Winter 2020/2021 Cohort
CONNECT · ENGAGE · BUILD
~ Saurabh Sethia
I highly recommend DOWA for your internships to start up with your professional career.
Doing an internship with DOWA and working with Data Science Nigeria (DSN) was a very pleasant experience for me. I had exposure to many things which are related to my field.
I was working on an ed-tech project where I was a part of various phases of SDLC such as I was a part of the Planning phase where I had to gather business requirements, develop project proposals, and do some market analysis. Then, I was also part of the developing phase, where I was working preparing automated bots for the project and worked on the integration of bots with various social media platforms, and so on.
I highly recommend DOWA for your internships to start up with your professional career.
Thank you for giving me an opportunity to work with your organization.
~ Brianna Lawton
Iowa State University
Being a DOWA 2020-21 Intern Fellow with Funema was an eye-opening experience that beautifully connected with my interests and future endeavors unexpectedly.
This internship and the projects I worked on were outside my field of expertise but exposed me to learning new skills and areas in business like marketing and finances, while also giving me an opportunity to enhance and utilize skills that I already grasped. I learned the different levels of a venture capitalist firm, learning and exploring new skills in business, marketing, company growth and the importance of partnerships. I had the opportunity to strengthen my research skills by drafting a sustainable program framework with sustainable sources of funding for company portfolio to support growth (i.e. supply/value chain; available funding opportunities and consumer partnerships).
I also was given the opportunity to curate and prepare data narrative, and writeup a marketing strategy for respective clients. I was able to rely on my team building, presentation, and research skills. I believe my academic training to think critically, and problem solve assisted me and overlapped with my internship experience working for a startup where creative ideas, cultivating innovative solutions, and being flexible is welcomed. Some challenges that I faced during my internship was adjusting to different communication styles, the time difference, and work culture.
Though I was able to adjust quickly after a week or so and relying on past experiences, I was able to convey this shift in perspective and my understanding of cultural dynamics with my fellow DOWA interns in my cohort being it was a lot of their first time ever working in an international setting or multinational company. I believe my biggest accomplishment during my internship was stepping outside my comfort zone in skillset working for a startup company along with networking and taking initiative to learn new things that have and potentially will propel me in my personal endeavors in starting my own business and not-for-profit organization.
Thank you, DOWA, for an opportunity to advance my career goals and personal aspirations.
~ Liam Casey
University of Washington
“Whatever it is you're seeking won't come in the form you're expecting.” - Murakami
My experience with DOWA was incredibly rewarding. I joined the program in Winter 2020 with a nebulous, ill-defined idea of my career trajectory. Having double-majored in economics and international studies, I knew I wanted to work in emerging markets, particularly with respect to capacity-building. Capacity-building is the bottom-up development of resources, abilities, and processes that strengthen and revitalize underdeveloped communities.
I once believed that the only way to work in this industry was through a charity. Ironically, my DOWA partner organization was Funema: a start-up venture capital (VC) firm based in Nigeria and South Africa. The company takes a share of equity from start-ups. In exchange, it provides them with the financing and consulting they need to scale. The organization is unique for its focus on African social enterprises.
The philosophy of Funema is simple. If you can provide local entrepreneurs with the technical expertise they need, you allow local communities to solve poverty issues without outside help. Having witnessed the success of the organization, I much prefer the Funema model to the charity approach.
The Funema team provided me with an instrumental education on VC. I worked on complex financial models, developed business plans, and conducted market research analysis. But more importantly, my internship pushed me to become a leader in my own right. I often had to identify where projects could be improved -- or overhauled entirely.
I cannot say with certainty that I will work in VC or in emerging markets. Life is so unexpected. Nevertheless, I would recommend the DOWA experience to any college student seeking balance with professional development and an opportunity to do good work for Africa.
~ Alexis Bagley
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Tell me, and I will forget
Show me, and I may remember
Involve me, and I will understand
I learned so much between my experiences working with DOWA and my partnered company CPDI Africa. I am confident these experiences can and will be used in all of my future challenges. This internship has significantly improved my knowledge of my internship focus, grant writing, and has left me with skills that will be useful throughout my career. Last year, I had the opportunity to write proposals to help fund CPDI Africa. Thus, I had to learn to plan, work accurately, and react to the results. This process included researching potential donors, keeping up with deadlines, and creating persuasive proposals to obtain interest from our donors. In addition to working alongside my team, I was introduced to many great staff and interns who also worked with DOWA. I was able to collaborate and ask questions with my fellow interns, as well as have DOWA support me throughout my whole duration of the internship. My internship at DOWA has left me with a series of technical and personal skills that I know will make me more successful as a future grant writer and as a person.
~ Godfrey Nkolokosa
University of Strathclyde
My journey with DOWA has been memorable and transformational. I believe that DOWA internship program is one of the best internship programs out there!
From participating in insightful professional webinars with experts to interning first-hand with a start-up organization, DOWA has significantly contributed to my personal and professional growth.
I did my internship for 8 weeks with a start-up architectural school called CPDI Africa. Throughout my internship, I received constant support from both CPDI Africa and DOWA. For example, I received weekly check up emails from DOWA and attended bi-weekly zoom meetings where all DOWA interns reflected on their internship progress.
