Blogpost written by Clara Osafo Sasu Senior, intern at EDF International cooperation team
My experience at EDF can be synonymous to the Dunning-Kruger effect to some extent. I came to EDF knowing exactly what my interest and objectives were, little did I know there were more learning opportunities ahead.
Back to the Dunning – Kruger effect, I started my internship not completely ignorant of the disability right movement and the work of EDF hence I had a lot of confidence in my theoretical knowledge. As I worked on various tasks and attended numerous relevant meetings, webinars and events, peak of “mount uninformed” stared at my face. With the guidance of my supervisor and other team members, I did not experience this for long as all resources and information which I needed was always provided to me, sometimes, even before I asked. With the continuous involvement in ongoing projects such as the innovation to inclusion project and the holistic realization of my needs, I quickly moved to the slope of enlightenment without having to stay at the valley of despair. I can confidently say as I am writing, I am experiencing a plateau of sustainability with a high confidence level and newly developed competences to explore the field of human right advocacy.
I set out to gain a “hands on” practical experience in the field of human rights advocacy, EDF as an organization which uses the human right approach in each program while giving persons with disabilities the right to make decisions was the best fit for me. My goal of getting a better understanding into the formulation, implementation and evaluation of inclusive policies in the disability arena was realized when I became a part of an amazing team, the international cooperation team. Working on inclusive climate action data collection, also helped me to improve my qualitative and quantitative research skills.
With a health background and an unquenchable desire to work in the human right advocacy arena with a focus on persons with disabilities, though, not a popular opinion in the clinical sector, my encounter with others in EDF who have made such a change continues to motivate me in this quest. My internship has equipped me with various competences such as coordination of response in humanitarian crisis, the use of the right terminologies for disability right advocacy, effective communication skills, and the use of MailChimp in the creation of our dynamic global action newsletter. Also, my time at EDF led to a positive habit where I am conscious of how societies are lagging behind or failing in becoming inclusive though many countries have ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. For instance, I often catch myself assessing how information in buildings of both private and government institutions are, including the physical environment.
I have experienced “eye opener” moments at EDF via the various tasks and events such as the creation of accessible documents, the various resources that go into the creation of successful events and so many more. The Russian invasion of Ukraine led to a drastic change in my tasks at EDF. As someone who has seen the effects of war on the lives of women and children, assisting in EDF’s humanitarian responses to the crisis in Ukraine especially focusing on persons with disabilities did fill my heart with more love for EDF’s work.
To summarize my experience at EDF, I will say life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain. As an African woman who does not fit the stereotype of having a good rhythm, I still took a bold step to pursue an internship outside what I am used to and I found wonderful colleagues who joined and encouraged me on every rhythmless move I made while learning at EDF.