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Posts Tagged ‘empowerment’

This year we have been blessed with the quality and quantity of interns! From our Spring interns (Hilary and Will) who worked on business case studies and how to make your own reusable sanitary pad workshops and community outreach, it has already been a busy year, but we are just getting started!

At the beginning of June we welcomed our 2019 summer interns who will be with us through the end of July. Their main focus will be on compiling on our annual Factbook, interviewing borrowers, working with our Byos Group and Girls Group and content creation.

Meet them below!

NoahCha

Hello! My name is Noah, and I am a rising sophomore from Irvine, California studying Finance at the University of Notre Dame. I enjoy playing basketball and making videos, and I am heavily involved with my campus’ Investment Club and Special Olympics team. I chose to work with WMI to learn more about how individuals in rural communities integrate into developing economies without access to traditional financial institutions. My goal over the course of this internship is to gain a better understanding of the nuances of developing economies and the potential growth opportunities they present.

GraceCollins

My name is Grace Collins. Originally, I am from the small town of Wyoming, Delaware. Currently, I’m a rising junior at Princeton University, concentrating in Politics with potential certificates in Ancient Roman Language & Culture and African Studies. On campus, I’m involved as the president of Whig-Clio, Princeton’s political society. I am also active on the Princeton Debate Panel, the Pace Center for Civic Service, the Glee Club, and the Katzenjammers acapella group. I’m excited to be at WMI because working here is a fantastic opportunity to learn about microfinance and its intersections with gender and economic equality. Additionally, as a student of the region, it’s a privilege to live here in Buyobo for two months and to learn so much from its residents. I’m also very excited to be carrying out a music teaching initiative at Buyobo Primary School while I’m here. Through this project, I will help instruct the students in musicianship and performance art alongside the school’s teachers. With a grant from Princeton’s Class of 1978 Foundation, I will be purchasing a set of new musical instruments including xylophones, tube fiddles, and drums for the students. From interning to teaching, I know that I will learn a lot in my time here, and I’m so excited for the rest of the summer.

KellyCollinsMy name is Kelly Collins. I just graduated from the University of California, Berkeley where I earned a B.S. from the Haas School of Business and a B.A. in Economics.  At Cal, I was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority, especially involved within the Philanthropic Committee. My Junior year I studied at the London School of Economics where I concentrated in Management and played on the school’s Field Hockey Team.  In the fall, I will be moving to New York City to begin my first job at Yelp as an Account Executive. The Summer Internship at the Women’s Microfinance Initiative has brought me to Africa for the first time. I am incredibly excited to be working with the Ugandan women, learning about them and their businesses. I hope to investigate how loans impact the scale of a typical business and the ability for women to provide for themselves and their families.  By speaking to borrowers and analyzing survey data I am aiming to draw conclusions on the effects of microfinance in communities of rural east Africa.  Moreover, I can’t wait to spend the weekends exploring other areas around Buyobo, such as Mbale, Sipi Falls, and Jinja, with my fellow interns!

 

CarolinePlouff

Hey y’all, my name is Caroline Plouff and I am originally from Birmingham, Alabama.  I am a rising senior at the University of Notre Dame where I study Political Science and Global Affairs with a concentration in European Studies.  Last semester, I studied abroad in Angers, France where I lived with a host family and took all of my classes in French.  I enjoy travelling, spending time with friends, and trying new foods!  I am so excited to be interning at the Women’s Microfinance Initiative this summer because I believe that grassroots level initiatives, such as microloan programs, can have a powerful effect on how we approach international development.  This summer, I am most looking forward to learning about the loan program in Buyobo and witnessing first-hand, the impact a couple hundred dollars can have on the lives of rural women and their communities.

 

Hi everyone! My name is Nora Tucker and I’m a rising sophomore at the University of Notre Dame! I am studying Computer Science, with a double minor in Catholic Social Tradition and Digital Marketing. Outside of my classes, I am involved in our wNoraTuckeromen’s boxing team, the engineering leadership council, and my dorm’s hall council as our faith life commissioner. I’m also in the pep band and I work in the Alumni Association. In my free time, I love to run and travel. I am originally from Libertyville, Illinois, a town about an hour north of Chicago! I have a sister and brother and I love spending time with my family and friends. I am thrilled to be in Uganda, working with the Women’s Microfinance Initiative this summer! I am excited about working with this organization because it empowers women financially and has had such positive outcomes for borrowers. I look forward to learning more about the inner workings of a nonprofit organization, especially one that has been so successful and become trusted by the community. I’m also looking forward to teaching lessons to the local boys and girls group that WMI supports, since I love kids and teaching! My first few weeks in Buyobo have been incredible and I can’t wait to see what I learn throughout the rest of the summer!

EthanSeideMy name is Ethan Seide, and I am from Bethesda, Maryland. I am a rising sophomore at Princeton University where I study Operations Research Financial Engineering with an emphasis on machine learning and optimization. I compete on the cycling team, ski team, and club tennis team. I am also a member of the robotics team where we are currently working on constructing an autonomous drone. Ultimately, I would like to found a tech startup that helps people in the developing world, and I believe WMI can help me brainstorm ideas. I came to Buyobo to study the benefits of microfinance and learn about village life in Uganda. I also believe that as an aspiring engineer, I can offer a unique viewpoint in Buyobo. I would like to teach the children in the village about engineering and sustainable energy by doing a project with them. I hope to inspire the children so that in the future they start their own projects to help the community.

