Center for International Stabilization & Recovery

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My summer as an intern with Danish Demining Group

by Chris Murguia

Eds: Chris Murguia was a CISR editorial assistant from 2011-2012.

This summer I had the opportunity to spend eight weeks with Danish Demining Group (DDG) in Juba, South Sudan as a Monitoring & Evaluation Intern. DDG is a nongovernmental organization that provides humanitarian mine action and armed violence reduction (AVR) services across the globe. I obtained the internship through a partnership formed between DDG, James Madison University’s Master of Public Administration program and the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery.

During my time with DDG, I worked in the AVR unit. DDG’s AVR program takes a holistic approach to solving the issue of armed violence by providing beneficiaries with conflict-management skills, increasing security provision and enhancing local institutions’ abilities to control weapons proliferation. My primary responsibility as an intern was to conduct an evaluation of an AVR project in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state. This involved making trips to field sites, conducting focus-group discussions with beneficiaries, interviewing DDG AVR staff and ultimately producing a report for the organization. In addition to the evaluation, I also analyzed survey data, carried out desk-based research and participated in impact-monitoring workshops.

In my free time, I often left the compound to explore Juba. I shopped in crowded markets, ate dinner on the Nile and attended a landmine survivors’ basketball game. My most memorable experience was attending South Sudan’s one-year independence anniversary celebration. It was amazing to see tens of thousands of people converge in one place and celebrate the independence of the world’s newest country.

Interning with DDG was one of the most challenging periods of my life but also a great learning experience. I learned the ins and outs of the international humanitarian sector and the difficulties associated with conducting research in a post-conflict setting. Overall, interning with DDG was an experience that I will never forget, and if I could, I would do it all over again.