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Ghana

Scott Mackenzie Wallace

Organization: CRAN Microfinance
Dates: 28-Jul-10 - 5-Sep-10

In Scott Mackenzie's own words

How I contributed: My mission was to work on a new pilot program dealing with the financing of energy-related products through Kiva and Energy in Common. I reviewed the client in-take forms. I also worked to make sure that the implementation of the pilot project was going as it was meant to be (in the written arrangement) and give recommendations on areas of improvement.

What I felt most challenged by: One challenge that I faced during my experience was being very young (19) while surrounded by immediate people in the organization that were 30-40 years old and management that was in their 50s. They valued my opinion and input and treated me far beyond my experience or years. My second to last day in the office, I gave a big presentation on my findings in the field and areas for improvement to management that was very well received. I learned a lot about how to present oneself professionally and to achieve and exceed high expectations.

What I enjoyed most: I loved the freedom of working for an organization as a volunteer. On the weekends, I was able to travel freely and enjoy the country. The organization also provided me the rare opportunity to go to some of the most remote (and beautiful) villages of rural Ghana where I was definitely the first white person in decades to have ventured to.

Would I recommend this experience: I think working for an organization is a great way to work and contribute, but doing something independently like this can also be very personally challenging. Though I was lucky nothing bad occurred to me (other than a bad illness), many things could have happened - theft, kidnapping, a motorcycle or car accident, etc. There are other organizations that would definitely be safer to work with for a summer.

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