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Many innovations in clean energy, including biogas, have demonstrated incredible applicability and success within communities here in Eastern Uganda. We have begun exploring the feasibility of bringing home biogas solutions to Buyobo and the surrounding villages for the following reasons!

Challenges surrounding today’s energy sources are increasing:

Homes in remote villages rely primarily on burning firewood to power stoves used for cooking. In some cases, homes have supplemental power from solar panels to fuel small lights. However, the environmental and humanitarian impacts of so many homes and villages using firewood are getting increasingly severe.

The challenges with this significant reliance on firewood include:

  • There is a diminishing supply of trees which can be chopped for wood (especially due to the logging companies)
  • Reduced foliage makes the land more susceptible to landslides (especially during the ~5 month rainy season) which have ruined homes, villages, roads, and bridges across the region as well as killing many people in their path
  • Villagers must travel increasingly farther away from their homes to source firewood, creating sometimes dangerous and lengthy treks through unfamiliar forests

Biogas is a potential solution:

In order to reduce the dependence on firewood, one option is for homes and villages to install biogas solutions in their homes. Biogas is fuel that is produced by fermenting organic matter, such as cow dung and household waste (process diagramed below1). Household systems are typically small outdoor structures with pipes that run underground into the home and rely on cow dung as the organic input.

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In order to see biogas in action we visited Namisindwa a village on the other side of the mountain to see how their home systems were working for them! Below are some photos from our visit:

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homeowners put the cow dung here and it will slowly make its way to down to start its change from dung to gas! Surprisingly it doesn’t smell.

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A gas nozzle

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The gas pressure gauge inside a house

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the stove that is powered by biogas!

 

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A training school has also installed a biogas system to power their kitchen. They use a mix of human and cow waste

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One of two cookstoves in the kitchen of the training school which feeds 300 students everyday

There are several international organizations involved in bringing biogas technology to Uganda. To learn more about these efforts, called the “Uganda Domestic Biogas Programme (UDBP),” please visit www.heifer.org and www.africabiogas.org.

 

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Hi everyone,

Our newest interns arrived at the beginning of June and will be here for 2 months working on data entry, teaching english games to the teachers and students of Buyobo nursery school, working with a small group of orphans for a pilot run of a potential new outreach project and interviewing borrowers!

Without further adue please let me introduce Lilia and Cerina!

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Hi! My name is Lilia, I’m 21 years old (as of yesterday!), and I’m from the great city of Boston, Massachusetts, USA. I love to learn languages, meet new people, sing and play music, and travel whenever I have the chance. I am passionate about children’s rights issues and community development, and hope to have a long career making the lives of kids and families around the world a little bit better. Currently, I am entering my second year at Leiden University in The Hague, Netherlands. I study International Studies with a concentration in Africa and the Swahili language. In my course of study, I’ve had the chance to learn about the languages, cultures, history, and politics of many places in Africa, but I wanted to experience East Africa from a more personal, “boots on the ground” perspective. Studying in an international university in such a diverse and multinational city as the Hague has exposed me to new friendships and relationships with people from all around the world, which motivated me even more to seek knowledge and experiences of the places my friends call home.

In my future career, I plan to work in international development and human rights law in Africa, so I wanted to gain some experience and perspective on the issues facing vulnerable communities here. I knew that the socioeconomic situation in Uganda is particularly harsh in rural villages, so when I found out about the work that WMI is doing to empower rural women and their communities here, I knew I wanted the chance to be involved. I reached out and applied, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to join WMI as a summer intern! I am especially enjoying the work we are doing with the orphan outreach program, as supporting the development and wellbeing of vulnerable children is something near to my heart. I am loving my time here in Uganda, and I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to learn, experience new things, and be a part of the incredible impact that WMI is making throughout Uganda and East Africa!

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Hey my name is Cerina! I am 19 years old, and come from Auckland, New Zealand. One year ago, I packed up my stuff, said goodbye to my family and friends and moved to the U.S to study Economics at Princeton University. I hope to initially find a job in the financial sector, and then transition into a career that more closely mirrors the work that I have been doing here in Uganda – perhaps as a consultant for a NGO or in working for a development bank. I really like working with numbers, and analyzing data, so am pretty set in finding a job in the business sphere.

 I love to travel, and I especially enjoy exploring new cities, so living one hour away from NYC was one of the highlights of my freshman year. Coming to Africa was a tick of my bucket list, as I have always wanted to visit, but could never quite convince my parents to book a family vacation here as opposed to our regular holiday spot in Australia. I have only been in Uganda for two weeks and already know that it holds a soft spot in my heart. It is a beautiful country, and I have been humbled by the mountains that surround Buyobo and Mbale, and by the beauty of the Nile River. Everybody here in Buyobo has been so welcoming and kind, which has made staying in Buyobo a true pleasure. I am looking forward to seeing more of what Uganda has to offer, and working closely with the community of Buyobo for my remaining month and a half here.

 

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