Georgia Panitz ’22.5

Nyanam International, Kenya

Nyanam International is an NGO based in Kenya which prepares widows to lead transformations in their communities through programs focused on leadership, livelihoods, health, and justice. The main focus of my internship was revamping Nyanam’s website and highlighting the breadth and depth of their programs. The foundation for my work was established during the first two weeks of the internship during an informative orientation guide and various meetings with the team and other interns. The orientation period allowed us to better understand the challenges that widows face globally and in Kenya, and connect these broader themes directly to Nyanam’s work and our projects.

Redesigning the Nyanam website to highlight their program in the Lake Victoria region of Kenya.

While working on the website project, my initial focus was building up the program’s pages in the spheres of leadership, livelihoods, health, justice, and youth support. For each sphere, I was tasked with organizing text, images, and multimedia into coherent pages which did justice to the amazing work Nyanam leads. I took information from internal documents including grant proposals, yearly reviews, and reports to construct pages and create new content for the website. I also incorporated information from our orientation and various team meetings to edit and write new content. Working on the website required being creative in design that was consistent throughout the site. This project also entailed regular collaboration with team members and the other interns which proved to be one of the most enjoyable aspects of the internship.

Overall, I had a fantastic experience with Nyanam. In particular, we had a series of meetings where we discussed topics such as land rights, cultural norms, and Nyanam’s founding story which gave me a lot of insight into what makes their work successful and how the widows are central to the creation and implementation of programs. We also had the opportunity to engage in a mental health workshop over Zoom and see firsthand how influential the program was for these women.

I was inspired by the number of impactful programs the organization leads and the degree to which the team members are invested in the community and the well-
being of the widows. Throughout my time with Nyanam, I was struck by how resilient, resourceful, and strong these women are and how they carry an incredible amount of responsibility in their communities. I felt fortunate to be able to work with Nyanam and a team that highlights the strength of the widows, builds community, and is shifting cultural norms to enable women in the region to be increasingly prominent community leaders.

This internship experience has solidified my decision to pursue a career path in the sphere of NGOs, women’s rights, and international relations. It has influenced my academic path and decision to delve further into human rights topics and also gain some background in social science data analysis. I am incredibly thankful to the Class of 1972 and the ’68 Center for Career Exploration for allowing me to pursue this opportunity and have such an impactful experience!