So much change in my personal and professional life all at once

February 13, 2018 | Emilia, DVM, Uniterra, Peru, Alianza Cacao, Gender Communication Officer

My journey to the entrance of the Peruvian jungle has been a whole adventure within itself and has already taught me a lot about flexibility, adaptability and patience. In total, four of my flights were canceled and I spent long hours at the airport a few times. I stayed in four different hotel rooms and moved to a new place in eight days. I worked in three offices in two cities before completing my third week on the job. I’ve never experienced so much change in my personal and professional life all at once but it’s what makes this experience so unique and crucial for students who want to pursue international development as a career. Luckily, the Uniterra team has been supporting me throughout the whole adaptation process.

I am currently working in Tingo María for Alianza Cacao Perú (ACP) as a Gender Communications Officer. Alianza Cacao Perú is a public-private partnership that provides support to cocoa farmers in Ucayali, San Martin and Huánuco. The organization seeks to share technology on how to increase the productivity and quality of cacao through schools of excellence, capacity building workshops and public events. My role at ACP has two important areas of focus: the promotion of equality between women and men and the creation of communication products. I am learning about the role of women in rural areas, how they are perceived and treated in certain settings. I am exploring how the sexual division of labour can result in the unequal distribution of roles. This, in turn, can affect women’s ability to assist workshops, attend a training or participate in communal activities. Generally, they do not occupy many governance positions and their hard work can be undervalued. Throughout this learning process, I am developing a guide to promote the concept of equality between women and men in the organization’s activities. I am also supporting the gender team in the organization of events and activities. In communications, I am taking pictures of ACP activities and working on the creation of videos to highlight the importance of women’s role in the cocoa production process. It’s a way to showcase women as leaders in their communities and to make their work visible.

So far, the highlight of my internship is visiting farming families with ACP agronomists to learn more about the cultural context, the cocoa production process and the target population. I think real life experiences are eye-opening and the reality of the field is always a great way to educate yourself on a specific topic.

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