Julie Savane(MID '11)
Julie Savane completed her summer (2010) internship in Mali, at Appui a la Promotion des Aides-Familes et a L'enfance (APAFE) Muso Danbe, a Malian organization whose mission is to prevent the use of child labor and support young adults who work as dome stic servants. Among its many programs, it provides evening literacy classes for young adults and assists them with issues such as unpaid wages, illness, abuse, and unexpected pregnancies.
At APAFE's headquarters in Bamako, Julie proposed a new data tracking system, drafted a social networking strategy, and collaborated on two grant applications for future projects. Through her courses at GSPIA, Savane has learned a great deal about development goals and initiatives, but explains that this practical experience in a foreign culture truly enhanced her GSPIA education and overall understanding of international development. She explains, "Through my internship experience in Mail, I gained an understanding about the cultural beliefs, attitudes, and traditions that are complicit in the perpetuation of female genital mutilation, early and forced marriage, and female illiteracy. My Malian colleagues impressed me with their use of Malian social values as a strategic tool in their fight against these practices."
For example, when working in a village to stop female genital mutilation, Savane and her colleagues incorporated the advice from all sectors of society (i.e., government, traditional leaders, NGOs, civil society groups, parents, and educators) so that they could generate a widespread consensus on the best way to fight against this difficult societal issue.
Savane further emphasized the value of her internship experience, "It is the combination of my experiences in American nonprofits, as well as the knowledge that I have gained from GSPIA courses such as, Micropolitics and Management of Nonprofit Organizations, which has provided me with a useful framework to compare nonprofit environments across countries and identify constraints that are specific to the African context."
Julie Savane will graduate this spring with a Master's in International Development, majoring in Non-governmental Organizations and Civil Society. She is also a participant in the Johnson Institute's Leadership Portfolio Program.