What happens after interning at Oxfam Novib? The Alumni blog series is all about students who have finished their internship as part of the Oxfam Novib Academy.
I recently graduated with an MA in Development Studies from the International Institute of Social Studies in the Hague. During my Masters degree, I interned at Oxfam Novib with the Land Rights Now campaign, a global movement of more than 550 organisations in which Oxfam is a co-convener.
As part of my internship, I provided communications and administrative support for the campaign’s work to bring together a strong and united global voice in favour of secure land rights for Indigenous Peoples and local communities. A major component of such efforts was frequent, coordinated advocacy actions around relevant international events and days of observances by Land Rights Now participants from across the globe. During my internship, I was involved with such mobilisations during the 6th Regional Conference on Human Rights and Agribusiness in South East Asia in November 2016 and the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence from 25 November to 10 December 2016.
After my internship ended, I had a chance to continue my engagement with the campaign as a short-term consultant. Perhaps the biggest highlight of this period for me was being a part of a large global mobilisation around International Earth Day. Working towards an impactful Earth Day mobilisation week, from 22 to 29 April 2017, was a hectic but very enjoyable experience. With the enthusiastic involvement and support of local participants, we saw more than 40 actions in 25 countries and a large social media campaign during this week, all driving home the message that secure indigenous and community land rights are a key element of the fight against climate change.
My time with the Land Rights Now campaign was a very useful complement to the more academic training I received during my Masters degree. Since my study was also focussed on land rights, I found that there was a substantial overlap in the topics and issues, which I think helped me at both the internship and university. Moreover, the focus of my internship on communications, advocacy and mobilisation provided me a very good understanding of the opportunities and challenges involved in a large global campaign of diverse organisations. As I work towards a future PhD in the area of land rights, the perspectives and practical experience I gained through my work with Land Rights Now will definitely help to shape my ideas about how I can develop my research so that it not just “research for research’s sake”. My goal is to undertake a PhD that learns from the experiences of grassroots struggles for land rights and has the potential to make a positive contribution to them.
By Amod Shah, Oxfam Novib Academy Alumnus – Land rights now: A Global Call To Action on Indigenous And Community Land Rights.