This week marks the beginning of an exciting journey for the three of us: the SDG traineeship has officially started! For the next 14 weeks, we’ll get together every Tuesday and think about how to implement the changes we want to see in the world—and that the world so urgently needs—guided by the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Sarah Gane, our coach, introduced us to our clients, Continua and the Climate Governance Commission, and the project we’ll be working on. They challenge us to research and write a policy paper on how regenerative approaches to democracy can be applied to current development and governance models and help us overcome global crises. That means we will work more closely with SDGs 16 and 17:
As we got to know each other better, we learned that we come from different backgrounds and countries (Brazil, Germany, and China), yet we all pursue a degree in the field of politics and/or development. We are also very excited to welcome another team member at the end of September and, with a team of four, we hope that our different perspectives and common interests will keep the experience enriching and fun!
Training 1: Working Professionally The first SDG traineeship workshop was on how to work professionally and an opportunity to get to know our team members. Through this workshop, the members of our group got to know each other better in terms of backgrounds, personalities, work habits, and other personal details through a series of breakout room quizzes.
The quiz questions were all well-structured, which helped to break the ice and start building trust and solidarity as team members. Meanwhile, certain teamwork skills like interpersonal communication, conflict resolution, work ethic and others that go hand in hand with professionalism were also presented in the workshop, which is really useful for a diverse team like ours that is dispersed in different cities to work collaboratively.
It was absolutely a very inspiring workshop, which allowed us to feel connected to our team members and be optimistic and enthusiastic about the coming weeks. Furthermore, the practical work skills provided within this workshop are not only helpful to our project but also to our future career development.
Training 2: Consultancy Skills The second workshop focused on preparing our collaboration with the clients. We learned how to prepare for our first meeting with the clients—by reaching a clear problem definition via the STQ method and formulating any remaining questions we have.
The STQ method is a tool that facilitates a clearer, more nuanced understanding of 1) the Situation (what is the problem, who is the client, and what do they want to achieve), 2) the Trigger (what prevents the client from achieving their goal, that is, why do they hire you, and why now), and 3) the client’s Question for you. To formulate a useful question that can guide your work in the coming weeks, do it SMART! Write a question that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. We found these tips extremely helpful and used them to prepare for our first meeting with our clients next Tuesday.
We also briefly discussed the follow-up steps to take after this first meeting during the workshop, most importantly, defining the steps we need to take to answer the SMART question.
The Next Fourteen Weeks As for the next fourteen weeks, we expect to deepen the relationship with our clients and continue to learn from each other and the next training sessions. We have a great challenge at our hands as our clients intend to present the results of our work in different roundtables and meetings about the climate emergency. That certainly comes with a sense of purpose and responsibility—and we are ready to take it!