Learning on the Job
By Vivian Fridas
Vivian Fridas is one of eight participants in the 2014 Youth in International Development and Affairs (YIDA) internship program. She and other YIDA interns will be writing a series of blog posts about their experiences with the YIDA program this summer, to be posted at this blog. USICD coordinates the YIDA internship program, which brings a cohort of students and recent graduates with disabilities to Washington, DC, each summer to complete internships at various international organizations in the Washington, DC, area. Vivian Fridas is completing her YIDA internship at the National Democratic Institute (NDI). Learn more about the YIDA internship program at http://usicd.org/template/page.cfm?id=257. Read Vivian Fridas’ biography, and the biography of other YIDA interns in the summer 2014 program, at http://usicd.org/template/page.cfm?id=269. The views and opinions expressed at this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of USICD.
As the second week at my internship at the National Democratic Institute comes to a close, I find that I am grateful to be part of this wonderful opportunity and program. Through the avenue of YIDA I have been able to take my time in DC and build a network which will be advantageous to my future career goals and aspirations.
I am enjoying every possible moment at NDI. I learn something new everyday about international development, democracy building and dialogues, marginalized populations, and regional structures. I am placed on the Citizen Participation team at NDI. This team looks to strengthen the political clout and power of citizens through a series of civic engagement processes. The relationship between citizen and government is looked through a lens that includes creating change with increased citizen voice, political space, and government accountability. Furthermore, recent publications have explored equal access of people with disabilities in the political process. This analyzes how participation can be achieved through a variety of ways. The next level, which I will be working on closely will be to analyze post-election equal access to the political participation process for people with disabilities and how to remedy any barriers in place.