Week 1| May 30, 2009
After a great first week, I'm settling in nicely to life in Geneva. I've been assigned to work on the Africa training programs (IBJ has programs in Rwanda, Burundi, and Zimbabwe). Because the training in Rwanda and Burundi takes place in late June, my main task will be to help with the Zimbabwe training programs, to take place in the fall. My first assignment was to read and summarize case notes of twenty four prisoners seeking bail in Zimbabwe- most were imprisoned for petty theft crimes and had been held, without a hearing, for upwards of a year. Some had died in prison, mostly from TB due to poor sanitation. It was a great first assignment to dive into the work that IBJ does.
The main project I have been assigned to work on is to do research in preparation of drafting and submitting a grant proposal to two large donors. The first proposal will be for Rwanda funding specifically, and the other proposal will be in the hopes of getting a grant to fund projects in other African countries, namely the Great Lakes region (Uganda, Kenya, the DRC). In preparation, I am researching the torture statistics and prison treatment of prisoners in these countries. While harrowing, it's very interesting work.
Geneva is phenomenally beautiful, and I feel so lucky to be here! My French is (slowly) coming back from the back of my brain luckily, as most of the city speaks it. Next weekend brings a Gala for IBJ up in Bern, which is exciting. The interns are allowed to attend the UN Human Rights Council sessions this week, so I head to the UN on Thursday to sit in on the women's human rights conference and am looking forward to that!