In the capitalism driven world we live in today every second that we waste seems to be adding up to the insecurity and uncertainty of the future. Especially being a student, it is crucial for us to remain productive even during summer breaks through courses or internships. On the other hand, it is equally important that the work environment one indulges in is an inclusive and productive one. I have been privileged enough to be a part of the SDGs secretariat as an internee. For a first-time internee I had quite a few reservations about the work environment as most peers had dismissive opinions for general office environment. However, my experience so far remains contrasted.
The task force of SDGs secretariat has been as welcoming as an educational institution. The head, respected Ma’am Romina Khurshid Alam and the InCharge respected miss Mehreen have benevolently taught the young internees as in elementary schools. This learning is not confined to hard skills, but also include soft skills. We are given a platform to speak and ask freely. The new internees are also deliberately taught the difference of language, setting and ethics of a workplace and an educational institution. The use of bright colored furniture and lights further adds to the welcoming environment. We were also given the opportunity to manage the national meet on SDGs 2022, attended by renowned CEOs and honorable ministers. This event specifically polished my soft skills such as communication, tolerance, time management, coordination and more importantly teamwork.
The experience has also further educated me about the environment in the parliament of Pakistan. Contrary to popular belief, this prestigious institution is quite welcoming towards the youth. They value the opinions of the youth and encourage us to further dwell into the environment to better understand the offices we will be running in the future.
Typically, the SDGs program has seen criticism as to the goals being too unrealistic and hence working on these could be a waste of time. I may have held the same school of thought before experiencing the work being done firsthand. I have concluded that the goals are spot on with the fundamental Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which, in a nutshell, states that humans can focus more on innovation when their basic needs such as food, water and shelter are secured. The SDGs task force prioritizes no poverty, no hunger and good health, so people would be more instilled on innovations and technology in all fields oflife and ultimately be able to contribute to achieving the rest of the goals. For me the program has also raised fundamental questions like is poverty politically fueled? do the achievements of these goals really assure a secure future of the nation? will the efforts of all the internees and employees prove fruitful in heat of the political turmoil? will the political parties stand one on the SDGs development program as it is a true showcase of “for the people, by the people”? For me and all others who are eager to learn and curious to find these answers, SDGs secretariat is an efficient platform.
My name is Shadab Ali, and I am an undergrad student of Political Science at FC College, Lahore. When I was selected for the internship at the National Assembly, I was posted to the SDG’s secretariat. Before that day, I had never heard of SDGs, and after joining the SDGs, I came to know that Sustainable Development Goals are part of the United Nations Agenda of 2030 for which Pakistan has created a Parliamentary Task Force. In the first week of my internship, I got a chance to be part of the organiser team of the two-day National Meet on SDGs 2022, which was held on July 27th 28th in Islamabad. Looking back at my experience at this National Meet.
It was my first national conference, and I was able to learn very much from this experience. As a student getting exposed to all new things through this National Meet, I learnt new interpersonal skills like teamwork, responsibility, dependability, patience, time management, and empathy by having good and bad experiences and I also made some good memories. My greatest learning comes from the people I meet and the interactions I have with them. Teamwork and coordination for something this big was never easy, but the experience was worth it all. A small team of chairs and volunteers worked very hard together to make this National Meet a success. I cannot acknowledge each one personally, but I would like to mention our Honorable Convener, Ms. Romina Khurshid Alam who believed in her young intenrs for this big challenge, and we did not disappoint her by delivering what we were expected to deliver.
Other than learning interpersonal skills, experiencing the parliamentary dialogues in parallel breakout sessions from a close, helped me a lot in order to understand the interaction among the National and Provincial legislators. And I was delighted by the friendly and charismatic atmosphere that was expressed by all the participants from all the provinces, including Gilgit and AJK. Despite of their different political backgrounds, all legislators from every province got involved in the discussion on the current issues that their provinces are facing related to achieving SDGs goals.
To summarize, gaining work experience is critical for increasing your employability, especially as a student, and the SDGs Secretariat, particularly this National Meet on SDGs, assisted me in this. My first two weeks at SDGs Secretariat not only allowed me to grow personally, but it also helped me to gain new skills in basic coordination experience that I did not previously have.
My internship at the National Assembly began on July 25, 2022. I became a member of the Department for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) because I had only heard of the National Assembly previously and had no idea that I would have the chance to work there, it was a dream come true for me to be there. When I entered my wing, I was greeted by my mentor, who was quite modest and friendly. I had a lot of questions running through my head before I met them, which made me incredibly anxious and afraid. I truly knew nothing and was unsure if I would be able to finish the assignment assigned to me successfully or not.
It was an honor to be a member of the SDGs Parliamentary Taskforce. My fellow interns and the kind mentors who helped me in every step of the way to completing each task I was given gave me an excellent experience. Due to my joining being close to the National Meet, I was given chores pertaining to the event and during that time I learned to be interactive, patient, and focused on my tasks.
Knowing that I was contributing to a positive change in Pakistan as I worked on the SDGs made me feel blessed. I was a member of the group in charge of organizing the National Meet on Sustainable Development Goals, an occasion designed to raise awareness of the SDGs.
As an usher during the National Meet on SDGs, I assisted in seating our Honorable MNAs, Ambassadors, and MPAs. Along with developing my interpersonal skills, closely observing the parliamentary discussions in the concurrent breakout sessions also aided in my understanding of how National and Provincial legislators interacted. And the welcoming and charismatic mood that was demonstrated by all of the participants from all the regions, including Gilgit and AJK, delighted me. Despite having differing political histories, every province—including AJK and Gligit—is united. All provincial lawmakers participated in the discussion on the present challenges that their provinces are facing linked to achieving the SDGs, despite having various political backgrounds. I also attend different sessions along with MNAs and ambassadors in which they discuss different agendas of SDGs. Overall, it was an excellent experience. I gained a lot of knowledge from my time spent working with the SDGs secretariat, and I hope to take part in taskforce events in the future as
Tashfeen Hameed Pasha
On 25th July 2022, my first day of Internship at National Assembly, I joined the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Department. It was a dream for me to be in National Assembly because I had only heard about it before and did not know that I will get the opportunity to work there. When I went inside my department, I met with my mentors who were very humble and kind. Before meeting them, I was very nervous and scared because many questions were swirling in my mind. I literally did not know about anything and was uncertain whether I will be able to complete the tasks given to me efficiently or not. When I met my mentors, I knew that I was nervous for nothing because they were so kind and nice to all of us interns.
Two days after my joining, there was a national meet which was held for two days, that is, 27th July and 28th July 2022 and it was organized by the SDGs department. In that meet, the guests were our Honorable MNAs and MPAs. Our mentors gave different tasks all of the interns who were USHERS at the meet. The task given to me was of coordination and security. As it was a very important task and there was no room for error, I learned how to do the work in a calm, patient, and an efficient manner without letting my nerves get to me. By listening to the various presentations of different provinces, I got an idea of the problems and hurdles which are being faced by different provinces. The interesting part was that all the guests were paying attention to the problems presented by the representative of each province and were listening to him / her calmly. I found this interesting because sometimes the media shows us the negative side of the things or just one side of the story by probably implying that the government is not focused on the development of the country. As we all know that media plays a very vital role, sometimes just for the sake of increased TRPs, they twist the narrative to be beneficial for them.
After about a week of my internship at the SDGs department, I am now much more motivated to study and learn about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) formulated by the United Nations (UN) and their importance in our economy. Furthermore, I want to analyze the problems which are acting as obstacles in the achievement of the SDGs and the possible solutions to those problems.