"The comparison allowed us not only to understand processes and results in other contexts, but also to understand our own development, our own history of institutional development and to recognize the most important factors that are present in local processes.
At the same time the dialogue and exchange with different actors allowed us to detach ourselves from our own culture, as we had to explain to others the multiple aspects of our local political culture, which are familiar to us and that we take for granted. This process is a unique learning experience that only an internship of this kind would permit. This detachment allowed us to develop new point of views, encouraged us to discuss new ideas among ourselves, and to construct new historical dimensions of the problems our countries are facing as well as the solutions that each country has created."
Nora Viviana Britos, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina. FINAL REPORT, Internship Montreal and Quebec, October-November 2005.
The main goal of the internship programs is to train future trainers, by providing participants with the unique opportunity to participate in policy environments where new initiatives emerge and are implemented, as well as to establish a dialogue with policy actors and practitioners in Canada and Latin America. The Latin American participants return to their countries equipped to provide training for those in public administration and related fields who will work directly in social policy and social economy settings.
The ReCo hosts two internship programs. A five week internship program for two graduate students in Argentina, and a five-week internship program for four Latin American in Canada. The Latin American participants include researchers, graduate students, members of civil society organizations (social movements, cooperatives and labour movements) and policy makers (local, municipal, provincial, federal and national levels) engaged in the formulation of social policies and social economy initiatives.
The interns in both Latin America and Canada have assignments at organizations / institutions that work directly in social policy and social economy settings including ministries with related portfolios, municipal governments, community organizations, co-operatives, civil society organizations, labour unions, among others. Interns also make presentations on their respective experiences to university audiences and to practitioners and policy makers.
The internship programs greatly contribute to the co-production of knowledge as well as to the consolidation of the Community of Practice.