Krystal Zwiesineyi Chindori-Chininga
Organization: Institute of African Development Summer Internship - Ministry of Agriculture, Ghana
Dates: 15-Jun-18 - 15-Aug-18
In Krystal's own words
How I contributed: I contributed to the goals of the Horticulture unit of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture by, contributing to the completion of the projects being implemented, participating in strategizing and executing plans, establishing a uniform protocol for strategic analysis of policy, writing memorandums of understanding between the Ministry and some of its project partners, doing preliminary research and making a research proposal for the evaluation of the efficacy of the extension services, coming up with ideas to increase directorate visibility, conducting data analysis on some multivariate large scale research project with FIBL, presenting a marketing plan to bring more private partners into the horticulture certification project and conducting strategic analysis on several policy proposals and drafts.
What I felt most challenged by: I was most challenged by the complexity and multidimensionality of the programs that the unit was undertaking. Each project involved many different layers of analysis. I was also challenged by the relative bureaucracy in this system as opposed to working in more direct development work.
What I enjoyed most: Frankly, the same thing that challenged me - the complexity of the work. It allowed me to see the intricate development philosophy discussed in classrooms exemplified in the real world and this gave me experience in how to navigate a project and achieve a goal while managing the complexity of the issue.
Would I recommend this experience? Yes, it was an invaluable experience. It allowed me to gain experience in work that in some other countries may require one to have a professional degree. For this reason it was a really special growth experience and it provided insight and experience that it would be hard to gain elsewhere. On a personal level, that amount of responsibility also manifested some personal growth.
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.