Meet the interns | Claire Lynch

4 August 2014 | ResolutionPossible

This time we’re bringing you the final blog from the brains behind the scenes at Resolution:Possible. Here is the sixth and last entry for our ‘Meet the interns’ series in which our interns and alumni get to write about their own work experience and education, as well as their time with Resolution:Possible. We have been very fortunate to have people from all sorts of backgrounds working with us, and we wanted to share with you this great variety. We also hope that these blogs may inspire you to follow your own dreams (read previous blogs from BeckyHarrietEricHannah  and Natasha here).

Claire Lynch joined Resolution:Possible back in May 2012 as the organisation’s very first intern. She researched and wrote country profiles, and helped to compile a historical timeline of events in the Great Lakes region. Claire has been working in Communications in the international development sector since graduating from university in 2013, and has a particular professional interest in development education, public awareness and advocacy. Having spent the last year living and working in Ireland, she will shortly move to Canada to embark on a new adventure.

At my graduation last year

At my graduation last year

Growing up in a small village in Ireland in the days before internet and email arrived, life was somewhat sheltered, to say the least. But an innate sense of curiosity and a preference for books over people (yes- I was the odd child in the corner!) meant my interest in all things ‘Africa’ was fostered from a very young age through reading fiction and non-fiction about life in far-flung places. But it wasn’t until well into my twenties that my fascination with the wider world, and the injustice so prevalent within it, became my chosen professional path.

Turning my back on a career in the cosmetics industry, I packed a bag and headed for the red earth and acacia trees of the Africa in my imagination. Travelling southwards from Nairobi, I felt like I had finally reached where I wanted to be- inside one of my childhood storybooks! But the realities of life in Africa- like anywhere else- are far from a fairytale. Hence, my little insight into life in that part of the world inspired me to head for university to study International Relations.

It was while studying in London that I came across the women at the helm of Resolution:Possible, and their fascinating endeavour to foster discussion and awareness of our global connectivity. I was lucky to spend the Summer of 2012 in the company of Katherine, Lizzy, Marijn, and my fellow interns, researching content for the Resolution:Possible website. I researched the economic interests at play in the domestic and regional politics of the Great Lakes Region, and wrote country profiles, outlining the particular histories of some of the countries in the region.

Me with a couple of friends visiting a cultural village in Malawi to learn about the local people's traditional lifestyle

Me with a couple of friends visiting a cultural village in Malawi to learn about the local people’s traditional lifestyle

The focus of my research became the history of Rwanda and Burundi in particular, and much of this research formed the basis of my knowledge for my final-year university dissertation: an examination of the relationship between the post-genocide Rwandan state and its key bilateral donors. The peculiar position of Rwanda in international politics, recovering from the events of 1994, endows it with a certain amount of political capital arising out of the ‘genocide guilt’ felt by much of the international community. Monitoring how this affects the behaviour of donors highlights the politicisation of the aid agenda and requires the reader to question commitment to the principles of accountability, effectiveness and good governance. The knowledge I gained in doing my dissertation, in turn, introduced me to many of the key concepts and practices required for working in international development.

I was lucky enough to graduate with First Class Honours in 2013, and have been working with an Irish international development NGO since then. Currently co-ordinating the Communications Department, my time is spent trying to share knowledge and engage the Irish public in issues affecting the developing world. From advocacy, awareness campaigns and interactive development education, to fundraising and public relations, a communications role in this sector requires unwavering commitment and a true belief in people’s capacity for compassion and empathy. It is not an easy career, but I believe in people and I believe that education for all is the key to global social justice. As one of my idols, Nelson Mandela, once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world”.

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