My Internship at CGHP

By Fiona Elliott, Intern

In this blog Fiona reflects on her time at CGHP, after spending 6 months with the team from October 2020 to April 2021.

Fiona joined CGHP as an intern in October 2020. Fiona has just completed an MA in Media and International Development at the University of East Anglia. She has experience working in and researching global health rights in Uganda, as well as volunteering in social inclusion at home and abroad.

After six months and two lockdowns, my time at Cambridge Global Health Partnerships is coming to an end. It now seems a little crazy that the first time I met the CGHP team in October we were talking about possibly being back in the office part time by March, clearly that did not transpire! Nonetheless, I have learnt heaps and thanks to the supportive nature of the CGHP team, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time.

Teamworking is something that I have thought a lot about during my internship, from talking to our members and partners or hearing speakers at the East of England Global Health Conference and our Global Health Café’s, the pandemic has reinstated how important working together is. I have just finished writing CGHP’s Volunteer Impact and Evaluation Report for the financial year 2019/20. To gather qualitative data, I had the pleasure of interviewing some of our members in the NHS. Without exception each mentioned the value of their respective healthcare teams throughout the past year. Whether that be their teams at work or their wider health partnership colleagues across the globe, I really got the sense that their time volunteering with CGHP left lasting impacts on individuals both personally and on the team dynamics they try to cultivate. Ultimately this has led to more positive working relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic and staff who are truly dynamic. It is a credit to the CGHP team that these teams and relationships have continued to flourish during the pandemic as CGHP shifted their work online.

Fiona joins the team. October 2020

I have joined partnership meetings which have brought together partners from the UK, Uganda, Myanmar, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe. It has been a pleasure to learn from colleagues working in global health across the globe and collaborate on events such as our ‘Zimbabwe X Cambridge’ Global Health Café which spoke to the importance of recognising the mental health toll the pandemic has taken. Our East of England Global Health Conference and Global Health Café’s have shown time again, how much collaboration is ongoing to strengthen health systems globally. I think the resilience of this team of people working in global health has reinstated that we really are a global village, and COVID-19 has shown just how global everyone’s health really is. To quote Bill and Melinda Gates, this is “the year global health went local”. [1] Whilst I had worked in global health and international development before, I have learnt how truly sustainable partnerships can be built between clinicians from different contexts. I really believe in the health partnership model and the outcomes it achieves. The perseverance of this global community has shone through during my time at CGHP.

My position as Intern at CGHP has been my first full-time paid job. My first day started after handing in my MA dissertation in Media and International Development at the University of East Anglia, so it was a tight turnaround! The CGHP team were so welcoming and supportive, despite being online they made this transition seamless. My internship has been a medley of Zoom calls, the occasional moan about the COVID-19 restrictions, but mostly importantly it has been characterised by significant personal and professional development. Working with the team and building strong working relationships has left a big impression on me and is something I’ll personally aim to cultivate in my future work. I wish the team all the best of luck as they continue to navigate the landscape of global health partnerships during COVID-19!

The team say a distanced goodbye to Fiona. March 2021

[1] Gates, 2021. The year global health went local – Our Annual Letter, 2021

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