My Internship experience
By Juliet Mwaura, former RSIF Research and Innovation Grants Intern (July 2021-Dec 2021)
My experience while working with the Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF) as a Research and Innovation Grants Intern was very positive. I had the most welcoming, helpful and supportive colleagues who were willing to guide me during the internship period. As I had not dealt with grants before, this internship taught me that adjusting to different situations in life is important and when you put in the work, a lot can be achieved. Gradually working with the team, I realized that they were very talented individuals, coming from diverse backgrounds and skillsets and were really passionate about the work they were doing. It didn’t take me long to get integrated into the team as everyone treated me as an equal contributor to the program even during chairing the team’s bi-weekly meetings. I hope that in future, I can find a team full of people just as encouraging and passionate about their work.
I got to learn a lot throughout the journey, through screening and eligibility checks of some of the projects such as Accelerating inclusive green growth through Agri-based digital innovation in West Africa (AGriDI), the PASET-RSIF MozSkills Subproject and Cohort 4 call for PhD Scholarship applications received, attending the Business Incubation Workshop for RSIF Innovation projects, Grants Independent Technical Committee (GITC) meetings held to select qualified projects to be funded, and virtually attending the 2nd Eastern Africa Bioeconomy Conference and RSIF Virtual Pre-Conference 2021. All these different aspects I was involved in helped me learn the different processes involved in ensuring that deliverables in the different components of providing Research and Innovation Grants are met.
After 6 months working together with the team, I have gained an enthusiasm for working on programs that promote and fund researchers to solve some of the complex problems that affect Africa especially in the areas of ICT including big data and artificial intelligence, food security and agri-business, minerals, mining and materials engineering, energy including renewables and climate change. I am particularly thankful to RSIF’s manager, for the confidence he had in me even as an intern to perform tasks, since interns are rarely involved in the day-to-day important activities in many organizations, unfortunately; and ensuring that we had a favourable working environment.
For future interns who will join the RSIF team, I would tell you; Always be curious and ask questions. Also, if you have a solution to something, say it. Show your creativity and don’t be afraid to take up new challenges. I’m so grateful for the opportunity and I look forward to what’s in store for me, perhaps in the future I will also apply for the RSIF PhD Scholarship and benefit from the great opportunity that has been created.