My work at Vaya is well underway. In fact, today I reached the two-week mark! The work thus far has been fascinating, not only because of all I have learned about the evolution of microfinance - in India and around the world - but also because of the opportunity I have had to learn from industry leaders with many years of experience, to witness day-to-day operations, and to meet the very clients microfinance institutions (MFIs) like Vaya serve.
Today marks my fifth day in Hyderabad, India’s “city of pearls,” biryani capital, and its second Silicon Valley. Here are some thoughts, observations, and learnings from the city I will call home for the next two months.
Sitting in my living room, checking email and preparing for the week ahead, I glanced up to see a perfect rainbow forming over the mountains. Five minutes later, it was gone. A friendly reminder from the skies that while these ten weeks are filled with meetings, excel spreadsheets, and everyday tasks, I must not take for granted this unique opportunity to spend a summer living and learning in Colombia.
It's hard to believe that I am already in the third week of what is proving to be an incredible, challenging, eye-opening, dynamic, and enriching experience with Project Concern International (PCI) in Malawi. This summer I am supporting the mid-size NGO, that hails from San Diego, as a Humanitarian Assistance Fellow. Broadly speaking, my role is focused on helping implement Njira, a large multi-year USAID-funded integrated food security project in Southern Malawi.
I interned in the summer with Access development services in Delhi and Jaipur, India. Access is a livelihoods organization working with 10000 artisans across the country. They do this through a network of 300+ full time employees spread across major states in India where they work on the ground with artisan clusters.
When I first heard about the launch of Development Innovations (DI) in Cambodia I was at once delighted and shocked. The stated aim of DI, a lab funded by USAID and implemented by private contractor Development Alternatives International (DAI), is to catalyze development solutions through the use of technology.
According to 2012 data from the National Human Resources and Employment Policy, every year an estimated 140,000 students complete general education without having acquired job-related skills. The Technical and Vocational Education and Training system is expected to fill the gap but employers consider it not very relevant in meeting their needs.
With seven years’ experience of being a provider of financial support under its belt, Educate Lanka created a program for mentorship and skills development to fill exactly this gap. Realizing that students need larger amounts to pursue vocational skills training or higher degrees, Educate Lanka also began exploring options other than scholarships.
It’s hard to believe that I’m sending my final greetings from Kigali. Today is my last day in the office with the African Entrepreneur Collective’s local partner, Inkomoko Entrepreneur Development. These past ten weeks have soared above and beyond any expectations that I had about my work this summer – I’ve learned so much, witnessed the hard work and long hours that my clients and all of the Inkomoko staff put in every day, and had fun getting to know them in and out of the office, too. Rwanda has definitely found a permanent place in my heart.