Written by by Yuki Saito, Masters Student, Graduate Program on Human Security
Edited by Aiko Jane Kihara-Hunt
I undertook a three-month internship at the ICRC in Jakarta. This article covers what I performed and learned through the internship programme. I hope this short report contributes to raising awareness of the ICRC and its great internship opportunities.
ICRC training for BRIMOB on sexual violence during armed conflict.
Motivation for Application
I heard about this internship opportunity from my supervisor at the Graduate Programme on Human Security (HSP), the University of Tokyo. I decided to apply for two reasons. First, I have studied on the safety of aid workers in conflict-affected areas at the HSP. Although my study has focused on Afghanistan, I thought that the internship experience would enhance my understanding of conflict-affected areas. Second, one of my goals is to assist improving lives of people facing an armed conflict and acute crisis. I was interested in the ICRC’s work since I visited the ICRC headquarters in Geneva a few years ago for research. The ICRC has such an expertise in protecting people in an armed conflict.
Given tasks were beyond my expectation. The workload was not overwhelming. I spent very productive days. Before starting the internship, I was worried that I may get no or only boring tasks. But this was not the case. Thanks to my supervisor, my workload was manageable, and I learned a lot. More precisely, I worked in a department working on prevention of incidents involving humanitarian actors in the ASEAN region, mainly through research and partnership with other organisations. My daily work was assisting making reports on particular topics. For example, the topics were ASEAN and Sustainable Humanitarian Assistance or ASEAN’s Cyber Security. For each topic, I searched on the internet to collect relevant information and drafted a document. My supervisor checked it, and he gave instructions for revision. Several times I could attend outside workshops run by ICRC personnel. The most interesting event was a lecture on sexual violence for 120 armed police, who were to be sent to the Central African Republic as peacekeepers. I really appreciate that the members in the Delegation provided me with great opportunities.
What I Learned
There are too many things that I learned from the internship to list here. The most important point was that everyone in the Delegation values communication with colleagues. I realised that daily conversation (even a small chat) was crucial to facilitating work smoothly. I was astonished by their speed of work. I normally finish a university term paper in a couple of weeks, but ICRC staff members could complete the same-page report within a couple of days.
For The Future
Fortunately, I could experience the three-month internship at the ICRC and learned a lot of things. I will utilise this experience to start a professional job in a development organisation in April this year. Development is different from humanitarian work, but from the perspective of human security, I believe that they share the same goals: freedom from want and freedom from fear. In addition, I imagine that both communication and report writing that I could improve through the internship are very useful skillsets as a practitioner. I would like to thank all concerned for giving me this great opportunity.
This article is also available in Japanese on ICRC Japan's website.