Summer 2020



Patrick Kehinde.MOV

~ Patrick Kehinde

University of Pennsylvania

My name is Patrick Kehinde Jr. and I am a current Computer Science major at the University of Pennsylvania and data science intern at Facebook. During the summer of 2020, I participated in the DOWA program as a Research and Content Development Intern at Funema, an alternative-impact investment company based in Nigeria and South Africa. 

My internship at Funema showed me that I enjoyed contextualizing data and conducting deep research to solve abstract problems. It gave me professional experience as I applied to Facebook University Analytics.    

My very first project was to research the digital literacy rates of all 54 countries in Africa. This research would allow Funema to properly gage its customers’ needs. The most interesting part of the project was translating my gathered data into maps to demonstrate regional patterns and trends. The map visualization really proves how distinct the conditions of each African country are. The relatively high digital literacy rate of South Africa due to its widening Internet access around the country juxtaposes with the low digital literacy rate in Zimbabwe due to high internet price rates and overbearing government control.

From this project, I learned that you need to think outside the box to attain your desired data.  I used this mindset throughout my internship at Facebook. Another benefit of participating in this internship is that I learned I am very interested in venture capital. Although I didn't get to work with Funema's partners to a high degree due to time constraints, I sincerely believe VC is where I want my career to be during the latter half.

Overall, joining the DOWA program made what could have been a boring unproductive program locked inside my house, into a fruitful summer building the path to my future career.

~ Ijeoma Nwuke

Dartmouth College

In the summer of 2020, I  was fortunate enough to intern with DOWA for three months, serving as a Data Analyst and Communications intern. Working in this position helped me experience the best of what DOWA has to offer. I communicated across different nonprofit organizations enacting impactful work in Africa as well as coordinated DOWA’s pilot programs. It was amazing being at the forefront, witnessing organizations making a difference in their respective countries. I learnt to plan and manage my time efficiently, maximizing my engineering degree to solve problems and ensure that DOWA works ran smoothly. I liked my work so much that I asked to come back again. The second time around, I joined the team as a Project Coordinator, helping with the team’s administrative tasks and helping revamp the organization’s website. It was another opportunity for me to join such an exciting, growing team and to view DOWA through a different lens. I worked for a longer period of time - six months - and grew as the organization did, supporting DOWA’s various programs. I witnessed DOWA have its first anniversary, a HUGE landmark, and am proud to have been a part of its many achievements,

Working at DOWA overall helped me become more flexible in my thinking and find creative solutions to difficult problems. I became more confident in my communication style, learnt to adapt to such a fast-paced environment, and learnt to deal with various types of data. These skills have been essential as I pivoted to my full-time role as a Research Analyst at Russell Reynolds. The experience helped me pave a path for myself that I was proud of. I am extremely grateful for my experience and can’t wait for more opportunities to make a difference on the African continent.

~ Raphael Noufele

University of Pennsylvania

Last summer I worked at Funema, an alternative impact investment firm that supports startups who are solving last mile issues. Within Funema, I interned in the Operations Department, helping the company ameliorate its processes. At first, I mostly worked on internal projects, trying to figure out ways in which Funema could be more efficient. I spent a lot of my time talking to employees, trying to understand each person’s role and responsibilities within the company, and how they could maximize their productivity. I also suggested the use of kpis (key performance indicators) and okrs (objective key results) that would better track each person’s progress on their tasks. 

After some time, I was able to work on different types of projects, most notably participating in the development of Temile, a startup that Funema is creating with the goal of better supporting small businesses with digital tools and access to information. I helped craft the business model as well as the lean canvas model, which is essentially an actionable, entrepreneur focused business plan. 

I am currently a Credit research intern with Fitch Ratings, a credit rating agency. I think my experience through DOWA ties into my future career in that following my experience with Funema, I've become more interested in the different types of investments that exist, notably venture capital and private equity. Those are two industries in which I'd like to work in.

Overall, I enjoyed my time at Funema and am grateful to DOWA for making this opportunity possible. Everyone I met was welcoming, open, and made me feel at ease. I wish both Funema and DOWA the very best in the years to come.

Toluwani Soares BFF.mp4

~ Toluwani Soares

Baylor University

Play the video for Toluwani's reflection of her DOWA experience


✦Co-authoring a United Nations-style case study on youth food producers

✦ Being trusted to represent BFF while pitching its mission, forging

partnerships, and fundraising

✦Initiating and cultivating 15 new business relationships in 2 months for BFF


✦Schedule “Introductory/Get to Know You” calls before strictly business calls. Make personal connections before discussing the finer details.

✦ Regularly updating my colleagues with my progress and scheduling bimonthly meetings helped me to navigate our 6-hr time difference

Yinyin Chen BFF.mp4

~ Yinyin Chen

Cornell University

Play the video for Yinyin's reflection of her DOWA experience


I really enjoy those Wednesday night meetings with the other DOWA interns. Virtual interning this summer has been fun but isolating at times. I feel like those weekly chats have made all the difference in my experience this summer.


The leaders who spoke about their goals and experiences made me feel incredibly inspired. Their ambition encouraged me to double down on the issues I care about and to really appreciate this community, that I am so grateful to be a part of now.

Tashweena Heeramun FUNEMA.mp4

~ Tashweena Heeramun

University of Pennsylvania

Play the video for Tashweena's reflection of her DOWA experience

I really enjoyed working with Funema, it gave me the opportunity to get a firsthand experience of working with ventures in Nigeria. Great way to do impactful work!

I was very inspired by the perseverance of the founder and other peole at the organization despite the numerous challenges and roadblocks that they face. I really learnt the value of resilience.