about the author
Youth Outreach Coordinator
HI – My name is Graham Bell. I have been an educator for the last 13 years, teaching at both primary and secondary levels in the UK and in international schools.
This blog is a part of a series written by the interns of WFP. Check back often to see more posts from the intern desk.
With my body squeezed into a corner at a crowded cafe in Paris, my mind drifts back and forth in an effort to make sense of the somewhat vague months ahead of me in a new city and school. Most of all, however, I am trying to grip the exhilarating months that I have just behind me. Yesterday, my five-month internship at the World Food Programme came to an end.
I may be in a new town, but my mind is fixed on a special place in The Eternal City.
I can easily reconstruct my days, typically starting in slight panic from the scuffles and elbows of the chaotic morning train, followed by a satisfying beeping sound as my colleagues and I sweep our blue security badges - with their universally unflattering red-faced photographs - through the gates which separate us from the UN premises. This daily morning procedure, which I shared with hundreds of fellow WFPers, teleported us out of the bustle of beautiful summer Rome, and into the international land of the United Nations.
Once inside the corridors of WFP, the cities of Bangkok, New York, Cairo and Islamabad, the planes of Darfur or Bangladesh, were as near to us as the walls of the Colosseum or the bells of the Church of St. Peter's.
So, how has this experience affected me? Have I learned anything? And if so, what? Well, all I know is that I have had five months of challenging work for a cause truly worth fighting for. With eyes wide open, I have observed, but most of all, taken part in the dynamic and creative processes of WFP's private-public partnerships - which are of growing importance to the agency and the UN as a whole. Working for WFP has raised my awareness about hunger, given me invaluable insights in the humanitarian world, as well as inspiration to continue on this path. The world appears to have shrunk, as I take with me the inspiring stories, tender bonds and close friendships.
I must admit, I had expected WFP to be much more of a slow working, giant organism of bureaucracy. Of course, even the WFP headquarters has some 'normal' office elements - the habitual outbursts against malfunctioning printer/fax machine, the corridor chitchat, and at times even the sleepy early morning Monday meeting. But WFP is dynamic and flexible, both in terms of staff and its responses to outside needs.
But ultimately, the feeling of working for a meaningful purpose in a global environment is tremendous and unique. Its mystery is inexplicable and must be experienced.
You can find out more about WFP and Private Sector relationships here.
Sofia Winiarski was an intern in the Private Partnerships Division at WFP HQ and likes playing accordion and fighting hunger.