A Postcard From: Farida Ilboudo ’18

Name: Farida Ilboudo
Class Year: 2018
Major: Anthropology
Hometown: New York

Internship Placement: Alma Mater Education
Job Title: Development Assistant

What’s happening at your internship?

A lot of things are happening at my internship. Because the organization is new, it has been a bit difficult to fully develop a consistent work schedule and task. With the heads of the organization, many located in the UK and Ghana, and one located in Washington, it has a been a bit difficult to completely grasp my role and task. I have been assigned the duty of development assistant and I was not sure what exactly is expected of me and from me. I do really have great interest in independent organizations that are building schools with the input of Africans in Africa, particularly Ghana. I really look forward to learning how to start my own organization that does not invade and performs the role of westerner coming to save Africa and how to provide adequate education to many in Africa and hopefully in the country that I was born and raised in. Despite the challenges presented by the new role … I am still very thrilled and dedicated to learning more and raising funds for the organization.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship because it provided me with a way to consider my future. I am very interested in education and educational development in Africa. As someone who briefly experience the educational system in an African country, I am invested and dedicated to learning about post-colonial education and how a combination of the Western education system and the post-colonial education system present in many African countries can provide a new and improved satisfactory system. Alma Mater Education is a Western-based education organization that has built schools in Ghana, providing students the education I envision for the future of schools.

Was there anything special about how you found this internship?

I found this internship after being a Lagim Tehi Tuma: Thinking Together Fellow. Alice Lesnick, who is the professor and program director, introduced me to Jason Tsichlis, the now Agriculture Director. Jason was a Peace Corps volunteer in Burkina Faso, which is where I was born and raised. He found this documentary that focused on Musicians in Mali, who rebelled against a Jihadist ban on music. As a member of Bryn Mawr’s African and Caribbean Student Organization Executive Board, I met Jason and we began speaking about BACaSO renting the documentary, our mutual love for Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso and our interest in education. From these conversations came the conversation about Alma Mater and how I could join the team.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced at your internship?

The biggest challenge I have faced at my internship is the great independence and new role. When I first began working for Alma Mater, I was assigned the role of program assistant, which was never really clear what was expected and required. I have been assigned the great task of raising revenue for the organization through fund raising and grant writing and I have zero experience with the two. I have been given the liberty of coming up with creative ways to raise the funds but so far all of my efforts have not lead to any donations. Given that there is only one person working from the U.S., besides myself, I find it a little difficult not having a directly given assignment that I can work on that I feel like I can confidently do. I am looking forward to the skills I will acquire fund raising, but most importantly, I am looking forward to learning what goes into grant writing so that I may begin writing them and also learn the ins and outs of developing an organization like Alma Mater.