I had put “week 9/12” in the title, before I looked up the calendar and realized this is already the last but two week of my internship in Nairobi. Although ten weeks have passed since I arrived in Kenya for the first time, I am only starting to discover that there remains so much I have yet to explore.
For my internship, one thing I have been trying to do is finding ways to get out of my office or someone else’s office or meeting rooms – aka, doing field visits. Though I am thankful for the opportunities to interact with many partners who make important decisions in the macro-level, I am also eager to see things on the other end. Thus, I have decided that when the internship package does not come with field visits, I make one (or more) for myself.
So last week I visited a school after work with my colleague, where I observed some real and tangible challenges on the ground, which seemed somehow contradictory to the ambitious top-down plan from the government that I have been working on. I will discuss more details in future posts. In addition, I got an opportunity to get out of Nairobi to visit Kisumu, the third largest city in Kenya, as well as a nearby village, on a media trip with two journalists from a Chinese media.
Luckily, my supervisor is also very supportive and encourages me to create my own opportunities at the internship. In May he took me to a meeting with national library services representatives from Kenya, Ghana and Uganda, which was also joined by two NGOs specialized in content provision for schools and communities in Sub-Saharan Africa. One of them left me a good impression because their work in digital content distribution emphasizes contextualization and is relevant to a major ICT project my organization is trying to push forward. Since my supervisor is also interested in learning more about their work, I followed up with them to suggest another one-on-one meeting.
A month later, they came to our office for the meeting. Afterwards, I walked them out to the gate. On our way out, I asked them questions related to their projects – it turned out that they were partner of an organization whose evaluation report I had read for class last semester – also, they talked about their projects being implemented in schools across the country. I then expressed my interest to go to the “field”. They then offered to take me along to one of their future visits! I told my supervisor about it afterwards, he was also happy because I could use the opportunity to get to know the organization better and come up with a concept note for my organization to partner with them. So now, I am waiting for them to get back to me regarding their schedule in late July. Fingers crossed that things will work out, especially since now is rather a busy time of the year for the organization.
Last but not least, I would like to thank my organization for having a big complex and a long walk to the gate 🙂