Insights into the life of a JOA Programme Associate

13 February 2023 | Zoe Pannenborg
Zoe Pannenborg explains what her role as JOA's current Programme Associate has entailed over the last few months

Although my time as a Programme Associate only began in October 2022, I have already gained so much from this incredible opportunity. Following a recent change to the role, I am lucky enough to be the first intern to spend six months in the JOA office, followed by six months in the office of our partner, Street Child, and then a further six months in the field – giving me more time in the JOA office than previous interns. This extended period means I have been able to amplify my knowledge of the inner workings of a donor organisation. I have already gained experience first-hand of the diversity of roles and activities within the development and humanitarian sector and definitely don’t have time to twiddle my thumbs. There’s never a quiet day in the JOA office.

Since starting at JOA I have been involved in a wide variety of team activities including communications, local outreach, emergencies and international development projects. The scheme has also supported me in widening my knowledge on the fundamentals of project management through the Bond DPro Project Management Certification. The course ran over an eight-week period which involved weekly individual self-study activities, online discussion forums and facilitated live sessions concluding with an exam – I now have an internationally recognised qualification.

This course has been extremely beneficial to my role as I had little experience in the structure and running of projects in the development and humanitarian sector prior to my placement. I’m now confident in my knowledge of phases of the project cycle, inputs and outputs of each stage and can interpret logical frameworks. The knowledge I have gained through this course has massively assisted in my ability to take on more tasks, such as assessing and providing feedback on project reports, evaluating log frames and relevant indicators.

After two months at JOA it was time for some ‘team bonding’ in the beautiful location of Basingstoke. Each year – like many other development and humanitarian organisations – JOA’s team undertakes Hostile Environment Awareness Training (HEAT). This training is designed to provide people travelling overseas to work in potentially hostile or otherwise challenging contexts with first aid and security training. The training was balanced between classroom-based theory – wherein security and protection briefings were conducted alongside basic life support and trauma training – and a practical simulation day. Our simulation ‘mission’ involved us travelling across a border into a rural community to discuss the benefits of our dairy and conservation livelihoods projects. The scenarios which we encountered throughout the day were designed to put our security, negotiation and first aid skills to the test. While I’m hopeful that most of the skills I’ve learned won’t have to be put into practice, I now feel much more confident in my ability to deal with any travel security risks.

An area of JOA’s work which may not be as familiar to the Jersey public is local outreach. As I learnt first-hand in 6th form, young people in Jersey do not always have exposure to, or opportunities to gain experience in, the international development / humanitarian sectors and the endless variety of career opportunities within these sectors. Through an interactive workshop we hope to open students’ eyes not only to who JOA is but the field of international development and humanitarian aid. I’ve had the opportunity to help deliver these workshops to several schools, receiving extremely positive feedback from the students and teachers. We hope to role this workshop out to more schools and continue to spark the interest of young people in the importance of international development and humanitarianism.

As I continue to tap away at my keyboard, I realise that you have probably read enough for today! Whilst I could continue to talk about my knowledge and engagement of JOA’s rigorous international development grant assessment process, I will save this for another day. Despite loving my time in the JOA office – I am extremely excited for the next stage of my placement with Street Child.

Please visit our Jobs page for details of latest Programme Associate openings and how to apply:

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