Nabila Walji with co-workers at LVCT Health’s site in Korogocho, Kenya.
I am completing a degree with a double major in Anthropology and International Development Studies. My main areas of focus in both of these fields are culture and society. I am interested in what shapes culture and society, how they impact other processes such as development, and how they can ethically be a part of development. I was seeking an internship that could give me real life experience in my field of international development as well as expose me aspects in development other than culture and society, such as health. I was especially interested in the East African context because I wanted to build on previous work I had done with an organization called Learning Beyond Borders, in Western Uganda. Having family history in the area also made an internship in Kenya very appealing.
LVCT Health, formerly Liverpool VCT, is a Kenyan NGO that works to provide universal access to HIV testing, counseling and treatment services. It works in research, policy and programming to help impact the status of HIV/AIDS in Kenya. Coming into the organization I was interested in learning about the way the organization works, in expanding my understanding of the effect of HIV/AIDS in Kenya and in gaining some field experience. My internship was in LVCT Health’s youth department and my duties included creating a one2one website report for the youth website’s revamping, finalizing posters targeting the needs of girls in school, and creating a program profile for the youth department. I led collaborative efforts in the completion and follow-up of these items. I also undertook fieldwork at LVCT Health’s youth Hotline office, at policy meetings, as well as visits in Korogocho, a slum near Nairobi. I took interest in learning about work done in other departments, and sought advice from many of my colleagues to maximize my internship learning experience. Accordingly, I also created a report identifying programming gaps, which was based on my experiences as well as on the reflections of my co-workers. Through my work experiences, I was able to complete all of my goals by the end of my internship.