Thanks to CPDI Africa, my biggest highlight has been being able to use specific keywords to research grants and other funding opportunities for the organization. I have also grown so much in how I communicate professionally with people. CPDI Africa helped me achieve this by giving me endless opportunities to share my opinions on different things within the organization during weekly management meetings.
~ Sara Albert
DOWA has prepared me to become a more avid problem solver, more hard working, and extremely grateful for the resources I have access to.
I interned through Girls Child Concerns at DOWA this past winter. My overall experience was great. I learned so much about the schools in Nigeria and the main essence of Girls Child Concerns. I also learned a lot about the history of the Boko Haram insurgency which is something I had not had a lot of prior education on. I took a lot of value in all of the things I learned and what Girls Child Concerns main goal is. My favorite aspect of the internship was definitely speaking with the students that have gone to Girls Child Concerns schools and how it has prepared them to tackle their biggest goals. Speaking with the students over zoom, hearing their journeys, and understanding their own personal stories and struggles was extremely inspiring.
DOWA has prepared me to become a more avid problem solver, more hard working, and extremely grateful for the resources I have access to. I also really enjoyed speaking with the doctor and understanding the medical side of Girls Child Concerns and as an undergraduate student on the pre medical track, gaining more knowledge of that aspect of Girls Child Concerns is very captivating. Overall interning at Girls Child Concerns was a great experience and if given the opportunity over another break I would love to continue to intern and learn even more imperative information through DOWA.
~ Michelle Tetteh
George Washington University
These internships are beneficial for individuals who would like to contribute to the work being done by organizations in Africa, even if they are not on the continent. I would suggest to students interested in learning about or who want to work in Africa to participate in the internship program that DOWA offers.
DOWA's internship program is an opportunity to connect and work with organizations across the African continent. The internship with Girl Child Concerns (GCC) though it was brief, was a great way to participate and observe the work done by local organizations to help their communities. In this case, GCC focusing on improving educational opportunities in Nigeria for the youth, especially girls. Conducting the social media audit with a fellow intern was interesting. While working together, we analyzed and provided ideas to increase engagement on GCC's social media accounts. These accounts included Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. Also, having meetings interacting with other interns was great. It was a chance to hear about the organizations they were working with, their input as interns, and their interests in Africa.
~ Leslie Rodriguez
Texas A&M University
I had a great time interviewing for companies in Africa through the DOWA program. It was an eye-opening experience as my role as an intern was to look for ways to get educational content to students in Africa who didn’t have access to the internet or electricity during the COVID pandemic. I had the pleasure of working with Data Science Nigeria (DSN) who is also a leading non-profit Artificial Intelligence organization that helps solve social problems such as those of education. I would encourage students to volunteer some of their time to be part of this as it was a rewarding experience, and it really helps you connect and learn about a different culture in another country.
Through my time here I got to build a platform where I helped present our ideas of ways that we could deliver high-quality teacher content to students. I worked with a team on a google-document to help stage this presentation and I was able to offer some of that project management experience I had learned before. My other teammates worked on developing the software necessary to deliver the product.
I also really liked the weekly meetings with Ms. Miranda Melone (Program Coordinator) and how she helped foster a very fun and interactive environment by providing us with very interesting videos about Africa. As an organization, I think communication and regular weekly check-ups are very important for personal growth and support. I can’t wait to see what future accomplishments Data Science Nigeria and DOWA get to complete in the future.
~ Miranda Melone
University of Dayton
May 2020. Probably the worst time in recent history to finish a master’s degree. I began my job search in the midst of a global pandemic with two degrees and barely a year of full-time working experience. It took a full year and a half to land my current position as a program coordinator for the American College of Surgeons’s Operation Giving Back Program in Chicago, and it truly would not have been possible without the experience and skills I gained during my time as a program coordinator with DOWA - Doing Good Work in Africa.
After spending six years of my life as a full-time student, learning, experiencing, and reflecting, I knew what kind of work I wanted to do and what kind of organization I wanted to work for. On a whim, I applied for an internship with DOWA fully knowing it would be unpaid, but I needed to do something to prevent a gap in my resume. Just a few minutes into the interview, I knew it would be a good fit. Here were these two wonderful, smart, passionate ladies working not to “help” or provide aid to their African partners but working to provide a mutually beneficial professional experience not only for their African organization partners but also for American university students, many of whom are members of the diaspora. The emphasis on working together to challenge the stereotypical perceptions of Africa while facilitating cultural exchange was exactly what I was looking for.
I jumped right in - recruiting for their second ever intern cohort and first winter program.
After just a few months, I was offered a part-time position as a program coordinator which I happily accepted. The position with more hours and compensation gave me the opportunity to spend more time on the cultural exchange work with students which I love. I am so grateful DOWA trusted me enough to hire me as their first employee. I learned so much about creating a stable foundation for a new organization, working with international partners, managing multiple projects at once, and communicating new thoughts and ideas.
The skills and experience I gained through DOWA absolutely made a difference in my job search and contributed to my success in finding a full-time opportunity. I look forward to witnessing how DOWA will grow in the future and continue to make a positive impact not only for individuals like myself but for universities, companies, and nations at large.