By Aberdeen Leary
Bre Begley is a senior undergraduate student at UW-Madison. During the summer of 2018, she completed an internship abroad with an organization called Health Access Connect in Uganda. In this AFRICA IN OUR LIVES, Bre shares what motivated her to work abroad and what it was like to be a part of the Health Access Connect team.
Field of study: Biology; Certificates in Gender & Women’s Studies & Global Health
Hometown: Weston, WI
Tell us a bit about the internship you completed this past summer with Health Access Connect.
I served as a Program & Development Intern for Health Access Connect. Health Access Connect is a non-profit that works on improving health access disparities in rural Uganda. They connect individuals living in villages and fishing landing sites with monthly healthcare access by coordinating transportation means for Ugandan health workers. With a blend of microfinance and organizing efforts within the community, the organization works to create a sustainable and regular means of care access. In my position, I worked on improving the grant tracking system. I both researched and evaluated potential grant opportunities. Here, I had my first experiences with writing preliminary versions of grant proposals. Additionally, I had the opportunity to compile testimonials from the Ugandan beneficiaries and health workers. This internship was phenomenal in giving me a thorough understanding of the administration, logistics, and impact of a growing non-profit. With heavy collaboration with the Executive Director & UW-Madison alumni, Kevin Gibbons, I was able to gain insight and give feedback on many of the current projects that the organization was working on. It was insightful to be able to experience and learn about international non-profits both in the office setting and in the field.
What did you learn during your internship that will shape you in the long run?
I became firmer in my understanding and opinions of the impacts of non-governmental organizations. I learned that the most effective solutions must involve the community members and have a sustainable plan of action. These understandings will impact the types of organizations I will work for in the future. On a personal level, I also learned the value of developing my cross-cultural communication skills. Understanding the basis of another culture is a key piece of understanding and effectively organizing with individuals from a culture different from your own.
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