Gaining global experience from a small office in the English countryside

Post by
emily king
October 10th 2018

From March until the end of September 2018, vet student Clara joined the Mission Rabies team at our HQ in Cranborne, UK. She has been an incredible asset to the team and on behalf of everyone here at Mission Rabies we would like to thank her for all her awesome ideas and commitment to supporting our projects. Here is her summary of her time with us!

A very warm welcome was offered to me on my first day at Mission Rabies headquarters in Cranborne. Snow was still covering the fields and streets outside, which is very unusual for this area. Thinking back to this day I cannot believe that 7 months have gone by so quickly.

When I applied for the internship with Mission Rabies little did I know what would really await me. I am certain that I will be able to refer back to the experience I gained during this time. The initial plan for me to work on just one project changed quickly and I took on more tasks and was glad to see the responsibilities entrusted to me. Summarizing the months I have spent here might even be the biggest challenge that Fred, our Global Operations Manager, put on my to-do list.

My main motivation for this internship was to get an insight into project management along a One Health related topic and the work it entails. Before this internship I had not had a 40 hour office job before and I have to admit sitting eight hours in front of a computer took me some time to get used to, but the diverse tasks I took on made me enjoy my work here a lot!

I started out focusing on this year’s vaccination campaign in Sri Lanka, which is set up in collaboration with Dogstar Foundation. I was put in charge of all aspects on the volunteer coordination side and launched right into it. However, I soon got the opportunity to research an area for a new project site, Bosomtwe District in Ghana, and to see a project being developed here from scratch. 

Our Sri Lankan campaign taught me what you have to keep in mind when you take international volunteers out into a field project, how to assess risks and make sure you put safety provisions in place to guarantee they are being cared for. In addition to that I was grateful for being part of the team setting up a new project. Even more so, I am excited to see it being implemented and coming alive.

My work here really introduced me to all aspects of the charity. During my studies in Vienna at the Veterinary University I did not get to use my creative skills that much and I must say I enjoyed working alongside our Graphic Designer, Adriana, who does an amazing job with her animations (MR Milestone) and to put blogs together with Emily, our Marketing Officer.

While I have spent most of my time here behind a desk, I did get the opportunity to travel as well. Thanks to my mother tongue being German I got to represent Mission Rabies and WVS at the Deutsche Vet Show in Cologne in March. For two days we were promoting the charities' work by talking to veterinarians and vet nurses visiting the show. One only realizes what is really needed to make a charity run when one sees even the less exciting side of it.

Soon after the German Vet Show I got to fly out to Malawi again. I joined this year’s mass vaccination drive in Blantyre for a week and had the pleasure to work alongside international volunteers and MR staff. The educational murals we painted on to school walls in Blantyre were certainly an experience I would not want to miss. Children were running around us, being curious and impatiently waiting for the paintings to be done. The importance of murals should not be underestimated and therefore we put a blog post on their power together.  

My third trip took me to Sri Lanka. Working alongside our small group of international volunteers and local staff from Dogstar Foundation was incredible. The teams really were a great force and pushed through the heat and humidity. Sri Lanka, with all its challenges, has a lot to offer. The beauty of the country is not only represented in the landscape and delicious variety of curries but also in the locals’ hospitality.

During my internship I tried to run a fundraiser for Mission Rabies. In doing so I joined two bikes rides, a 50 mile one in June and for some reason I decided to sign up for a 100 mile bike race in the New Forest in September as well. Yes, I did question my decision afterwards, especially because working in Sri Lanka did not give me the opportunity to actually train for the second one. In the end I am glad that I did it. By taking on these challenges for the charity I tried to show my friends and family back at home what amazing and important work it is that Mission Rabies is putting all their efforts into.

Reflecting now on the time I have spent here, I am confident to say that it was an incredibly positive experience and a valuable contribution to my education. I am very glad that I have dedicated my time to this charity. Not only did I learn a lot about project management but the current state of rabies elimination programmes has become a much clearer picture to me. I will definitely continue to fight rabies with the means that I have and won’t quit supporting this cause.

I want to thank everyone here at Mission Rabies headquarters and abroad, with whom I have had the privilege to work with for their support and friendship throughout this time.