Erin Ingram (MID '12)
My name is Erin Ingram and I spent last summer (2011) interning at the Lisha Mtoto Initiative, a new nonprofit working in theKibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya, providing children with education, nutrition, and health care. I found the internship through another student at GSPIA who had worked with the founder the previous year.
Since the organization is brand new, I spent the summer working on baseline projects to get the Initiative off the ground and running smoothly. With a team of GSPIA students and our Kenyan founder, we filed the paperwork to officially register as a nonprofit with the Kenyan government, form a board of directors, and create the mission and vision of the organization. We also networked extensively with other nonprofits working in Kibera to learn best practices and find potential partnerships. I created a social media presence for the organization, helped design a website and blog, and researched grants and other funding opportunities.
I gained a large amount of experience in building a new organization, and a strong understanding of the essential components that are in order for an organization to have a lasting impact on the community. I had the opportunity to lead different parts of the project over the summer, and learned a great deal about team dynamics and effective team leadership.
My GSPIA education helped me to analyze and logically consider the poverty that I saw around me while working in the slums. Courses on economics, management, and human development made it easier for me to think about how our organization fit into the larger picture of what I was seeing, and how to try and direct it so that it would have its maximum impact.
The internship was an eye opening experience, and a valuable part of my graduate education.