IFAD-Uoguelph Internship for Development Changemaker

IFAD-University of Guelph Internship Program to Develop Next Generation of Development Changemaker

In late 2020, Carmina Marquez, the IFAD Americas Liason Officer (ALO), visited the University of Guelph to discuss the possibility of collaboration. During the meeting, Marquez emphasized that Canada is an important donor for IFAD and expressed the desire to do something for future changemakers studying in Canadian universities. The Ontario Agricultural College of the University of Guelph is a natural fit for this collaboration due to its long-standing history and contribution to agricultural and rural development in Canada and around the world.

To achieve this goal, IFAD ALO proposed to create a partnership with UoG, a public research entity in Ontario, to provide hands-on opportunities for future Canadian policy- and change-makers. The Ontario Agricultural College of the University of Guelph is renowned for its specialization in food, agriculture, rural development, and the environment. IFAD proposed to create an internship program that would expose UoG students to IFAD, the United Nations, and multilateral institutions and entities engaged in rural and agricultural development. 

Through this program, students would learn about potential career possibilities in the field of international development, food security, and international agricultural issues, and would put their classroom-learned skills into practice in a highly specialized policy environment. As the new official IFAD Ambassadors, these students would have the opportunity to become advocates on campus for rural farmers, gender equality, food and nutrition security, and climate change.

The proposed internship program with IFAD is in alignment with UoG's mission to connect teaching, learning, and research with the real world, providing students access to practical experience and networks. This program will give students the opportunity to network and create new professional connections, leading to further opportunities where they can generate new knowledge in fields such as food, agriculture, the environment, and community life.

Through this internship program, students will be immersed in the real world, enabling them to evaluate their positionality, assumptions, and values relative to their experiences while engaging with IFAD and its partners. Moreover, they will broaden their understanding of Canada's engagement in international development. This program will also help interns become more competitive in the job market and will stimulate intellectual inquiries that are beneficial for their research and other academic endeavors. Overall, this internship will result in long-term achievements in the fields of food, agriculture, and the environment.

The long-term vision is to expand this program to other Canadian universities known for their excellence in agri-food research and education, such as McGill University and the University of Saskatchewan, and develop a model for a nationwide program.

Please take a look at the stories of student changemakers that are being developed by this internship program.

Zoe's Story, " Craft, Cram & Chat"



University of Guelph: Dr. Ataharul Chowdhury, School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, Ontario Agricultural College, ataharul.chowdhury@uoguelph.ca

IFAD Amerian Lisaon Office:

Carmina Marquez, ALO, IFAD: c.marquez@ifad.org

Rachel Dehaan: r.dehaan@ifad.org

Follow IFAD Guelph Student Club : https://www.instagram.com/ifadguelph/

List of Interns Graduated from the Program:

Rachel Dehaan, Graduate, Capacity Development and Extension (Completed, April 2021)

Hailey Budway, Undergraduate, International Development (Completed, April 2021)

Jamie Black, Graduate, Capacity Development and Extension (Completed, April 2021)

Easir Arafat, Graduate, Sociology and International Development (Completed, April 2021)

Talyn Dowdall, Undergraduate, International Development (Completed, Oct 2021)

Lou Helps, Graduate, Rural Studies (Completed, Oct 2021)

Ariana Malik, Graduate, Capacity Development and Extension (Completed, Oct 2021)

Anab Siraj, Undergraduate, International Development (Completed, Sept 2022)

Ilham Abdulkadir, Undergraduate, International Development (Completed, Nov 2022)

Gorad Muhumed, Undergraduate, International Development (Completed, Apr 2023)

Claire Couturier, Undergraduate, International Development (Completed, Oct 2023)

Zoe Sharp, Undergraduate, International Development (Completed, Apr 2024)