Celebrating the successes of our AFoCO interns

Supported by Korea Forestry Promotion Institute (KoFPI), Ms. Juyoung Yang, Ms. Lee Yeji, and Ms. Lee Yeonji embarked on their 3-month internship journey from March 2 to May 31 at the AFoCO Secretariat. As AFoCO interns, they had the opportunity to actively participate in the regular work of the organization as well as the XV World Forestry Congress (WFC). The interns have previously been engaged in various international forestry-related activities and experiences and began their AFoCO internship with great passion and motivation. On the last day of their internship, the interns presented their experiences, and outcomes to the supervising program officers, fellowship officials, and Vice Executive Director of AFoCO. This article shares their stories and experiences during their stint at AFoCO.

“Hi, I am Yeji Lee, and I recently graduated with a Bachelor’s in forest management and resources. During my internship, I was assigned to the Development and Evaluation Team under the Cooperation and Project Division. I have closely worked on “The development of Project Proposal on REDD+ Feasibility Study in Cambodia and Mongolia in the context of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Management for the Public-Private sector.” I learned how the REDD+ project is developed and how the private sector can be involved in AFoCO through the AFoCO Green Partnership and other ways. Working in my team led me to be more interested in the private sector engagement in forestry in the form of CSV over CSR. This curiosity motivated me to research more case studies of private sector engagement, and I will keep this momentum. Moreover, I had the opportunity to publish four articles on the website, which helped me with my English writing.

 My biggest achievement is that I organized the meeting between the AFoCO Executive Director and International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA) delegates at the WFC. The meeting laid the ground for AFoCO and IFSA’s further conversations on future collaboration and partnership opportunities. Fortunately, the WFC happened during my internship period, so I was able to serve as the connecting bridge between them in my capacity as an IFSA member. Through the process of planning and preparing for the meeting, I raised the importance of the youth in AFoCO and promoted AFoCO to a global youth audience as well. I look forward to contributing to further collaboration between AFoCO and IFSA even after my internship!

I believe that AFoCO is a perfect platform where the interns can build a strong network with the staff and Fellowship Officials. I learned new knowledge from the senior staff by working with them and actively asking questions. Also, I would like to recommend getting along well with the other interns. Yeonji, Juyoung, and I became great life-long friends while working together on various events and projects as a team during the internship. My last tip is always to be curious about forestry and take this internship as an opportunity to answer the questions you have on your mind. By the time it ends, you will see yourself grow a lot more.”

Lee Yeji, Development and Evaluation Team

“My name is Yeonji Lee, and major in Environmental Science and Ecological Engineering at Korea University. I applied for the KoFPI Overseas Internship Program to broaden my knowledge of international cooperation. AFoCO caught my attention because I wanted to narrow down my areas of interest in the forestry field, and I thought AFoCO was the best place to learn about global forestry agendas. I served as an intern in the Strategy & Outreach team, and my main task was to assist meetings and events, including the Sixth Session of Assembly, GCF webinar, and XV WFC. Also, I planned and uploaded social media content on Instagram and analyzed the statistics. Moreover, I had a great chance to contribute to the development of the AFoCO GIS-based project map. 

While drafting the meeting discussion paper for the 2nd AFoCO Ministerial, I learned about the challenges and opportunities in the forestry sector in Asia. I also realized that the priorities in the forestry sector are different depending on the country and noticed the capacity gaps in the forestry inventory sector. This experience motivated me to learn more about forest inventory and remote sensing in further studies. Additionally, I gained document research skills, problem-solving skills, and oral & written communication skills during the internship. 

The most memorable moment while working as an intern was when I first saw the completed AFoCO booth in the WFC exhibition hall after the installation process. I spent a lot of time and effort with the WFC exhibition team to conceptualize, and direct the design of the booth and even graphically designed parts of the booth. I also researched the forestry policies, missions, and characteristics of AFoCO’s16 member countries to create the country overview section in the booth. I was delighted to see the successfully designed booth.

I would gladly give some tips to the following interns. Set up your own goals you want to achieve during the period, and don’t hesitate to get help and advice from the program officers. Also, try to maximize your skills and knowledge during the internship period. I am sure that if you learn proactively, the AFoCO internship program will provide you with a valuable opportunity to grow and develop!

Lee Yeonji, Strategy and Outreach Team

“Hello everyone! I’m Juyoung Yang and I am a part of the AFoCO Regional Education and Training Center (RETC) team. I want to stress that this internship was truly valuable since I got to explore various international conferences and drafted a lot of reports in English. As an intern in the RETC team, I assisted in forestry capacity-building conferences by closely communicating with the member countries’ forestry officials and was in charge of workshop reports.

Moreover, as the only intern who majored in food and nutrition, I wanted to use my unique background to contribute to the future of the RETC team’s capacity-building workshops. Therefore, I wrote a 21 page-long project proposal on ‘How can agroforestry benefit Indonesia on a nutritional level.’ Through the developemnt of this project proposal, I learned deeply about AFoCO’s problem tree and stakeholder analysis, which were efficient in formulating practical and feasible solutions.

I think it’s essential for prospective interns to be proactive, confident, and creative during the internship period. AFoCO regards the intern’s opinions and suggestions notably. Be proactive and confident even when there are situations you find overwhelming. For instance, when I was participating and monitoring the training about forest conflict, I was at first under a lot of stress because all the other participants were experts in their area. However, as I tried to express my thoughts actively, I learned more about forestry and had a chance to expand my network in this area. I have also found that being creative is an excellent asset for interns since we can bring fresh new ideas with a young and passionate spirit.

Last but certainly not least, we all hope that the future interns become close friends and help each other whenever there are some problems during the internship, as we three interns were much stronger together.”

Yang Juyoung, Regional Education and Training Center (RETC) Team
(L to R) Ms. Lee Yeji, Ms. Lee Yeonji, Ms. and Yang Juyoung and at the XV WFC held from May 2 to 6, 2022

AFoCO wishes the interns success in their careers and future endeavors!

Contributed by Lee Yeji, Lee Yeonji, and Yang Juyoung, 2022 AFoCO Interns

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