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					Internship:                   Firm-Funded International Human Rights Internship
Sponsoring Firm:              Baker & McKenzie (Toronto)
Placement Organization:       Journalists for Human Rights
Location:                     Accra, Ghana
Dates:                        July-August 2003

         In the summer of 2003 I participated in a split-summer opportunity: for the first
half of the summer I worked for the law firm of Baker & McKenzie (Toronto), and for
the second half of the summer I worked for a non-governmental organization –
Journalists for Human Rights – in Accra, Ghana. In this report I focus on two aspects of
this latter experience: (1) the nature of the work, and (2) the experience of living in
Ghana.

Work
       Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) is a Canadian-based non-governmental
organization that places interns in relevant Ghanaian organizations. My placement –
along with two other University of Toronto law students, Tara Cochrane and Emily Mak
– was with the Wisdom Association, a group lobbying for improved rights and respect for
people living with HIV/AIDS in Ghana.
       Our role within the Wisdom Association was broadly threefold. First, we
researched the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS under the Ghanaian constitution
and domestic statutes. We presented our findings in a memorandum, and we also led two
presentations for members of the group. Second, we drafted a set of guidelines to assist
the executive of the group to interact successfully with the media. We submitted these
guidelines to other JHR members so that they could conduct media training with
individual executive members. Third, we drafted a set of guidelines for members of the
news media to report accurately and fairly on the subject of people living with
HIV/AIDS. Again, we submitted these guidelines to other JHR members on the
understanding that they would liaise with the Ghanaian Journalists’ Association to
implement the guidelines.

Living in Ghana
        I found Ghana to be an extremely liveable country. It is relatively safe – people
walk around at all hours, and I never felt as though my personal safety was endangered –
although you would be advised to take the same sensible precautions that you would take
in any new environment. Public transportation, while somewhat unreliable and slow, is
extensive and, for someone coming from a developed country, highly affordable. Ghana
has great natural beauty: particular highlights for me include a trip to Mole National Park
in the north of the country, an eco-tour in the mountains in the central region, and hiking
among waterfalls in the eastern part of the country. Finally, and perhaps most
importantly, Ghanaians tend to be extremely friendly and welcoming.
        Very likely, the biggest frustration that a visitor to Ghana will encounter involves
the relative lack of amenities. We were fortunate to live in a house – organized through
JHR – that had running (cold) water and flush toilets. Other nuisances included walking
down the street next to open sewers, remembering to avoid drinking tap water, swatting
mosquitoes almost constantly, and dodging erratically driven cars. However, these are all
relatively minor concerns – you can easily adapt to them, and the advantages of living in
Ghana far outweigh them.

				
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posted:9/15/2012
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