Africa Outlook is a non-profit organization in Washington DC whose aim is to empower local communities in East Africa to respond to the social and economic challenges that they face. To this end, we support sustainable development initiatives by partnering with local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and working to strengthen their organizational capacity by mobilizing the skills, expertise and commitment of college students from around the globe.
Our internship program is founded on the idea that individuals and communities are empowered through partnerships. As such, we facilitate collaboration between students and NGOs with the belief that the exchange of knowledge, skills and ideas will be a mutually beneficial experience for both parties. To ensure the best possible match, we give careful consideration to the prospective intern’s skill set and interests, as well as the needs of our partner organizations. We also believe that communities are best able to identify their own needs, and to that end, we are committed to providing organizations with interns that possess the skills which will help them carry out their objectives, while also ensuring that the placement is personalized to fit each intern’s needs.
Interns are placed in NGOs in a variety of sectors including: health, education, community development, poverty reduction, human rights, democracy and governance, peace and reconciliation, children’s rights, women’s empowerment, film and media, and environmental conservation. They are involved in dynamic work including advocacy, capacity building, provision of social services, project design/management, policy development, grant writing, marketing, monitoring and evaluation, research, communication, web design/IT, photojournalism, film, and other initiatives.
Identifying an internship placement that is satisfactory to both the intern and NGO is only part of what we offer. We also take the time to follow up during the course of the internship to identify successes and challenges, and to monitor the progress of projects that the intern is involved in. We strongly believe that open communication is essential to maximize the experience for both parties.
The Africa Outlook internship program not only allows interns to gain invaluable international work experience - it also provides them with an unrivalled opportunity to become immersed in a completely different way of life. Experiential learning is the cornerstone of our program, and one of the primary aims of Africa Outlook is to increase cross-cultural understanding through exposure to diverse groups of people, environments and living conditions. For fall 2011, our program will be focused in Nairobi, and interns will be afforded the opportunity to experience authentic Kenyan culture through living, working, and interacting with Kenyans in their everyday lives.
Simultaneously, these experiences are intended to benefit local communities in several ways:
1. We support the hiring of locals and work to build on pre-existing grassroots initiatives: all our in-country staff are Kenyans and the majority of the NGOs that we partner with are Kenyan-owned and/or operated organizations - it is therefore their knowledge and ideas that drive the project; we are simply there to support their mission;
2. A percentage of the program fee (2%) is utilized to provide free medical services to those living in the slums: this will be a one-day community service event in which interns, together with a professional medical team, will work to administer de-worming for children, high-blood pressure tests for adults and free check-ups at a small independent clinic in the Kibera slum in Nairobi;
3. We invest in sustainable tourism: our weekend excursions and tourism trips support individuals and communities who would not otherwise benefit from large-scale tourism.
We also aspire to provide interns with authentic experiences. Some of the highlights of these excursions include: trips to local markets, camping in Naivasha, and visiting a traditional village where interns can participate in a variety of community activities such as farming, cooking local meals, watching traditional dances and making crafts. Other tourist trips include traveling to the Rift Valley to experience the best of Kenya’s wildlife, and visiting sites such as freshwater lakes, caves and Lake Naivaisha National Park where thousands of flamencos flock each year. From the city to the coast, interns will experience the full range of what Kenya has to offer - historical sites, towns, beaches, stunning natural wilderness, and of course, wildlife - at an affordable rate, all while supporting local communities, gaining professional international work experience, and building lifelong friendships.