Being an Master of Social Work student with a particular interest in education for development, interning with the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) was a conscious step toward my career growth in the vast field of international development. I am Adedoyin Adewunmi, an international student from Nigeria, and I am currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in the School of Social Work (International and Community Development Stream), McGill University. My interest lies in driving educational inclusion and promoting equal and quality education for the most vulnerable groups in society, particularly in the Global South. However, I am relatively new to the field of international development. As I sought to learn the complexities of this new field, apply theoretical knowledge gained in class, and navigate my career path, I knew the summertime was the right time for me. While determining how my summer would be, I came across the CAMFED internship posting on the ION website and applied. Three significant things stood out about CAMFED; its tremendous work in educating and empowering women and girls, its focus on Africa, and its unique strategy: the multiplier effect (helping to help others).
Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED), founded by Ann Cotton in 1993, is an international organization that aims to promote women's and girls' access to education and economic development. The international organization, which channels its developmental work across five African countries, including Ghana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania and Malawi, has helped over 48 million girls access education and economic empowerment. CAMFED operates within the multiplier effect model, a unique strategy of forming a community of girls and women who have benefitted from CAMFED and encouraging them to invest back into their community. This community, CAMA (CAMFED Association), constituting over 200,000 empowered women and girls, continues to push for change at the global forefront, supporting more girls and young women in their communities.
While at CAMFED, I performed various tasks, such as taking the Mastercard Foundation (MCF-9) meeting minutes and prospecting on potential private and public donors whose funding interests align with CAMFED. Additionally, I had the privilege of attending several conference calls with other CAMFED teams in the UK, US and Ghana, which enabled me to understand various offices' different yet interconnected and interrelated functions. It was a great privilege to create an educational document on Zoom best practices along with my co-intern, Karlee Thomas and lead a presentation educating the CAMFED Canada team on Zoom best practices. One thing that stood out for me while at CAMFED is the admirable shared understanding of its goals by all staff and the staff's dedication to achieving its strategic objectives. This made it easy for me to understand and align my role expectation with my learning objectives. Amazingly, every team member was always available to render required assistance. My major highlight was being given credit for every task and praised for my achievements (I also got a physical thank you card mailed to me from Toronto).
Experiencing my first internship as a remote one was quite challenging for me. More than this, managing different time zones across the operational countries of CAMFED was a task. However, with the help of my supervisor, Kayleigh O'Malley, my transition to remote work came easy. My supervisor ensured that my meeting schedules were adequately planned and communicated in time and were equally converted to suit my time zone, making it easy to track meeting times. One takeaway from the work environment in CAMFED is that productivity is not only determined by the result but also dependent on the environment where these results are generated, and CAMFED gave the most suitable environment.
Although I will not receive academic credit by engaging in this internship, it will help me carve a career niche and improve my understanding of what I am taught in class. Having further personal and career interactions with my supervisor, Kayleigh, has opened me to many job role choices and expanded my vision to dig deep into knowledge. Additionally, the choice of topic for my Independent Study Project (ISP), which is a requirement for my graduation, was influenced by my internship with CAMFED.
I am thankful to the McGill Faculty of Arts for the Faculty of Arts Action Plan to Address Anti-Black Racism for the funding provided for my internship with CAMFED Canada. As one who has engaged over the past weeks in prospecting for donors, I acknowledge the never-ending importance of funding. Therefore, I am incredibly grateful to be selected to be a beneficiary of this Faculty of Arts award.