Nyanam International, Kenya
This summer, I interned for Nyanam International, a nonprofit organization based in the Lake Victoria region of Kenya that works to support widowed women and their children. Nyanam believes in a restorative justice approach to strengthening widows’ leadership, livelihoods, health, and justice, and this summer I worked on capacity building while preparing to secure funding for their programming. The organization is led and supported by a passionate team, including founder Jackie Odhiambo ’14, and International Engagement Coordinator Bethany Dixon ’15. I had the privilege of working closely with Jackie and Bethany this summer in areas of social media, website development, communications, and grant writing.
In my role, I had the opportunity to work directly with the team to plan my day-to-day schedule as well as my long-term projects. The first big project that I took on was planning and hosting a presentation for Nyanam’s donors and supporters to celebrate International Widows Day. To successfully host this event, I used Nyanam’s resources to prepare relevant information, including statistics and photographs. I also met with different members of Nyanam’s team in order to productively organize our time and ensure that I would be fairly representing the organization. I enjoyed learning about the organization during the process and being able to communicate about their work to an interested audience.
After International Widows Day, my responsibilities tended towards communications. I was able to successfully draft and edit two grant applications that will hopefully secure future funding. I learned so much in the process, both about Nyanam, as well as how to improve my writing skills so that my message is concise, clear, and fully conveys the importance of the work I am representing. I thoroughly enjoyed writing these applications, especially because it was in partnership with much of the Nyanam team. Overall, most of the work I did with Nyanam was collaborative. I was able to engage in productive teamwork and discussions, as well as work on some projects more independently.
I am incredibly grateful to have had this opportunity this summer. As my first experience working hands-on with a nonprofit organization, I learned so much about what goes on behind the scenes to ensure that the community is supported. I was fortunate to work with such a strong team that supports a resilient and deserving community. The work ethic and strong sense of community that Nyanam has is something that I hope future positions include. This summer, I learned so much about writing, collaboration, presentation, and communication. I look forward to potentially working in the nonprofit sector sometime in the future, and thanks to my experience with Nyanam, I am interested in delving into humanitarian work, as well as work that specifically focuses on supporting marginalized women.
I would like to thank the ’68 Center for Career Exploration at Williams College and the Palmer Family for allowing me the opportunity to work with Nyanam International this summer.