Real Work in Real Nepal
The Internship Programme is a joint collaboration between the Institute for Democracy & Conflict Resolution, University of Essex and the Mountain Trust, a Cambridge-based charity organisation that sponsors a wide range of projects to help the hardest hit in Nepal.
The internship programme was launched on February 1st, 2012 at the IDCR. Participants travelled to Nepal during the summer and autumn of 2012. A film on last year’s placements can be seen HERE.
In 2013, the placements will be open to students of relevant disciplines and equivalent others throughout the UK. The Programme Directors will consider expanding the project to other centres of excellence outside the UK from 2014
The programme is designed to test and develop your theoretical knowledge in the field (in real time, in real Nepal and to give you the opportunity to share ideas with and learn from experienced activists). In doing so, you will be expected to develop and demonstrate your capacity to bridge incongruities between theory and practice – as well as cultural, linguistic, economic, political and other cleavages – to lend valuable assistance to your host organisation.
The programme is intended to offer practical measures of theoretical studies – to focus on the benefits of reconciling theory with practice, to equip people seeking to work in the fields of International Development and Human / Civil Rights with the knowledge of how to apply their learning to real and beneficial effect when confronted with unanticipated realities on the ground – and how to find ways around the inherent linguistic, cultural, economic & political obstacles to identify effective solutions. For anyone intending to pursue a career in international development or related fields, this programme is unique and intended to offer the opportunity of passing an invaluable test
Each assignment will be designed to pit your studies against the realities on the ground. Assignments may be given to individuals or groups to share – contingent upon the nature of the objectives of the remit and the availability of participants in field at any one time.
Depending upon your studies, you may be assigned to assist one or more organisations working in Nepal on issues relating to development, democracy, law, education, governance, justice and human rights. Alternatively, you may be tasked with writing papers for Nepali Government Ministers or Officials on finding traction on symbolic and other social, political or economic issues prescient at the time of your placement
Participants in this programme will initially be accepted as Volunteers. Should their final report prove that salient progress has been made and this is verified with Partner Organisations by the Programme Directors, participants will be informed that they may regard themselves as Interns and will be eligible for a reference attesting to the scale of their impact. In very exceptional cases, candidates may be considered for nomination to become Fellows of the Mountain Trust or Scholars of the IDCR should they very significantly exceed expectations.
Nepal is the 16th poorest society worldwide and the poorest in South East Asia. In 2006, it emerged from a ten year civil war claiming an estimated 16,000 lives. With a literacy rate of around 50%, weak transport, power, communications, health and educational infrastructures combined with a largely ineffectual state has left the majority to fend on their own. Load shedding varies between 2 and 14 hours a day depending on the season since most power is hydro and the river levels vary through the year. Maternal and infant mortality rates are very high, life expectancy is below 60 and average annual income is around 250 USD.
Nepali culture is mainly Hindu so expresses a belief in fatalism, hierarchy as well as a strong sense of community. Patronage networks dominate Nepali culture. Kathmandu might be described as the boutique NGO capital of the world – yet after decades of foreign aid flowing into the country, comparatively little has improved. Poverty, weak education, political and official corruption, the lack of transparency and good governance too often combine to confound efforts to chart robust and reliable exit routes from poverty.
Until recently, Nepal was the only officially Hindu Kingdom. Today it is a republic and the population have only ever voted in two elections. Before then, the country boasted the only communist party worldwide to be pro-monarchy. Even the subsequent Maoist government supported a mixed economy. For more on Nepal, please click HERE
University of Essex or Cambridge University Masters students (or highly motivated and exceptional undergraduates) at the end of their studies in International development, law, (especially Constitutional Law), education, politics and related subjects such as human & civil rights (together with exceptional or equivalent others) are eligible to apply for this non-stipendiary Internship Programme. There are four bursaries available of £1500 each. Three bursaries are provided by Essex Interns at the University of Essex and one is provided directly by the IDCR.
Applicants should complete the application form and send it together with their CV to Charles Malcolm-Brown firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for applications for bursary funded places in 2013 is May 15 2013. Assuming there is some consonance between the application and significant components of the programme, candidates will be called for an informal interview. This may be in Cambridge or at Essex. Interviews will take place anytime up to mid June 2013. For more information, please write to Charles Malcolm-Brown at the Mountain Trust email email@example.com