- Name: Jolene Tan (Mei Peng)
- Nationality: Malaysian
- City of Residence: Klang Valley
- Field/course of study: Bsc (Hons) Environmental Science
- Duration of internship: 3 ½ month(s). From June 2014 to Sept 15th 2014
General Reflection on the Internship
- Where did you hear about EcoKnights/MENGO and our internship program?
I was desperately looking for an internship during my summer break. It was not required by my university but I feel the need to have some working experience. Thus, I scrolled through the internet and here I found it!
- Why did you choose to work for an NGO?
I wanted to learn how an organization functions. Working for an NGO(s) gave me the opportunity to multitask, liaise with different stakeholder(s), from general public, government to private sector(s). It was a new experience for me as I have a very different working experience(s) from the past.
- Among all the NGO(s) in Malaysia, why EcoKnights/MENGO?
- I chose Ecoknights, because what they do are close to my personal values. “Inspiring sustainable living” and this is also to motivate myself to keep track on the field I had chosen. My studies and participation in Miss Malaysia Earth (3rd runner up) has helped me but I need more experiences thus, Ecoknights.
- Yasmin is an inspiration to me, she is eloquent, kind, brilliant, quick-minded and most importantly, she has a genuine heart to engage with the public to raise environmental awareness and promote sustainable living. She is passionate with what she does.
- I was looking for an environmental NGO that has the opportunities to learn to engage with different stakeholder(s) to resolve different environmental issues. Being able to follow Yasmin to meet different stakeholders and see how they resolve several environmental issues that were being brought up was rewarding. Everyone voiced out different strategies to resolve the issue over the table and from table to the fieldwork.
- I love to work with people who came from different backgrounds and nationalities.
- What are some of your day-to-day roles/responsibilities? Briefly explain your job description and your role in this internship. Complete them in point forms.
Oh wow, I was holding a position known as “Presidential Intern”. It sounds fancy, but there are a lot of tasks you are required to do and multitask. Mostly I am working closely with Yasmin (the Executive Director of Ecoknights),
- helping her on completing her daily tasks,
- Helping her to develop ideas and apply them (such as constructing different interview questions to the potential environmentalists and filmmakers.)
- I have to learn to construct presentation for (Miss Malaysia Earth sharing session) – shared by Yasmin, which is a platform for me to learn what is relevant to be presented, relevant materials to put into power-point and how to present it effectively.
- Helping to mail mass emails 445 letters to universities in Malaysia to invite students to attend KLEFF screenings and mail 200+ VIPs letters (Yasmin’s list)
- Helping Yasmin, Fadly and Andrew to gather relevant information(s) for their presentations.
- Learning to write proposal. (Something that I still need to refine on as it requires critical and creative thinking).
- Attend meetings with Yasmin, to understand how different stakeholders decide on dealing with several environmental issues.
- Work in weekend for some fundraising, tree-planting, public engagement activities and AH workshops. Help out in fairs.
- Key in Database. Just filing. Liaise with AH Finalists on Camera Renting.
- Organizing Preloved Items Sale for KLEFF with Amy
Key Learnings and Personal Development
- What are your goals and objectives in this internship? Were they met and how so? Offer specific examples.
- I hope to learn how an organization runs especially an environmental NGO run by people from various backgrounds, skills and nationalities. This is an organization run by 7 official staff and a few interns. Everyone has their own roles from finance, IT, fundraising / media, project manager, communication officer, etc, chairman (Yasmin). I enjoyed having WIP (weekly meeting) that everyone has to gather and discuss what everyone is up and company goals that has to be achieved in daily, weekly, timely manner. Vision and mission are being kept tracked as efficient as possible in timely manner. Yasmin is the main chairman, she has to oversee everyone’s tasks, and she is efficient in communicating with everyone in the organization. I was a junior in this and still learning to master it.
- Cooperation, communication, less complaints, stay positive, self-reflection, and be responsible with what you do are some keys I have learned about, but this internship has helped me to execute them more effectively.
- I also hope to improve my problem-solving skills from the perspectives of being practical, critical, creative and innovative. I was given a chance to work with Yasmin on constructing an effective presentation caters to the beauty pageant. It is important to understand the crowd and what message is important to be shared that is close to their heart. Learning on how to present the content are crucial. There were many trial and errors as I have to redo all the presentations several times before we agree on the content for presentation but definitely worth to go through.
- What are the biggest challenges you face within your internship? And how did you handle it?
I was sick terribly for the first three weeks. I have high fever on my first day. It causes me to be inefficient and unable to think creatively and be clear-minded on how to complete the tasks. It took me few weeks to construct interview questions. Somehow, one of the ways for me to compensate is to work at home after working hour(s) and try to complete many tasks as I can without troubling others.
- Do you face any communication barrier? Has this internship help you to enhance your communication skills?
Sort of, especially on presenting to the crowd, and convey the ideas in my head to others that are relevant and beneficial to them. Working closely with Yasmin definitely helped me to be able to present to the public more confidently. Express ideas in a much more orderly way too. Learning to be efficient and de-clutter my thoughts.
- Would you recommend future interns to intern in EcoKnights? Why?
Yes, I will! Everyone is different, and will gains different experiences due to different perspectives. We are unique, but definitely, in general we are able to learn to multitask more efficiently, learn to communicate effectively, learn to live more sustainably (learn to compost, make terrarium), dine together, laugh together, and celebrate together as well as home- cleaning together.