A Mutual Learning Approach to Fellowships

Andrea Varrella , Legal Officer at ECPAT International, talks about her experience as a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellows Supervisor. Read her reflection to learn how ECPAT staff place value on learning just as much from their Fellows as the Fellows learn from them.

As a recipient of the Hilton Humanitarian Prize, ECPAT International has been privileged to be involved in the Hilton Prize Coalition Fellows Program for the past two years, and I have had the great opportunity to be the supervisor of four of the seven Fellows that have joined us at ECPAT.

As a young professional myself, who knows the challenges in starting out in a competitive but rewarding career in international development and children’s rights, I see the Hilton Prize Coalition Fellows Program as a fantastic initiative that not only creates opportunities for those early in their career but also generates meaningful benefits for the Hilton Prize Coalition host organizations.  

At ECPAT International we coordinate research, advocacy, and action to end the sexual exploitation of children in all its manifestations. While this is a challenging topic, we believe it attracts passionate and dedicated people. The Hilton Prize Coalition Fellows Program provides the perfect opportunity for ECPAT International to find those passionate people, contribute to the professional development of a new generation of talent, and support our mandate to end the sexual exploitation of children.

As equal and valued members of the team, each Fellow takes on a crucial role in supporting ECPAT’s work such as producing cutting-edge research and supporting ECPAT’s diverse network of members and partners in 96 countries. Previous Fellows have produced a number of research reports on the sexual exploitation of children in specific countries. Each Fellow owned the entire process from drafting the report and liaising with local organizations to collecting data and actively supporting the publication and media launch of the final reports.

As a network with members all over the world, ECPAT is a unique international NGO through which Fellows are exposed to the complexities and nuances of our work. Fellows have the opportunity to take a peek at the challenges that organizations and professionals working in our field have to face every day.

Fellows also get to work directly alongside a cross-cultural team—many of whom who have worked in the industry for years, or some who come from different sectors and bring a wealth of valuable knowledge. Similarly, our Fellows have come from all over the world. We have hosted Fellows from South Korea, India, Brazil, France, Italy, UK, and Germany. These Fellows brought a range of expertise and qualifications, including but not limited to human rights law, communications, and project management.

Supervisors and colleagues at ECPAT are always proud to see Fellows leave ECPAT as effective problems solvers with specialized skills who have gone on to work with local organizations and UN agencies.

Besides their valuable contributions, our Fellows are a breath of fresh air in our office, bringing energy and enthusiasm and a range of new insights and perspectives to our work. This is greatly appreciated and needed for tackling some of the complex problems that ECPAT works to address. I do believe we are in fact learning as much from the Fellows as they are from us. As we work to empower children and defend their rights, we also believe in maximizing the potential of our young people to build an even more passionate, knowledgeable, and effective generation of development professionals.

About The Hilton Prize Coalition

The Hilton Prize Coalition  is an independent alliance of the winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. Through its signature Fellows Program, the Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat, Global Impact. 

To learn more about the Hilton Prize Coalition, visit 
prizecoalition.charity.org, or contact  prizecoalition@charity.org. Follow  the Hilton Prize Coalition on  Twitter and  LinkedIn, and “Like” us on Facebook.

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