Posted by Eric Brown
In the Fall of 2009, Sustainable Cities heard from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) that we had received funding to send sixty interns to five cities around the world over the next three years. As part of the Youth Employment Strategy of the Government of Canada, the International Youth Internship Program (IYIP) seeks to provide young Canadians with an opportunity to gain international work experience, deepening their awareness and understanding of, and engagement in international development.
Interns from Sustainable Cities will be placed on local municipal teams in Dakar, Senegal; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; San Fernando, The Philippines; and Chihuahua and Colima, Mexico. Each intern will spend approximately six months in their host city contributing to various local sustainability initiatives. The program is designed so that when one intern’s term is over, they are replaced by a new intern with a two week overlap. This allows for a period of adjustment, orientation and mentoring as well as ongoing project development and implementation. We are excited to be able to offer extra capacity to these five cities over the next three years.
Each city that we are working with faces a unique set of challenges and opportunities, and we work collaboratively with them to hire interns who will suit their needs. The projects that these interns will be undertaking vary from developing a GIS database in Dakar to engaging youth in planning for the conservation and use of public space in Colima. Our interns also come from a wide variety of academic and personal backgrounds, however they share a common ambition to contribute to urban sustainability on an international scale. Their energy, enthusiasm and a certain measure of idealism are the quintessential assets of engaging youth in sustainable urban development.
The first batch of ten interns has already been hired, trained and placed in the field! The word on the street is that they are adapting well and enjoying their first impressions of their host communities. In the future you will be hearing more about their projects here, but you can also check out their bios and initial project summaries on our website. While you are there, you can also have a look at some of the other work Sustainable Cities is doing on youth engagement.