Hi! My name is Haja Isatu Bah, and I am a rising junior with a major in Environmental Studies. For the past few weeks, I have had the privilege of working as an intern for the Mayor’s Delivery Unit (MDU), Freetown City Council; the administrative body in charge of the Freetown Municipality. MDU is a special task force set up by the Mayor of Freetown, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, to monitor and oversee the transform Freetown Agenda. I worked with the environmental management sector, whose primary focus is providing resilient solutions to prevent and recover from disaster within the Freetown Municipality.
As an intern, I worked on 3 key environmental projects: (i) Tree planting, (ii) Freetown Emergency Recovery Program (FERP), and (iii) Lumley Market Logistics. The Tree planting project was a one-month flood mitigation project which involved the planting of ten thousand trees in 10 wards around the upper catchment areas of Freetown. My responsibilities included communicating with the councilors, visiting planting sites, be part of the planting process, and keeping track of the number of trees planted. The FERP project focuses on informal settlements in the nation’s capital, providing mainly proper drainage systems in order to prevent flooding. During my internship, the FERP team and I visited 10 areas in the upper catchment areas and mapped out their drainage plan. The Lumley market logistics is an initiative to build a new market for the Lumley community, and I contributed to the creation of a new market strategy including market operations.
Working with FCC boosted my professional experience. I was opportune to meet and work with interns from other universities, the Mayor, councilors, the Ministry of Agriculture, The Vice President’s office, United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), and concern worldwide. During these meetings, I gained insight into the understanding of the Freetown environment and gained experience from people working in the field.
My goal for this summer was to explore the environmental issues of my country and the policies and regulations put in place to address them. Working with FCC provided the opportunity to do so with a firsthand experience. My time at FCC has been eye opening and challenging, but most importantly inspiring. As a result of being surrounded by professionals in the field, the fieldwork experience and exposure, I am now more certain than ever of pursuing a career in Environmental Management.
My experience was amazing, and I wish to do it again. To students who hope to do an internship in the future, do not be afraid to reach out and research. Talk to your professors, classmates, friends, alumni, CDC etc. Check out the websites of organizations you want to intern at, and do not hesitate to reach out via email. To international students who want to intern in their countries, reach out to friends and institutions back home. The CDC is always there to help you with the process.