New Research Intern at Right to Rise!
Published in  
February 15, 2024

New Research Intern at Right to Rise!

Right to Rise is excited to welcome Channa van Laake as their new research intern! Channa is a student in the Master's programme 'Social Challenges, Policies and Interventions' at Utrecht University. She will work on various projects, including a project connected to her Master's thesis studying the link between a mother’s level of education and the likelihood of her daughter(s) to undergo Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting. She will also provide assistance to a project evaluation of an NGO in the Netherlands focusing on harmful practices among migrant communities.

Could you introduce yourself?

My name is Channa, 23 years old, and I am a broadly oriented student. During my years of study, I have developed a fondness for political, social and psychological topics. I find it important to tackle challenges with a holistic point of view by especially keeping the social and interpersonal aspect in mind. I have a strong interest in women’s health, sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence, particularly Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C).

Is this your first internship? 

Following the graduation of my Bachelor 'International Relations and Organisations' at Leiden University, I pursued an internship at the municipality of Leiden, where I contributed to a partnership known as Leiden Kennisstad. My responsibilities primarily revolved around communication tasks, culminating in the successful organization of an evening symposium for all knowledge organizations in Leiden. I also had the opportunity to work on various projects, including the Stad en Taal (City and Language) initiative, a collaboration between Leiden Museums and the municipality aimed at providing Dutch language education to immigrants. Working within the dynamic team at Leiden Kennisstad was an enriching experience where I learned a lot about myself and working within a team.

Why did you apply for an internship at Right to Rise?

Ever since I started my academic journey, I've developed a deep interest in women’s health. This passion was reflected in the topic of my Bachelor’s thesis, which focused on FGM/C. Conducted in Burkina Faso, my research examined the correlation between the educational attainment of girls and women and their likelihood of undergoing the practice. The results underscored that a higher level of education correlates with adecreased likelihood of undergoing FGM/C. Throughout this project, I had the privilege of engaging with Dr. Annemarie Middelburg, whose expertise enriched my understanding on the multifaceted practice. Inspirated by Annemarie and the research I conducted for my bachelor’s, my dedication to women’s health, particularly in the context of FGM/C, grew. I consider myself fortunate to be interning at Right to Rise, where I have the opportunity to both gain valuable work experience and work on my thesis alongside Annemarie. I was drawn to the firm's interdisciplinary approach and commitment to delivering practical solutions that make an impact in the real world. This provides me with hands-on experience in a field that I would aspire to work in in the future!

What are your passions and interests outside of work and study?

Outside of work, I have been very active at a student Association in Leiden. I was part of the board of one of the sororities in 2021-22 which was a really fun and educative year for me. Together with my follow board members, my role as president focused on both internal and external communication of the association. Additionally, I served as a primary point of contact and ensured the successful organization and execution of numerous activities. Apart from this, I love traveling and exploring different cultures. Over the years, I've had the privilege of visiting numerous beautiful destinations, including Peru, Ecuador, Indonesia, China, and the West Coast of America. For the upcoming years, I am eager tocontinue exploring new countries!

What are your dreams for the future?

In the future, my aspiration is to work for organizations dedicated to improving women’s health. I am particularly drawn to addressing sexual and reproductive health issues, whether it be within the Netherlands or abroad. The interdisciplinary perspective that I've learned through my studies is something I intend to carry forward into my future personal and professional pursuits. This holistic approach allows me to consider various factors and complexities surrounding women’s health. This will enable me to contribute effectively to meaningful and sustainable solutions for future generations.