Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) student Juan Facundo is working with the Organizacion Femenina Popular as a 2020 LR Wilson Intern at Mount Allison
1. What is your summer internship?
My summer internship is with the Organizacion Femenina Popular (OFP). They are the oldest feminist organization in Colombia and have served the Middle Magdalen Region for over 48 years. They have provided psychological, legal, and economic help to the women of the region. My role this summer was to aid in communications (social media and translation), fund raising (spear heading a crowdfunding campaign), and running an online English classroom for their youth program.
2. What do you hope to take away from this experience?
The biggest take away from this experience has been working with an organization who has resisted and persevered through wide range of challenges throughout their 48-year history. Learning about the various ways that the women of the region have dealt with direct threats of violence and economic adversity, by joining together, has provided me with a new perspective of how communities can create sanctuaries of peace in the middle of adverse situations.
3. What has been your favourite part of the internship experience so far?
My favorite part of my internship was working with the OFP youth through our online English classes. I really enjoyed providing the students a space where they could get excited about their own interests through the English language. Another project that I have enjoyed spearheading is a crowdfunding campaign. With the help of Amnesty International Mount Allison and CHMA we have been able to raise over 2,000 dollars in about two weeks. We are currently raising funds to help the OFP build their very own radio station. This radio station would be the first of its kind in the region as it would be exclusively women-operated. I think that by allowing women to create and communicate their own narrative, the community at large benefits greatly. Especially as it heals from the longest running civil war in history.
4. What extracurriculars are you involved in on and off campus?
I am currently the co-president of the Amnesty International group at Mount Allison as well as the co-president of the PPE society. I am a big brother in the Big Brother and Big sisters of Moncton chapter. I am also a board member of Sappyfest and I have started to volunteer for community connect and helped out at Lettuce Eat.
5. What is one piece of advice you would give to your first-year self?
I would tell my first-year self that it is ok to be interested in a lot of different subjects. Also, that you should follow your instincts when it comes to picking the types of clubs and people that you want to spend time with during your time at Mount Allison. Look for opportunities and remember that instilling good habits will help you tremendously in the long run.
Bonus question: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your internship?
My internship was hugely affected by the pandemic as I was planning on traveling to Colombia this summer. I had to reinvent my internship so that it would be feasible to do from home. I want to thank the experiential learning staff for helping me through this and also the OFP for being so flexible in these extraordinary circumstances.
Established by Lynton (Red) Wilson (LLD ’00) in 2015, the L.R. Wilson Internships provide students in Mount Allison University's Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE) Program with an opportunity to gain valuable experience working as a summer intern in an organization with a public policy or public service focus. Each year up to three students are selected through a competitive process. Students who are in their third year at the time of the application will be given priority in the selection process.
Photo caption: OFP presentation with some of the organization’s students. Juan Facundo is pictured top row, centre. Included in the picture are Kelly Campo (Co-ordinator of the Economic Autonomy Program) and Carlos Galvan (Communication Director).