Amanda Kitanga (MID '13)
During the summer of 2012, I spent my internship working in Nairobi, Kenya for Pact. Pact is a US based NGO that operates all over the world that mainly focuses on strengthening the capacity of grassroots organizations. I worked on Pact Kenya’s Kenyan Civil Society Strengthening Program (KCSSP), which is a six and half year USAID grant project focusing on democracy and governance, natural resource management, and peace building and conflict management.
The project began in 2006 and is coming to a close later this year. I mainly participated in conducting evaluations of Pact’s sub-grant partners for the conclusion of the project. I was able to meet with organization leaders from all three sectors of KCSSP throughout all of Kenya. All of the work I completed was for USAID’s evaluation of Pact and KCSSP. As an MID student, I was incredibly excited to gain experience in a developing country and in the field.
Through the partner meetings, I learned so much about development and how development differs for different people and places. Each organization that I met with was incredibly successful at its work. One of the best experiences I had was when I meet with an organization called Genesis Arts Creation. This NGO focuses on using art and sports as medium for peace in the Rift Valley. It’s an organization run by youth in the South Rift Valley. It holds a number of events for disadvantaged youth including art festivals, sporting events, and cultural festivals. I met with many young men and women who recounted their experiences during the 2008 Post-Election Violence. Some were perpetrators and others were victims. It was incredibly moving to hear their stories and see them working peacefully together. These youth are incredibly hopeful for the next election to be peaceful.
From this experience in Kenya, I am certain that I want to work in development. I plan to continue studying development issues specifically food security and agricultural development in Kenya and East Africa. I appreciate the amazing opportunity Pact gave me.
To learn more about Amanda’s amazing internship, click here.