Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Emory University Student interns with the ASSAR Ghana Project

Between May and September 2017, the Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR) Ghana project Team at the Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies (IESS) of the University of Ghana hosted Miss Adza Beda during her Summer Practicum Experience. Miss Adza Beda is a second year student in Masters in Development Practice Programme at the Emory University in Atlanta Georgia

Adza Beda, Emory University
Adza recounts her wonderful experience with the ASSAR Team in the following blog. Take a read!
My 2017 Summer Practicum Experience
This summer I completed my final practicum with the Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR) project in Ghana. It started out as a last-minute placement, which I anticipated to be full of office work however, the experience was so much more. My initial position description consisted of in-field assistance for two weeks in the Upper West Region and logistical support for the ASSAR annual meeting. Each activity lead to multiple pathways for key takeaways for development and deeper understanding of climate adaptation. This blog entry will highlight my overall experience.
My in-field participation in the Upper West was filled with many activities in a short span of nine days. The first consisted of the post transformative scenario planning (TSP) session, which is a process that brings together a diverse set of stakeholders to tackle issues around agriculture and food security that crosscut climate variability and land tenure. This session was a follow-up from the original TSP meeting to further establish the most critical issues impacting the local communities and vote on solutions to overcome them. The second activity we completed in the field was changing household structure and gender interviews. These helped unpack the current state of gender relations within a diverse set of households. The third activity was presenting the Climate Adaptation for Youth Innovation Competition to students and teachers in the Lawra and Nandom districts. This provided a pathway to engage youth in vital climate adaptation conversations and invite them to innovatively solve some of these issues. Each activity fostered a deeper understanding of adaptation and its ability to crosscut a range of development goals.

Annual Meeting
The ASSAR annual meeting was a five-day event held at the Royal Senchi in Akosombo. It was a conference that brought together teams from regions around the world. Logistically, I was able to participate in the planning and execution of meeting. This was important because I gained skills in how to successfully coordinate an international conference. This time also provided space to sharpen my design skills as I helped create posters that demonstrated ASSAR Ghana research outcomes and stakeholder engagement. This allowed teams from other regions to see some of the key activities that the Ghana team had done over the past year. The annual meeting was important as it was a vital time to discuss research and fundamental messages from the data collected. This was an opportunity to observe many aspects of data triangulation, as a great deal of the research was discussed and key themes were pulled out during breakaway sessions. Ultimately, I observed the process of research being prepared for long-term use as its generated.

Concluding Thoughts
This summer I was a part of a flexible team that allowed me to easily integrate in daily activities. This made space for me to offer ideas and explore many of my hidden talents, which was pivotal for my learning process. It’s important to be a part of a team short term and be welcomed to an experience of growth and positive co-creation. The overall experience was not only insightful but useful. Each activity with the ASSAR Ghana has given me a better understanding of the adaptation and logistical skills that I intend to use throughout my career as a development practitioner. Thank you to everyone that made this summer practicum possible.


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