The two-week internship at FHI360 in Washington, D.C. was short but fulfilling. As I look back on it, my mind is filled with uplifting memories. I made the right decision...
From August 31th to September 26th, 2017, I conducted internship at JICA Mongolia office, where my main duty was to assist with the Project for Promoting Social Participation of Persons with Disabilities in Ulaanbaatar City (DPUB).
During my internship, I carried out following five main tasks: i) participating in conferences and meetings and taking minutes; ii)posting news on DPUB’s Facebook page; iii)preparing and implementing Disability Equality Training; iv)writing newsletter; iv) updating the document containing information of persons with disabilities in Mongolia.
Participating in conferences and meetings and taking minutes. Under this project, I participated in more than two meetings per day. Basically, we had meetings with counterparts to introduce what the project is working on and discuss what services the project is able to provide. We also explained about JICA training which is held in Japan and what kind of participants we expect to join.
Posting news on Facebook. I posed news articles on Facebook about above-mentioned meetings, workshops and the project’s events. Recently, Mongolia has been promoting disability campaign and conducting such campaign through Facebook is an effective way to allow people in Mongolia to deeply understand the situation of those with disabilities. On the other hand, sharing the information about the project with Japanese people is also deemed important since the issue on disabled citizens needs to be considered in Japan as well.
Preparing and implementing Disability Equality Training (DET). DET aims at enabling participants to understand the concept of ‘disability’ from a Social Model perspective and to commit to removing disabling barriers. Through preparing and implementing DET, I was also able to learn how people in Mongolia understand disability and how social model should be, which will be helpful for my research as well.
Writing newsletter. Since the project had not published newsletter yet, I was placed in charge of editing newsletter. By publishing newsletter, we expect that more Mongolians will understand the issue surrounding disability and the concrete objectives of the project.
Updating the paper of information of persons with disabilities in Mongolia. The project published a paper sharing information of persons with disabilities in 2016. Based on the paper, I conducted interview with Prof. Odgerel to provide new information. Prof. Odgerel is known as one of the key persons to improve education for students with disabilities. It was a great opportunity for my research since my research interest is special education in Mongolia.
In conclusion, I will summarize what I have learned in this internship. First, I learned the importance of developing positive relationships with counterparts to ensure smooth and effective implementation of the project. Project staff and counterparts always share information with one another even if it is minor details, which I believe is crucial for maintaining close relationships. Second, I realized that deep understanding of the social environment and model from the viewpoint of the people with disabilities will help me further develop my research. I was able to learn the current issues that people with disabilities are facing and how the government is working to improve the situation.
In closing, I would like to express my sincere appreciation for all the support provided by my academic supervisor, Prof. Ogawa. I would not have been able to have such opportunity without his support. I also would like to express appreciation to Chief Advisor. Chiba, all JICA Mongolia officers and officers of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.
Written by Hiroki Hashi