Name: ZHENG Yanwen, Emma
M.A. in Journalism
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Position: Communications Intern, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
Duration: May 2019 – January 2020 (8 months)
Sponsorship: United Nations Peace Development Foundation
Supervisor: Ms. Liu Shujun
From May 2019, I started working as a communications intern at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) China office. For me, the past eight months has been one of the most memorable and rewarding journeys in my life, during which I enhanced professional skills and broadened horizons.
Under the overall supervision and guidance of the communications officer, my major duties lie in assisting in preparing all communications materials, including writing, translating and editing press releases, statements, policy briefs, reports as well as newsletters, event announcements, web content, digital content and other targeted communications. Carrying out regular monitoring of national and international media resources on news reporting relevant to UNFPA and other UN agencies’ work in China was also part of my daily tasks. Therefore, I got many chances to exercise and improve my journalistic skills in the daily work.
Meanwhile, I also assisted in media and social media outreach, especially being responsible for Weibo operation and management in the later phase of my internship. The main advocacy UNFPA has been doing on social media platforms is to raise awareness among the general public on achieving the three zero goals--end unwanted pregnancy, end unmet need for family planning and end gender-based violence and harmful practices. That’s why we observe many important days such as World Population Day, World Humanitarian Day, International Youth day, International Day of the Midwife, etc. Taking those opportunities, we share information and knowledge on certain issues and advocate for good practices among the public.
I personally learned a lot in the process of drafting and preparing the social media posts, particularly when making efforts to adapt and localize the content from a global perspective to the context in China. One achievement worth mentioning is the one-week campaign we launched in commemoration of 2019 World Population Day, during which I designed the poster, edited infographics, drafted posts and actively interacted with online audience. In the end, we reached 195,000 people in total and fostered fruitful discussion and conversation about issues relating to UNFPA’s mandate, such as maternal and child health, healthy ageing, youth participation and leadership.
Moreover, as 2019 was a special year which marks the 50 years of the founding of UNFPA, the 40 years of the United Nations’ presence in China, and the 25 years’ anniversary of the landmark International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), I got the chance to participate and assist in a series of commemoration events both inside and outside the office. When making the publication UNFPA and China: 40 Years of Cooperation on Population and Development (1979-2019), I drafted a chapter on the milestone stories in a decade, collected historical photos and reached out to different government sectors for feedback and comments on respective content. Also, I have been fully involved in the production of the commemoration video on UNFPA 40 years’ anniversary in China, assisting in writing scripts, selecting interview clips and translating subtitles. It was a huge pleasure and sense of accomplishment when we finally get the products after rounds of review and rectification.
Besides regular work, I also provided organizational and logistical support for the office’s offline advocacy activities. For example, in Oct. 2019, UNFPA China launched a Youth Dialogue as the warm-up for the upcoming Nairobi Summit on 25 years of ICPD. In order to tell the story of ICPD in terms of real life and give the public a better understanding of the ICPD principles, the office brought the Humans of ICPD Exhibition from UNFPA Asia and Pacific Regional Office in Bangkok to Beijing and held it at the UN Compound during the event. Assigned by my supervisor, I took charge of the content translation, editing and coordination for manufacturing. Being a first-time “curator”, I got a strong sense of achievement when seeing the audience walk around, stop, watch and discuss about the exhibition.
In addition, I also worked as a volunteer responsible for coordinating the performances at the 2019 UN Day Event commemorating the 40th anniversary of the UN’s presence in China, which hosted around 800 people from government agencies, the diplomatic corps, international organizations and the private sectors across China. Regarding influencer outreach, I assisted in identifying and establishing partnership with a young celebrity to be appointed as the first Youth Champion for UNFPA China and have worked closely with his agency for several advocacy events, from which I accumulated valuable experience on celebrity collaboration.
Overall, I think I have learned a lot and gained rapid growth as being fully involved in UNFPA’s communication work in Chinese context. I really appreciate for being giving such a good opportunity to be an intern there.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to my supervisor Ms. Liu Shujun, who allows me to be fully involved in the all communication related work and gives me detailed instructions, guidance and timely feedback on each assignment, from which I learned a lot. I also want to express many thanks to all program staff for their kind help and support every time I came to them, either for enquiring about or collecting something. Meanwhile, it’s a pleasure to encounter and become good friends with other like-minded fellows in the office. Last but not least, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to United Nations Peace Development Foundation for their generous sponsorship and unfailing support throughout the internship, which enables us to sustain ourselves in a first-tier city like Beijing and also get connected with other interns.
At the end of my internship, I have firmly made up my mind that I would like to pursue my career in the development area. I also hope to work as a UN personnel in the future to make endeavors in achieving Sustainable Development Goals and Leaving No One Behind.