Sahan Prathiba holds an honours degree in Political Science and Public Policy from the University of Colombo’s Faculty of Social Science. He is a management trainee at the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society’s National Headquarters.
1. What encouraged you to apply for the position of management trainee at the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society?
After graduating, as the first step to my career, I joined the management trainee programme offered by the National Headquarters of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, believing that career life can be taken on a successful path.
2. How has your experience as a management trainee at the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society been?
I have been actively engaged with the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society for over six months, during which I have accumulated valuable experience. With the economic crisis, I contributed to the Multipurpose Cash Grants project, enhancing my skills and understanding of its implementation. Concurrently, the Food Security and Livelihood Development project has been focusing on verifying beneficiary data accuracy since its inception. This involvement has benefited me a comprehensive understanding of project processes from initiation to completion.
Moreover, I had the opportunity to contribute to the National Adaptation Plan for Support Readiness Project Stakeholder Workshop on Climate Change. This experience provided insights into the systematic organisation of workshops, spanning from planning to execution. Working alongside seasoned professionals allowed me to acquire substantial knowledge. Additionally, my involvement in various training sessions has further expanded my understanding and proficiency in relevant areas. Overall, my time with the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society has been enriching, offering diverse learning experiences and valuable insights into the intricacies of humanitarian and developmental work.
3. What did you take away from the programme, and how is it guiding your studies and career goals?
Beyond the knowledge I acquired in university, my involvement with the Red Cross has been instrumental in expanding my understanding. It provided practical experiences that complemented and reinforced my academic learning. This hands-on exposure not only enriched my knowledge but also offered valuable insights into career advancement strategies. Moreover, the programme laid a solid foundation for my future professional life, equipping me with the essential skills and perspectives necessary for success in the working world.
4. What are your most important takeaways from your time as a management trainee at the country’s largest organisation?
My engagement with the largest humanitarian network in the country offered profound insights into its unwavering commitment to the well-being of the local population. It became clear that the Red Cross encompasses numerous facets that go beyond conventional perceptions. I had the privilege of witnessing various dimensions of the organisation, including first aid, disaster management, climate change, and livelihood development. These experiences deepened my understanding of the Red Cross’s dedication to addressing the critical needs of the people of Sri Lanka.
5. What is a typical day at the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society for a management trainee?
As a management trainee at the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, my day commence at 9 a.m. Guided by our project manager each morning, we embark on our tasks with dedication and efficiency to better serve the community. With a keen focus on project timelines, precision and effectiveness are emphasized. Throughout the day, a supportive project assistant provides guidance, and after tea breaks and lunch, our workday concludes at 5 p.m. This comprehensive experience extends to various responsibilities across departments like HR and Finance, offering a holistic understanding of organisational operations to management trainees at the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society.
6. What was your experience like when travelling for field trips, and what did you learn?
I was able to gain a lot of knowledge through field visits. A great contribution was received from the office for the field visit. After the field visit of post-distribution monitoring (Cash Grants), the importance of that process was well understood. Also, the importance of identifying people’s needs and responding to them was well understood. The importance of choosing the right people was also well understood.
7. What are your thoughts on the technical guidance and mentorship you received as a trainee?
People who hold higher positions provided guidance on the correct procedures before and during each activity, emphasising the importance of adhering to established procedures. Their counsel is grounded in the expertise of experienced officers within the organization. Prioritising the correct procedures over convenience ensures consistent advice aimed at minimising problems and ensuring successful processes.
8. Did you feel inspired to pursue your unique professional interests and passions?
My involvement with the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society has strengthened my inherent desire to help people and heightened my sense of empathy for responding to their needs with compassion. It has sparked a profound curiosity and a sincere ambition to extend assistance to a diverse range of individuals in whatever capacity I can. Moreover, the organisation’s Management Trainee Programme has been instrumental in motivating me to pursue a distinctive profession that directly contributes to the well-being and aid of others.
9. How would you recommend the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society’s Management Trainee Programme to another recent graduate?
For recent graduates who prioritise humanitarian values, the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society Management Trainee Programme is of considerable significance. This initiative provides an exceptional chance to gain in-depth knowledge and practical experience within your field of study and beyond. Being part of an organisation with a globally acknowledged structure offers the chance to accumulate valuable experience.