Barbora Nemcova (MPIA '10)
Barbora Nemcova, MPIA '10, spent her summer (2010) in Accra, Ghana interning for the Society for Women and AIDS in Africa Ghana (SWAA Ghana). SWAA is a Pan-African Women's organization committed to reducing the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and children in Africa.
As part of her internship, Nemcova lived with a host family in the Accra countryside and traveled to her office in the city each day. At the office, she worked with the SWAA staff to write reports, work on the organization's newsletter and brochure. Although, her most important assignment was a research project that focused on the support made available for women and children suffering with this disease. For her research, she traveled in and around Accra, conducting interviews and attending support group meetings for people living with HIV/AIDS.
With a population of about 4 million people, "Accra is a big city with a small-town mentality," explains Nemco "People are extremely nice, everyone is friendly and I always felt safe. The traditional African culture isn't very visible on the streets, as it is for example in South Africa.”
Throughout her research, Nemcova interacted with program officers from SWAA's organizational partners, as well as with individuals living with HIV/AIDS, orphans, and community leaders while workin in the field. Nemcova explains how her internship experience enhanced her GSPIA education, "I have been able to utilize and expand the knowledge I have gained from courses on social development taken at GSPIA, while learning how to face situations and problems that are not found between the pages of a book.”
"My Ghanaian experience has taught me that the development world can be both frustrating and exciting, and it is often up to us which part we decide to embrace. I learned that it is necessary to go beyond what is on the paper when it comes to services for people. Last, but not least, I saw once again that what we are constantly being told at GSPIA about networking is true. It is extremely important and can get you to people whom you would never think you would meet in person.”
Barbora Nemcova will graduate in December 2010 with a Masters in Public and International Affairs and a major in Human Security