2016 Summer Intern

The Schull Yang International Experience Award, supported by Joseph Schull (BA ‘82, MA ’85) and Anna Yang (BCL, LLB ’88), helps undergraduate and graduate students gain first hand international experience related to their fields of study. The award provides full or partial funding to assist students with tuition, travel, and other expenses related to their international experience. The Schull Yang International Experience Award is part of the McGill International Experience Awards. For more information, click here.

The Internship Offices Network is pleased to announce the selected McGill student for the 2016 summer internship at CAMFED, and recipient of the Schull Yang International Experience Award.

Tasha Kara, BA International Development Studies and Gender & Sexuality Studies

Tasha will be working as the CAMFED-KIVA intern in San Francisco with Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED), an NGO that promotes education and microfinance for marginalized girls in Sub-Saharan Africa. Tasha hopes to gain valuable and practical experience in the field, while simultaneously conducting research that is fundamental to her degree.

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I am entering my fourth and final year at McGill University, and I am currently enrolled in the joint honours program, double majoring in International Development Studies and Gender, Sexuality, Feminist, and Social Justice Studies. From a very young age, I had the privilege of being surrounded by my grandmother and her seven sisters – seven powerful women whom have had to deal with incredibly difficult circumstances in their lifetimes. All of these women, including my mother – along with many other South Asian families at the time – were victims of the 1972 ethnic cleanse of Uganda, forcefully administered by Idi Amin. Within a dangerous Indophobic climate, where slurs and threats of violence were constantly thrown at the Indian minority, they abandoned their businesses, homes, and families – all within 90 days – and sought refuge in Canada. It is out of this context that I cultivated an interest in pursuing a Joint Honours in International Development Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies; I want to explore the intersections and processes that shaped the complicated migration history of the women in my family and the inequalities that produced it. My motivation for the Camfed-Kiva Development Internship at Campaign for Female Education in San Francisco, California, is intimately linked to this.

Campaign for Female Education (Camfed) is an international non-profit organization founded by Welsh entrepreneur and philanthropist, Ann Cotton. Camfed tackles poverty and inequality by supporting girls to go to school and succeed, empowering young women to step up as leaders of change in their communities. Since 1993, Camfed’s innovative education programs in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania, and Malawi have directly supported over one million students to attend primary and secondary school, and over 3.5 million children have benefited from an improved learning environment.

As the Camfed-Kiva Development Intern, my responsibilities included acting as a liaison with the Kiva contact in each office and editing borrower profiles and journals from Ghana, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe with rapid turnaround. In addition, I monitored Camfed's borrower profiles on Kiva.org, recorded loan numbers, compiled key outcomes, and identified trends. I also supported the Development Officer, Kate McCarthy, in writing reports and research on donors, partnerships, policies, and sexual reproductive health, as necessary. Moreover, I conducted research for upcoming proposals and grants as well as became well-versed in a commonly used business-software program, Salesforce.

During my internship, I was fortunate to write a case study for one of the quarterly reports to the Fossil Foundation. While writing and editing this case study, I was able to directly participate in donor engagement – certainly a rewarding experience.

Although there were not any particular challenges during the internship tasks themselves, it was sometimes difficult being the only intern at Camfed who worked full-time. Because it was a small and quiet office and the Development Officer was away on leave for research in Zambia for most of my internship, the space felt mundane on most days. One way I tried to combat this was getting out of my comfort zone and conversing with the employees who worked in different sectors of the organization. Without laughter, positivity, and willingness to learn and explore, I firmly believe that the fullest experience cannot be achieved. The most important factor in a successful internship abroad is first and foremost your willingness to adapt.

The Camfed-Kiva internship has positively shaped my future academic and non-academic career. I gained practical experience within my chosen field of study; specifically broadening my intellectual understanding of the United States and its relation to other countries, how international non-profit organizations operate with respect to gender and transnational feminism, as well as expanded my knowledge to different perspectives regarding international development. Moreover, both San Francisco and Berkeley (where I lived) are hubs for young professionals who are eager to learn and innovate. I was able to converse and network with those who shared a common interest and critical understanding of the ‘development’ of women on a global level.

The internship experience was invaluable in more ways than one and would not have been possible without the generous funding from Joseph Schull, Anna Yang, and the Internship Offices Network. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Mr. Schull and Ms. Yang for their contribution.

Tasha describes her findings on sexual reproductive health in Malalwi to her co-worker Vanessa.