Last year, I started a unique internship program with the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF). The aim of the program was to develop sustainable capacity in the Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) of different Commonwealth countries.
We (interns) had a general orientation workshop at the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) Johannesburg, South Africa. The workshop was about the program and an overview of the CGF which was facilitated by Ellen Barwise (CGF Regional Development Manager for Africa). We attended with our local supervisors because the internship was implemented locally, managed regionally and formed part of a global development program.
During the workshop, each intern together with his/her supervisor came up with a work plan that was in line with the CGF’s development framework. This work plan contained projects, timelines and success indicators that would be used to track the success of the internship. These projects were to be executed locally during the internship period which was a year. Also, we were given a format to create the overall skills that we had, and wished to acquire during the internship.
After the workshop, we flew back to our individual countries to start proper. As interns, we shared ideas and challenges via a WhatsApp group we created for ourselves. Although we were in different countries, we kept a close communication and relationship. For me, some of my projects were; a website , community support program and an entrepreneurship program. We used our skills to add value to our CGAs.
Gaborone, Botswana was the country we had our midterm workshop. This was to review our projects, develop solutions, get feedback, get more motivation, and definitely have fun. We shared our experiences thus far using “Sargent’s Curve”. Mr. Richard de Groen ( CGF Development Manager) gave us more guidelines on projects, stating that each project should answer the question “WHY” which is the impact.
Two professors from the University of Johannesburg, Mr Wim Hollander and Mrs. Cora Burnett evaluated our projects and also gave their recommendations. Ellen later did a skill development assessment after we did a video interview with Mr. Richard. We talked about our internship experiences in the video interview which was used for a presentation in CGF’s General Assembly in Edmonton, Canada. In the evening, we had dinner together and a lot fun. We came back to our CGAs and implemented what we were taught.
Finally, we had our last workshop in Kigali, Rwanda. Ellen did a final review and we gave our feedbacks. She taught us how to set goals and also prepare our CV. We later had a tour of Rwanda after the workshop.
This internship program made us better managers and gave us a lot of exposure. Some interns were retained by their CGAs.
It was an internship filled with so much to learn and of course, fun. Our Regional boss Ellen Barwise was just so amazing to work with. We learned a lot from her.
Thanks to the CGF for giving us this opportunity. And also, the University of Portharcourt for selecting me to be the Nigerian representative in partnership with Nigeria Olympic committee/Commonwealth Games Association.