Name of intern: Ifrah Hassan
CEU department and program: School of Public Policy, Master of Public Administration
Year of graduation: 2021
Name of internship host organization: Justice Project Pakistan
Name of unit you interned at organization: Advocacy Team
Role: Advocacy Intern (remote internship)
What did you do during your internship? Can you describe a typical day in the office?
During my advocacy internship at Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), my key areas of focus were a Covid-19 outbreak in the overcrowded prisons in Pakistan and working with different stakeholders to draft a provincial prison reforms bill.
My workday usually started at 7:00 or 8:00 AM because of the time difference. A typical day included Zoom discussions with the JPP team and external stakeholders over individual prison rules. This often required negotiations and intense debate over the content. I was often tasked before meetings with preparing policy briefs on topics such as international protocols and standards for transgender prisoners or rules regarding solitary confinement to guide the discussion from JPP’s side. Working on advocacy briefs usually took up the remainder of most workdays.
How did the internship help you implement your previous experience and your knowledge gained at CEU?
I was already familiar with the work of the organization because I had briefly worked in their Monitoring and Evaluation division/team before I started my master’s. However, advocacy was new to me. I drew on what I learned in CEU courses on rule of law and human rights as well as the skills I gained and improved upon through research assignments. This made the tasks easier and more manageable for me, even if I frequently had tight deadlines.
What is your advice to current students who are thinking of doing an internship?
Students should use an internship to explore specific functional areas to test whether these are things that they would want to do in the long run. It was really satisfying for me to know that the work I contributed to would have a significant impact and might lead to reforms in the law and the practices affecting a marginalized, neglected group. The potential impact could also be a consideration for future students.
What did you learn through this internship? How will this internship help you in your career?
Through direct participation in discussions with stakeholders involved in drafting a law, I learned not only about existing prison rules in Pakistan, thereby gaining a better understanding of areas requiring reform in light of international law, but also about negotiations and legal drafting. I also learned a lot about advocacy, negotiations for legislation design, and evaluation of policy responses that I hope will be useful in the future.
I hope that the work I did with the JPP Advocacy Team will help me forge connections with other human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Reprieve, or Harm Reduction International that work in the niche human rights area where JPP operates.