Veritas Consulting, Ethiopia
This summer, I lived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, interning for Veritas Consulting. Veritas is working on Ethiopia’s Distributed Renewable Energy Agricultural Modalities (DREAM) project, which is funded by the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), the Rockefeller Foundation and the African Development Bank (AfDB). The DREAM project is considered one of the most innovative energy, agriculture, and climate projects on the continent. The experience allowed me to be involved in the operational steps required to materialize investments.
Building on Veritas’ previous market diagnostics, the project pilots nine renewable energy mini-grids and irrigation systems for horticultural cluster sites. The engagement broadly includes technical, strategic and coordination support for pilot activities as well as validation activities for the scale-up. My role as intern was to support developing the framework for measuring social return investment as well as to support the interaction of private-sector stakeholders, donors, governments, NGOs and communities through a complex investment lens.
I supported a combination of many activities. Early on, I assisted with finalizing the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) reports for all of the potential project sites. This process was tedious, but working through the reports familiarized me with the many dimensions of the DREAM project. Some of my favorite work included conducting a baseline assessment of gender inclusion, jobs development and carbon use, as well as assisting with logistics and planning support for site validation and report writing. In the later weeks, I supported the investor facilitation team in outlining and reviewing commercial investment requirements for selected mini-grid developers/investors, working closely with GEAPP, a Rockefeller Foundation-funded team, on developing the framework for measuring social return investment on the foundation’s approximately $15 million grant.
Adjusting to the bilingual work environment and a different culture had its challenges, however, I learned invaluable lessons. I can now better gauge how I might adjust to a career that has me frequently traveling or permanently based in another country. I do not think that I could have had a more informative summer experience, and I am sure that my career path will be largely influenced by this experience.
Thank you to the ’68 Center for Career Exploration and their continuous support and encouragement and to the incredible generosity of the Kershaw Internship.