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Working for IOM Ukraine from the Other Side of the World

By Alana Ramcharran

Disclaimer: The views are those of the author's alone and do not represent the views of UNA-Canada.

Image 1: JPC Alana Ramcharran

My name is Alana Ramcharran, and I am a Junior Professional Consultant (JPC) for IOM Ukraine (International Organization for Migration Ukraine) in their Migration and Sustainable Development Unit. Due to COVID-19, I could not travel abroad but I still wanted to assist international communities somehow. Luckily, I came across this internship program.

During my internship, I am working remotely for IOM Ukraine from Ontario, Canada. Between Ontario and Ukraine, there is a seven-hour time difference with Ukraine being ahead in time. Resultantly, whenever I am working, my team in Ukraine is either finishing their workday or probably sleeping. Nevertheless, the work that I am doing is not only challenging but also fascinating. IOM Ukraine studies Migration in Ukraine from various aspects like sustainable development, gender equality, crisis response, etc. This is the first time I have worked for a country and/or organization that is facing conflict, so I always have to adapt to recent changes that occur. Also, a lot of the work has changed to target the ongoing crisis. The work that I have been doing involves monitoring and evaluation, diaspora engagement, and program support.

Image 2: Alana starting notes for work

One of my main projects was creating a questionnaire for IOM Ukraine’s SME (Small and Medium-Enterprises) Boost. SME Boost provides financial support and employment services for micro, small, and medium enterprises and engages with the diaspora to support these businesses. The SME Boost started in November 2021 but restructured its work due to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Resultantly, IOM Ukraine wanted to contact micro and small enterprises to see how the SME Boost has impacted their overall livelihood. I collaborated with my colleagues to create questions and used an online platform to create a prototype. I never made a technical questionnaire before and I learned to use a new platform to make it. I also realized many revisions were vital because there was always something new to add or change whether it was the question type or question responses.

Since I was in high school, I have always wanted to be involved in international development and this placement has allowed me to do so. I am learning a lot about Ukraine that I did not know before and I look forward to our team meetings because I get to learn about what different teams are doing. I am excited to make new connections and support the IOM Ukraine team during this time.


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