“Before, they would ask for your diploma and maybe your grades. Now, when you are entering the labour market, you are asked for multiple internships and work experience here and there so I feel the pressure to intern so as to be better prepared for the labour market.”
In November 2013, I had the opportunity to visit Manila on ILO work. Little did I know that my trip would overlap with the arrival of super typhoon Yolanda, called Haiyan outside the Philippines. The typhoon packed sustained winds of up to 380 km per hour, killing 6,300 and leaving 22,000 people missing while devastating the landscape.
I stayed in Manila afterwards to help with the ILO’s activities to support the Philippine government and witnessed the immediate collapse of local government services, including the essential water transport needed to deliver relief goods to those affected on the island of Leyte. I could see that public emergency services were in dire need of support and was happy to represent the ILO in the UN-Philippine clusters on health and water.
It’s easy to get caught up in day to day processes when you work for a large UN agency like the International Labour Organization. You can end up losing sight of the value and impact of your work. But the day I read an article in one of Tanzania’s leading newspapers about a student who attended an ILO apprenticeship programme which trains young people to work in the hotel industry, I was literally moved to tears.