Abibata Shanni Mahama is a second year MPA student concentrating in Economic and Political Development. I asked her to share about her internship this past summer and she wrote the following.
My summer vacation was in two folds. On the one hand, it was fun and exciting to re-unite with my family after being away in school for several months. I spent quality time with my kids and husband, friends and other family members for about a month. However, after this period, I got very tight with my internship at the Institute of Economic Affairs, Ghana. It offered me the opportunity to relate my academic work to industry because the organization has four main departments: Economic and Policy Analysis, Governance, Research and Programs.
I had insight into the processes involved with the formulation and implementation of government policies from the series of round table discussions that were held at the organization by eminent professionals. My passion for teamwork was mostly at play by my engagement in consultative and round table discussions that characterized programs of the organization.
My duties at the Institute of Economic Affairs included the following:
1. Prepared a contact list of all members of parliament of Ghana containing the names, political parties, constituencies and the contact addresses and a segregated list of leadership of the house of parliament.
2. Built a list of cabinet and non-cabinet Ministers with their respective ministries locations and contact details.
3. Assisted in compiling the list of leadership of select stakeholder institutions in civil society and public sector, as well as distributing invitation letters and contacting them on phone to remind them of in-house and off-site workshops or meetings that are organized by the Institute of Economic Affairs.
4. Helped in organizing logistics and preparing venues for meetings that are to be held at the IEA.
5. Worked as scribe in caucus and platform meetings with the leadership of political parties where government policies are evaluated and debated.
6. Took part in discussions of the various meetings and discussions, most of which were of significant national interest. This was a great learning experience for me.
The Institute of Economic Affairs has contributed immensely to the deepening of democracy and promotion of good governance as the premier organization in public policy in Ghana. The tremendous effort that the Institute has installed in the Ghanaian populace regarding issues of democracy is highly remarkable. IEA creates among others, forums where opposition parties and the ruling party meet to deliberate on issues of national importance once every month.
In my view, this practice enriches democracy and paves the way for transparency. They also hold workshops, seminars and round table discussions with stakeholders, politicians and experts periodically at their premises where I benefited tremendously because I had the opportunity in participating actively to discussions at these forums. Besides, I gained a lot of experience in public policy concerns, professional ethics and I built a great network with stakeholders, policy makers and experts from different fields.
Being a citizen of Ghana, I was able to provide significant input on policy guidelines needed to shape local issues particularly relating to my native region, the Northern region of Ghana. In fact, IEA is a great institution that does my course-related policy and governance issues. My internship with them has indeed received commendation across board.
The following are photographs of me at round table discussion on “Improving the Trade Policy in Ghana”.