Not Just Another Moz Workshop

I attended or helped organize more than a handful of workshops here in Moz during my time as a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV).  Certain things are always the same: organizing lanche (mid-morning and mid-afternoon coffee and snack), getting nervous about speaking proper Português during the abertura (opening), signing certificates on the last day, and Endearmints.

In those aspects, this workshop on ABS in Mozambique has been no different, and I have assured with Mamá that the white Endearmints, not the green ones, are on the plate closest to me each morning.  My comfort with the Português language and Mozambican culture has returned quite quickly, a graça de Deus. Continue reading

Me Meo Toa

Me meo toa, but this time out of excitement.  Last week my colleagues had a Meeting of the Parties in New Delhi, which means that this week is the final rush of preparations before heading to Mozambique, hereafter referred to as Moz.

The primary reason for our visit is the second workshop of the ABS capacity building project in Maputo.  The first workshop in April was on the basics of ABS and the Nagoya Protocol, while this workshop will include information on the details of ABS negotiations, ABS in the African context, and a How-To presentation for using an ABS manual.  My main task will be facilitating communication between my colleagues and workshop attendees.  Since none of my colleagues speak Portuguese, my experience teaching in Portuguese in Moz will hopefully prove valuable.

We will also meet with the funding organization, the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development, in their Maputo office and perform a few site visits to universities with genetic resource research programs.  I’m stoked to see the reality of this project to date, as my short-term work in Madrid gives me just a brief and narrow glance.  I imagine I will learn quite a bit from the workshop, the meeting, and the visits. Continue reading

The Real Deal

When I first applied for an internship with UNESCO in Madrid for a project on Mozambican policy, I knew my languages would come in handy.  I hoped they would provide opportunities for some real work every now and then, but in fact English, Portuguese, and Spanish have already each given me the chance to complete some weighty tasks — an intern’s dream.

I spent my first week reacquainting myself with the Nagoya Protocol on ABS, adopted by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2010.  Shortly thereafter I got the chance to use my Portuguese researching and pricing content for an ABS-specific library we plan to establish in Mozambique.

Next came Spanish, and the last few days of last week consisted of translating and perfecting an actual ABS project proposal to the European Commission.  As in, the actual European Commission.

My task was to translate my colleague’s Spanish proposal into English.  I did my best, noted words and sentences about which I was unsure throughout the text, and sent it back to them the following day.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect.  I lack the confidence in Spanish that I have in Portuguese, and ABS is a fairly confusing topic even in English. However, what ensued was genuinely fun.  Continue reading