Name: SHEN Yunbing
Master in Pharmacognosy
Position: Coordination Intern at United Nations Population Fund
Duration: July-September 2017 (3 months)
Sponsorship: United Nations Peace and Development Foundation
Supervisor: Soyoltuya Bayaraa
When I reflect back on prior summer holidays, this summer is absolutely the most special one. This summer I had a chance to join United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) as an intern sponsored by the Peace and Development Foundation (PDF). During my 3-month tenure, I had witnessed and participated in a lot of events and projects. Also, I met lots of talented and amazing people here who share many of the same interests, values and dreams as me.
What is UNFPA?
Established in 1969, UNFPA is the world’s largest internationally funded supporter of population cooperation. It is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where: every pregnancy is wanted; every childbirth is safe; every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
Guided by the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development Program of Action (ICPD PoA) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), UNFPA partners with governments, civil society, media, academia, other UN agencies and the private sector to advance its mission.
UNFPA started to work with the Government of China since 1979 by implementing seven cycles of 5-year country programs on priority population and reproductive health issues. UNFPA’s work mainly focused on the following four areas: Population dynamics (PD), sexual and reproductive health (SRH), adolescent and youth, gender equality and women’s empowerment.
The year of 2016 is the beginning of the Eighth Country Program in China. The program is aligned with current national priorities outlined in 13th Five Year Plan for National Economics and Social Development for 2016-2020, and it will contribute to the United Nations Development Assistance Framework for the same period.
Work in UNFPA
Our team mainly focused on coordinating and facilitating meetings, missions and cooperation between UNFPA and the Government of China, such as National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC), China Population and Development Research Center (CPDRC), Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), Ministry of Education (MOE) and so on, also with other Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) like The George Institute (TGI) and other UN agencies.
As per my duties, I am mainly responsible for translating document, assisting meeting arrangement, and writing South-South Triangular Cooperation (SSTC) concept note summaries and proposal drafts.
1. Document translation - never underweight your translation work
Documents including proposals, meeting arrangements, meeting invitations, policy briefs and other official documents were translated into both English and Chinese. When I first arrived here, I was enrolled into lots of translations works from different working areas This was the first time I participated in large amounts of translation work. The work was difficult for me in the beginning due to the academic and political terms I was not familiar with. But after completing a few tasks, I was starting to get familiar with the background and purpose of UNFPA's actions which provide me a good foundation to start some other new tasks. To sum up, even though continuous translation work is very tedious, it will give a clearer picture of host agency's mission and lead us to a better understanding of the meaning of UNFPA’s work to another level.
2. Meeting assistance – get a better understanding of a meeting
On August the 4th 2017, a roundtable meeting on “women’s health through life course and empowerment” was held in Park Plaza Beijing Science Park. During my stay, I was fortunate enough to be recruited into the meeting arrangement team. I assisted the meeting team in translating meeting schedule and slides and preparing the meeting package materials. Through meeting assistance, I started to have a whole view of not only meeting arrangement but also professional perspective. From then on, I realized that women’s health issues throughout their life course including sexual and reproductive health is closely related with their children, family and society, which is critical for achieving gender equality and empowerment of women and girls. I do believe that all these ideas will guide me towards a better way to live in the future.
3. SSTC concept note summary writing – post the most important things ahead
The main purpose of writing concept note summary is to help people without professional background more easily understand the current situation happening in the specific country, the strategy we are going to take and the outputs we will achieve in the near future. The main challenge of this task was extracting key information from a twenty-pages concept note and condensing them into one-page summary. Each part of the concept note like background, purpose, strategies and outputs should be included into the summary. Different infographics were designed to visualize the data of the concept note in order to clarify the different situation of each country. This precious experience brought my analytic, visualization and presentation skills to another level.
Study in UNFPA
In UNFPA, learning things is very easy. If I had any questions or problems, my colleagues were happy to help. Even if they were occupied by some things and couldn’t answer my questions promptly, they would soon arrange a meeting to help me solve the problems. Also, interns here are provided with lots of opportunities to attend different kinds of high-level events and meetings. in the past several months, I attended several meetings or events with different themes, like the 10th China (International) Medical Consumables Conference, next generation speaks held by WHO, Youth-led HIV prevention advocacy event held by UNICEF, and many more. By attending those high-level events, we got to know how the UN system functions and to look at the same issues with different perspectives.
Life in UNFPA
My life in the UNFPA is awesome. I love the multi-cultural environment here. Everyone in the office is very nice to us interns. Each intern will have their welcome party and farewell party. Colleagues here are very considerable. I still remembered that I got acute appendicitis last month, and received medical treatment for several days. During this period, all of colleagues sent their greetings in various ways and cared for me after I came back to work. I would always cherish this memory and keep it in my mind. Besides, we had lots of group activities together, like enjoy Beijing Opera, watch Chinese drama and have a tour to the Forbidden City, Beihai Park, 798 Art Zone, Houhai, Great Wall, etc. I was so lucky that during my stay I made many friends. We always had lunch together and shared our stories, ideas and dreams. After a summer, all of us became very close friend and formed a tight bond. Saying goodbye to these wonderful people is extremely difficult for me, but I do believe we will see each other again in the future.
Life is an adventure; everyone should find their way to live a good life, no matter what happens during this process. This is my short stay in UNFPA, only 3 months in total, but I learned a lot from my supervisor and colleagues, their knowledge and positive attitude will have a long-term influence on me. In the future, even if I devote myself into the other areas, this remarkable experience will never fade away.
At last, I'd like to say thanks to Soyoltuya Bayaraa, Sae-Ryo Kim, Wang Ye, Wen Hua, Peng Jiong, Guo Wei, Fang Qiang, Zhang Xinyi, Jes Lam, Ryan Chan and Per Emil Svare for their help during my stay. Also, many thanks to Josie and other PDF staffs for the opportunities and support they have provided for me during my internship.