies. It gave me some experience and work that is related to legal issues. I don’t want to say I practiced law at CIPE, but to some degree, I’m using the knowledge I gained at school and can apply it to real life.
  • How have you come to understand the intersection between functioning democracy and private sector development? Why do you think this is important?
    • I have come to understand that the process of private sector development should be in line with democratic values such as equality, respect for human rights, social justice, rule of law, and so on. The development of the private sector is ensured only when it values the people it consists of. In my opinion, this is important because incorporating democracy in business activities brings benefits for every stakeholder including both, the ones who form the private sector as well as those who serve the private sector.
  • What are your next steps after CIPE?
    • I am willing to go back to school for my master’s degree, and I want to apply for a program abroad. I want to study Human Rights Law and International law at a leading university in Europe, such as Leiden University where the program is of high quality.

Vanessa Gousse, M.S.L from Fordham University School of law program in Corporate Ethics and Compliance, BBA in International Business from Hofstra University, Interning with the E&E Department on their Business Integrity initiatives.

  • Why did you choose to intern at CIPE?
    • I have a personal and professional interest in being at CIPE. I grew up in Haiti, a country with political and economic issues, rooted in corruption. The people of Haiti continue to be victims of oppression because of it. I have family over there and I’m still a part of conversations of the effect on their day to day lives. When I graduated with my International Business degree, I wanted to work in an international capacity. But the Financial Crisis happened and I had to pivot. I got a paralegal degree and began in residential and commercial real estate doing contract work. I then moved in-house working for a global retail company where my work exposed me to the relationship between compliance, law, and ethics. I wanted to learn more about this. In a Business and Human Rights class at Fordham, I became interested in NGOs who engage the private sector and discovered CIPE’s niche work with SMEs. Civil society and private sector interests are often thought of as separate, but CIPE’s work with SMEs for development as a whole was intriguing.
  • How important was securing a paid vs unpaid internship for you?
    • First, I commend CIPE for providing paid internships. I just think overall that internships are valuable experiences that many are not able to do. Throughout my academic and professional career, I just couldn’t consider unpaid internships. My undergrad experience couldn’t allow me to do an unpaid internship. Finding out this internship was paid helped me seriously consider it. Although the mission alone drew me to CIPE. Interns do great work, but, unfortunately, oftentimes many are not able to take part in these valuable opportunities unpaid.
  • How have you come to understand the intersection between functioning democracy and private sector development? Why do you think this is important?
    • I think it’s important specifically in countries where the democratic process is still developing, that the private sector plays an important role in influencing policy. If we have a strong private sector or labor force to hold the economic sector, people will have choices to demand policy and reform from the government. The private sector guides the process of developing democracy, especially in areas struggling with the basic tenets of democracy like free elections and freedom. A strong private sector allows people to have stronger experiences. I’m not saying that the private sector isn’t corrupted, it can be. In my own experience with my family and my personal experience, having someone- a peer to look and demand change from, that’s important.
  • What are your next steps after CIPE?
    • I’m really looking to take opportunities. I want to dive into more anti-corruption work. CIPE gave me new perspectives to anti-corruption programing and the many regional and resource challenges SMEs face. Framing it as part of business integrity issues as a whole. I’m looking forward to keeping my eyes open in the field.