Jocelyn Loughman interns with global leaders in international development

Friday, February 25, 2022
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Vanuatuan Master of Public Administration student, Jocelyn Loughman says completing an internship with a renowned international development organisation has been a “privilege and an honour”, building her skills to contribute to gender equality efforts in the Pacific Islands.  

Over five intensive months, the Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) participant interned with Cardno International Development where she supported and gained a deeper understanding of the organisation’s vast Pacific gender program.

Under the guidance of Cardno International’s Head of Program Quality and Gender, Joanne Choe, Jocelyn was also encouraged to develop and then present a concept note on engaging men and youth to help shift gender norms and promote more inclusive leadership and practices in the Pacific.

Jocelyn went on to present her ideas to several programs of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), boosting her confidence to develop networks and influence positive change in the Pacific region.  

About the five-month Cardno International Development internship

Before joining Cardno International Development, Jocelyn reflects on being asked what she wanted to achieve during the five-month placement arranged through WLI’s workplace internships program.

“I indicated that I wanted to be attached to an agency or organisation that worked either in international aid, international development, or humanitarian responses …” Jocelyn explains.

“Little did I know, I would be attached to an incredible organisation supporting issues that are close to my heart.”

 Being placed in the Pacific gender program, Jocelyn quickly familiarised herself with organisational policies and processes while being connected, by her supervisor Joanna Choe, to each of the Pacific program teams.

“The first few weeks were exciting weeks for me because I felt like I was an employee of Cardno and it felt great,” Jocelyn explains.

From there, Jocelyn contributed to the establishment of the Cardno Panel of Gender Specialists and participated in weekly team meetings.

“Apart from learning about Cardno’s Pacific programs …  the weekly meeting updates were insightful and helped me to understand what Cardno is doing in different sectors in the region, especially during the challenging pandemic period,” Jocelyn explains.

Reflecting on men’s participation in gender equality frameworks

Part of Jocelyn’s placement involved reviewing evaluation reports that looked at gender outcomes across the Pacific region, including the new Pacific Women Lead 2021-2026 Framework – outlining Australia’s regional investment to advance gender equality in the Pacific ($170 million over five years from 2021-2026).

Jocelyn reflects on the positive changes in gender outcomes when projects had included boys, male youth, and men, “indicating that perhaps we could start to reimagine how gender programs should focus” going forward.

“Yes, girls and women need to be empowered to be change agents for their own advancement, but so do boys and young men if we want to see a generational change in how women are perceived; if we want to significantly reduce the gaps of inequality and harmful practices and norms towards women and girls,” explains Jocelyn.

Developing and presenting the MY Pacific Concept

 Inspired by these lessons and examples of great gender outcomes through inclusion and integration of boys, youth and men, Jocelyn was encouraged by her supervisor Joanna to develop the Male Youth (MY) Pacific Concept as part of her internship.

Jocelyn explains that MY Pacific Concept avoids isolated, standalone projects focused only on boys and male youth, but rather suggests integrated approaches in which they can participate and contribute alongside girls and women.

MY Pacific proposes more consideration and planning be applied to gender programs to ensure they are “intentional and strategic, while at the same time culturally sensitive in their inclusion of young males” rather than seen as an afterthought.

“I count it as a privilege to have been given the opportunity by Cardno’s Head of Program Quality and Gender Global Senior Principal – Gender and Inclusion, Joanne Choe, to take the MY Pacific concept further … presenting it to various audiences,” says Jocelyn.

Having presented her concept to the Head of Pacific Women Lead in the Pacific Community (SPC), the Cardno Pacific gender team, the Balance of Power team, and the Women’s Leadership Initiative team, among other programs of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Jocelyn feels confident that the concept shared is relevant to many programs in the region and has “real potential if given sufficient thought and planning” to “evolve into a real change maker”.

Recapping on skills gained and strengthened

Jocelyn reflects on the skills and networks that she was able to develop through the integrated internship and describes it as “amazingly wonderful and rewarding”.

“I have increased my network within Cardno, practised public speaking with MY Pacific presentation, experienced working in a multicultural environment, increased understanding and appreciation of Cardno’s work in the region as a funding facility or contracting company, analysed evaluation reports and provided feedback to a very senior person in Cardno’s leadership hierarchy who seriously listened and considered the feedback and challenged me to go one step further with it and develop a concept (MY Pacific), and many more,” says Jocelyn.

She expresses her gratitude, in particular, to her supervisor Joanne.

“It has been a real privilege and honour to be supervised by Joanne Choe [and I share] my deepest appreciation to her for being the best ‘boss’ I could ever ask for,” Jocelyn adds.

“She made me feel a part of the team, listened to my views, and encouraged and challenged me to do something new; MY Pacific.”


WLI Leadership & Mentoring program participants like Jocelyn have the opportunity to work within Australian or Pacific organisations as part of the Women's Leadership Initiative. Through tailored internships, participants build leadership and professional skills and forge lasting partnerships and networks to support them into the future.

Jocelyn’s work placement was secured with the help of her WLI mentor, Sheona McKenna – Director, Fiji Section, Melanesia Branch, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 

Find out more about WLI workplace internships