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August 6, 2007

Summer internship in Mali teaches a rising senior about children´s


rights - and the benefits of slowing down

By Claire Gould Dr. Moussa Sissoko, enabled her to examine


the convention´s effect in a real-life setting.
At first, it was difficult for Frannie Noble ´08
to learn to slow down - to spend time sitting in "I was able to see local level implementation,
a courtyard making small talk with passersby the importance of national and international
and having tea with the 15 members of her coalition building, and how a single country´s
host Malian family - while she interned for a commitment to children´s rights is part of a
children´s rights organization in the country larger whole," she said.
this past summer.
During her internship, Noble interviewed
"It bothered me at first to be living with a Malian CONAFE members and researched
Malian family that would sit outside the front Malian education, child labor, child trafficking
door for the majority of the day," she said. "I and children´s right to participation. She later
wanted to go to town, meet up with friends compiled a report on these issues, their history
and explore." and the policies adopted by the government,
as well as new projects that might be
Soon, though, Noble came to appreciate the successful in Mali. This report, written in
slower pace of life in Mali, and learned that French, will stay on file in Mali and her
just by making small talk in a courtyard she recommendations and research may be
could improve her spoken Bambara and distributed to other non-governmental
French, learn about social interactions and organizations.
simply observe the Malian way of life.
While in Mali, Noble even found time to
A rising senior from Cohasset, Massachusetts, volunteer twice a week at the state orphanage
Noble wanted a nontraditional study abroad in Bamako. Volunteering, she said, reminded
experience. After attending the School for her of the real children behind the laws and
International Training (SIT), she landed a policies. "I play and laugh with kids who have
summer internship with the Coalition des no concept yet of children´s rights. At that
ONGs Africains en Faveur des Enfants stage it´s not about equal access to education
(CONAFE), a children´s rights organization in and the right to freedom of religion - they care
Bamako, Mali. that someone wants to play with them, pick
them up and give them one-on-one attention,"
A student in the Toor s Center for she said. "Although my interest in children´s
International Studies and the Liberal Arts rights remains strong, I know now that it is the
(CISLA) certificate program, Noble had children and not the policies that mean the
studied the United Nation´s Convention on the most to me."
Rights of the Child and the implementation of
the ratified recommendations regarding the After graduation, Noble hopes to further
civil, political, economic, social and cultural pursue her interests in international issues
rights of children. Interning with CONAFE concerning children and families with
and working with the organizations president, graduate studies in social work and law.