Field Training

Links: Field Training Summary Description (Downloadable PDF) | Field Training Experiences 2012/13 | Field Training Experiences 2014

After completing a full academic year, students undertake a 3-month internship at a public, private or non-governmental organization for the opportunity to gain hands-on problem-solving experience in development practice. With help from MDP Peradeniya partners and networks, and the approval of the MDP field coordinator and academic advisors, students arrange internships corresponding to their interests, training and experience at development practice agencies and organizations in Sri Lanka or overseas. In addition to maintaining a daily log, providing bi-weekly submissions and making a summary presentation, each student produces a previously agreed-upon practitioner report (deliverable) as an output of their internship.

The field training aims to expose students to the realities of development practice and give them an opportunity to integrate and apply knowledge and practical skills acquired in the programme in a real-world setting.


The main objectives of the MDP internship placement are to enable MDP students to:

  1. Gain hands-on experience in a development practice context
  2. Apply the knowledge gained in the classroom in a real-world setting
  3. Be able to integrate/apply knowledge from different sectors
  4. Develop technical skills relating to development activities
  5. Make a useful contribution to the community/internship organisation

Learning Outcomes

Students are expected to gain competencies in at least three of the five areas identified by the Global Network: Technical Skills (T), Integrative skills or cross-sectoral understanding (I), Communication Skills (C), Project Management (P) and Social Cultural Skills (S). Students are encouraged to gain exposure to all of these areas.

On successful completion of the internship, students will be able to do several of the following:

  • to gain a first-hand understanding of key issues and learn basic technical skills relating to areas such as education, agriculture, environment, health, nutrition, energy, infrastructure, water, gender, and community development
  • to incorporate knowledge and skills from different disciplines in the design and/or implementation of development interventions;
  • To integrate knowledge of cross-sectoral issues, local insights and community participation into field training projects and activities
  • To demonstrate a critical use of self-reflection and inter-personal skills and dynamics to analyse attitudes, perceptions and biases
  • To communicate effectively with the relevant actors working in the local development context;
  • To communicate effectively on technical details with experts in many disciplines.
  • To communicate important achievements and challenges in implementing development projects (through videos, multi-media presentations and practitioner reports)


Internship activities will vary widely across placements. However, all internships should provide students with opportunities to engage in experiential learning and professional skill-building, in line with the aforesaid objectives and intended learning outcomes.


Role of the Academic supervisor

(a)    Help identify appropriate internship placement and appropriate field training activities
(b)   Monitor progress, identify issues and assist student to address them, through
1.Perusal of bi-weekly submission
2. Monthly (2) meetings with supervisor are a requirement
(c)    Evaluate (assess) the practitioner report
(d)   Participate in the panel evaluating the summary presentation

Role of the Internship organisation (and mentor-supervisor)

(a)    Facilitate the intern’s entry into the team
(b)   Provide appropriate training opportunities
(c)    Provide access to office staff
(d)   Provide access to required information
(e)   Provide advisories on safety, personnel and institutional rules for staff
(f)     Provide a mentor/supervisor for the intern

Role of internship mentor-supervisor

(a)    Monitor the activities of the intern and certify the authenticity of his/her daily log
(b)   Provide an evaluation of the students’ background, level of preparation and abilities


Students are required to provide the following outputs

  1. Practitioner journal/daily log (descriptive) and weekly timesheet signed by supervisor
  2. Bi-weekly submission of activities (guided by questions provided by faculty members—common template)
  3. Summary presentation (self-reflective, analytical)
  4. Project deliverable to be determined together with employer/supervisor and academic supervisor



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