This week, our amazing Global Impact Intern, Emily Wesseling guest-wrote a blog about her 3-month internship with S H E. We were absolutely honored to launch an internship program with such a committed, thoughtful, and humble woman like Emily, and we're beyond excited to continue creating meaningful opportunities for learning and shared impact with our global team in the years to come.
When I think about my time at S H E , one word comes to my mind: humbled. I am humbled by the relentless passion of those who are advocating for women’s and girls’ rights, by the mission and vision of S H E , and by the experience of completing a remote internship during a global pandemic. Having the opportunity to work with a relatively young non-profit has been so special for many reasons. Of course, being able to put my skills to use in an impactful way is something that I am incredibly grateful for, but beyond that, I feel like I have been able to help the organization bring their ideas and goals to life.
My internship consisted of three projects over three months, during which I worked closely with three of S H E ’s amazing team members. First, we researched and created an education program impact assessment of S H E ’s work in Togo. This report included information about the Togolese school system, barriers girls face in accessing education, and the impact of S H E through sponsorships, programs, and outreach events in Notsé and the Haho prefecture. The end of the report also included a deeper analysis into the overall strengths, shortcomings, and next steps for the organization.
Secondly, we developed a curriculum, with several goals and over 40 activities that help achieve these goals. The curriculum aligns with specific developmental objectives and will help S H E ’s after-school programs guide girls towards being and feeling empowered in three categories: Resources, Agency, and Opportunities.
Lastly, we helped design intake and annual surveys for the seamstresses and sponsored girls, which S H E will use to better assess their program strengths, next steps, and gather feedback from the women and girls they support.
Looking back on my internship and what we accomplished during those three months, I would define my role within program development, but also in communication and translation. Initially, I read French field notes and reports, which were written in incredible detail by S H E ’s Togo Program Director, in order to translate her research and put it into the impact report. However, the three major projects I worked on were essentially dreams that S H E had before I started - I was tasked with transforming these ideas into tangible projects and outcomes.
It was amazing to watch some of the organization’s objectives, such as a targeted and specific activity curriculum for the after-school program, transition into a 36-page handbook filled with empowerment goals and corresponding activities. It has been so rewarding to help design initiatives to measure how S H E supports its women and girls over time, which will only strengthen the organization and guide them in their intentional, effective efforts to empower women in Togo and beyond.
Being a part of S H E has helped me learn so much about myself. When you have the chance to get involved with a non-profit organization, you don’t truly realize how your own values and perception of the world will be altered. After visiting Togo three years ago and now having the chance to support some of the girls and women I met, it amazes me to think about the impact Togo and its people have had on me to this day, and how challenging and equally empowering it is to do the work that non-profits like S H E does. Interning with S H E has renewed my passion for addressing girls’ education and faith that organizations can simultaneously be sustainable, ethical, and successful. Supporting girls and women is one of the best things we can do to lift communities out of poverty, and it has been an absolute pleasure to be a part of it through this internship.