Rwanda Civil Society Platform, Rwanda
I had the amazing opportunity to work as an intern for the Rwanda Civil Society Platform, an organization that acts as an umbrella organization for all civil societies in Rwanda and serves as a bridge between the government and the citizens by fostering communication between cooperatives that represent specific populations, like women and youth, and government initiatives. The organization’s mission is backed by the government to amplify the voices of vulnerable populations to reach law makers. As an intern for Rwanda Civil Society (RCS), I was eager to get hands-on experience on how such policies and projects are implemented.
I carried out various administrative duties like typing memos, documenting minutes from virtual meetings, and writing emails to cooperatives. I attended the company’s meetings with its partner organizations and learned more about the issues that hindered cooperatives and outreach initiatives from working effectively. I was involved in projects that dealt with identifying the most vulnerable people during the pandemic, and minimizing the risks of domestic violence during the quarantine period. Our team was also involved with negotiating lower prices for transport when the lockdown was eased since transport companies had raised their prices due to less capacity permitted through the national service authority. Due to the current pandemic, RCS was unable to conduct its usual public outreach programs, an experience I subsequently missed out on.
This internship experience taught me the importance of deadlines and how great teamwork does not always require proximity. I learned how organizations operate internally, how auditing works, and how important documentation is to the auditing process of any organization. Working with other interns remotely taught me how to keep everyone in the loop through effective communication. I also grew comfortable with asking for help. Above all, this experience made me more interested in social work after realizing how powerful RCS was in bringing social change. The idea of working in a sector that is involved with assisting the most vulnerable populations in Rwanda appeals to me. As a relatively privileged Rwandan, I want to help rebuild my country and undo some of the damage that was caused by the 1994 Genocide.
I plan to take classes in developmental economics and other courses that give me critical thinking skills to devise solutions that help economically disadvantaged populations. I also want to take classes that expound on how gender affects one’s access to economic advantages.
I would not have had this opportunity to learn so much about my own country if it were not for the support of the ’68 Center for Career Exploration and the generosity of Ned ’71 and Susan Palmer. I believe that this experience will inform many of my future decisions regarding my career path and classes that I will choose in the future.