RC/RCCC Notes from the Field: Reflection – A Wonderful Summer Experience

Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre Internship Program
by Juhri Selamet
Maputo, Mozambique

Juhri Selamet is the 2018 Junior Researcher in the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre (RCRCCC) program. He is a PhD student in the College of Media, Communication and Information at University of Colorado Boulder. He has a bachelor’s degree from Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia and a master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research interests are visual communication, corporate social responsibility, climate change, water, conservation, media coverage of risk and the environment, and strategic environmental communication. 

View photo gallery in the field by Juhri Selamet

For my last post on this blog, I would like to take this opportunity to promote CU Boulder and Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre’s summer program for CU graduate students. If you happen to get a chance to be part of this program in the future, with your summer placement locations in eastern or southern Africa, it will be an outstanding experience both for your personal and professional life. I know this from my own experience.

During my time here in Mozambique, from May to August, in my professional and personal networking to make friends and to open the door to work together in the future, I have met many graduate students from all over the world that spend time and work in Maputo. Their abilities range from public health, economic and international development, to film studies. They worked on exciting projects with a focus on developing and testing communication tools related to health system improvement, as well as malaria and family planning and mapping Mozambican culture heritages.

In addition, I have met local scholars and maintained networking connections with a local university to get the Local Review Letter as part of CU Boulder’s Institutional Review Board requirements to conduct international research (many thanks to Dr. Rui Carlos da Maia and Dra. Benedita Penicela Nhambiu at Universidade Tecnica de Moçambique – UDM for helping with the letter). This research project will still be ongoing even when I have finished my summer program. I have met Red Cross professionals who have worked their way up to contributing to development projects in Mozambique. Besides, through a Red Cross Forecast-based financing project, I have gotten in touch with local government institutions that have opened the door for future discussions. And yes, there are many more examples. Through my experiences with the people whom I have met here, my character and knowledge development have been indirectly enriched. To me, this is part of the essential learning experience during my doctoral years at CU.

I am here to learn” is the best mantra during this program because, to me, the two-way communication process cannot be rushed. As I still lack experience in good communication for development models in a Mozambican context, this opportunity gives me a lot of room to learn in a real way and gain real-life experience—to talk, listen, and drink lots of coffee with people. Communication as I see it is part of people’s daily lives and is highly integrated with context and culture. Step by step, I arrived at understanding communication in the Mozambican context through various channels and how it could work for rural communications with an understanding of ICT infrastructure (you will read more about this on my upcoming report).

My experience is in developing a strategic communication plan for the Mozambique Red Cross and conducting training on how to activate the action plan and use the communication toolkits based on IFRC media. I hope that this will continue as I stress that ongoing communication is vital, whatever communication channels are being used. Constant communication is the only way to create awareness, change behavior, and build organizations’ reputations.

Lastly, I will also never forget the fun part of this program. If, by chance, you are part of this wonderful program, don’t forget to have fun. I am grateful to have had this opportunity to explore the beautiful country of Mozambique: its food, drinks, tropical fruits, beautiful islands, excellent beaches, lively traditional markets, and louder laughs. I have taken this opportunity as part of my life to see the world and to see and live in one of the most beautiful African countries for three months has been remarkable. True, there were ups and downs, like riding a roller-coaster, but trust me, it is really fun, and it is worth it.

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