I’m Angela, a student at Monash University Melbourne, Australia, and I’m very excited to be joining you as an intern in 2010!
I hope I am using this blog correctly (I’m new to blogging myself), but it is great to have an open forum to connect with you all, and to provide feedback to each other.
I have had the opportunity to read about JAW, your mission, values, goals and programmes – thanks to Jenny who sent me these documents. While the reading has helped to deepen my understanding of the work that you do, I am still a little daunted, as you have a number of programs that encompass so many different (though related) elements. In order to make the most of the internship, Jenny has asked me to express which program I am most interested in working with. Your youth program interests me greatly, as does your focus on HIV/AIDS from a gender equality perspective.
I thought if I took this opportunity to tell you a little about my background and interests, that I might be able to get your help in suggesting where I could best contribute to your work!
I have an interest in public health from a social justice perspective. I have focussed my studies and previous internships on elements of the social model of health. This differs from the traditional Western biomedical view of health (that simply looks to treat or cure). Instead, the social model looks at the social determinants of health, factors that occur outside the physical body - in the social environment. This includes factors such as education, employment, gender, access to and affordability of services and public policy. The social model of health focuses on interventions such as community development and engagement, raising awareness and building knowledge, advocacy, working in partnerships and creating healthy public policy.
I have had some experience working in evaluation and monitoring, and thought there might be some way to include this in the internship. With limited resources and funding in community organisations, evaluation is often left till last. This is unfortunate, as evaluation has proved extremely important in ensuring that programs or organisations are getting the most out of what they do. It enables us to see where things are working well, where they can be improved, and also to collect proof as to the outcomes of our work (this can be important information to show to the community, to funders, or to use in support of advocacy work).
I am really looking forward to hearing from you, and to being able to work with you next year. Ultimately I will be happy to contribute in whichever way you see fit!