2013 MEDA Interns

We are pleased to announce that 14 new young professionals are launching their careers in international development as part of the 2013 cohort of MEDA interns. MEDA is excited for what skills they will bring to their internships with our project offices in Ethiopia, Ghana, Morocco, Nicaragua, Peru, Tanzania and Zambia along with one of our United States offices in Washington, D.C. You can stay up-to-date on their internship experiences with our MEDA blog, Stories from the Field! Now is your opportunity to get to know them a little better...

EDGET (Ethiopians Driving Growth through Entrepreneurship and Trade)

Emma Harris – Rural Microfinance Intern
Emma-HarrisEmma was born in Toronto, Ontario, however grew up in the suburb of Oakville. In 2013 she completed her degree from the University of Western Ontario, graduating with a major in business and a minor in psychology. Her senior year was spent studying abroad at Maastricht University in The Netherlands, where she gained valuable experience dealing with cross-cultural diversity. A passion for microfinance was sparked in May 2012, when she was granted the opportunity to spend a month living and working in Managua, Nicaragua. Following her MEDA internship, Emma hopes to continue her education with graduate studies, and ultimately become an entrepreneur. In the meantime, she is thrilled to work with MEDA and develop her knowledge and skill-set. Outside of her professional life, Emma is an avid horseback rider, runner, and enjoys reading and writing.

Shaunet Lewinson – Business Development Advisor
SShaunet-Lewinsonhaunet was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario with two older brothers and a younger sister. As a first generation Canadian, Shaunet was exposed to travel and cultural exploration from a young age. This motivated her to pursue a Bachelor of International Business degree from Carleton University where she was able to participate in a year-long international exchange to Amiens, France. Throughout her academic studies, Shaunet was involved with a local community-based charity that assisted lower-income individuals with financial services. She then took part in an internship with the US Embassy in Ottawa, further developing her business and trade skills. These experiences left her eager to pursue further opportunities in the international development field. She is excited to bring her experience to MEDA and hopes to learn much more about business development.

GROW (Greater Rural Opportunities for Women)

Daniel Penner – Communications/Impact Assessment Intern
Daniel-PennerDaniel has always enjoyed seeing new and different places, having been born in Bolivia, raised in Kansas, and having visited places like Morocco and Guatemala. After a year voluntary service in Paraguay in 2010, Daniel graduated in 2012 from Goshen College with a Bachelor's Degree in History and minors in Multimedia Communications and Business. During his time at Goshen he became interested in economic development and MEDA, writing his senior thesis on MEDA's original economic development work in Paraguay and creating a video for MEDA centering around food security. He spent the past year living in Seattle doing Mennonite Voluntary Service, working at the environmental news source Grist, analyzing site data, writing articles, and overseeing Grist's video production.

Gillian Perera - Nutrition/Food Security Intern
Gillian-PereraGillian Perera recently completed a B.Sc. in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Western Ontario, and holds an undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Toronto. She has facilitated the development of a community-based nutrition program for families with obese preschoolers and has also supported pre-diabetes patients in an education and lifestyle improvement intervention program. Her interests in community health and development took root during a trip to her hometown of Belize City where she donated her time to a local outreach centre as a caregiver to children affected or afflicted with HIV/AIDS. She also supervised a nutrition and physical activity workshop for school-aged children at Belize City Council’s Public Health Expo. Once back in Canada, Gillian continued her passion to serve the community and volunteered as a counselor for a confidential youth helpline, supporting youth during sensitive and difficult times. She is an enthusiastic supporter of cultural awareness and has organized campus events and projects as a multicultural club executive. She believes in having a genuine understanding of cultural and socioeconomic influences within a community and that equity is essential to the achievement of a healthy population. Gillian has a strong commitment to health and social justice and is excited to contribute to MEDA’s Greater Rural Opportunities for Women (GROW) project.

Jessica Adach - Gender Intern
Jessica-AdachAfter completing her undergraduate degree at the University of King's College/Dalhousie University and a Master's at the University of Guelph, Jessica decided to pursue a second Master’s degree in Human Rights and Genocide Studies through Kingston University London, which she has recently finished. Jessica's academic focus is on women's empowerment and gender issues, while her other interests include yoga, hiking, and time at the cottage. Throughout university she had the opportunity to study abroad in England, Italy, Germany and Poland. Jessica has experience working and volunteering in the fields of education and administration in Australia, Switzerland, Kenya and Cambodia as well as her hometown of Toronto. She has a passion for travel, learning about different cultures and helping others - Jessica is thrilled to join MEDA where these aspects are combined.


Jeelan Syed – Communication Development Intern
Jeelan-SyedJeelan holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the University of Toronto. In addition he has studied at Sciences Po and the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations in Paris. Over the past year and a half, Jeelan has taken part in two internships as a Political Analyst Intern in Kosovo and as a Project Assistant Intern in Kygystran. He has a keen interest in international affairs and speaks six languages including English, French, Russian, German, Arabic and Urdu. His interests include cross-country running, Nordic skiing, swimming, theatre and travelling.

Sanae Elamrani – Impact Assessment Intern

Sanae-ElamraniSanae has had opportunity to travel to Morocco on numerous occasions to meet relatives and volunteer at local orphanages. This insight instinctively led her to compare the multiple breaches between both worlds and the drastic differences in the quality of life. She holds a BA in International Studies and Modern Languages as well as a BA in International Studies and Globalization. Her most recent work experiences range from Financial Advisor at JP Morgan Chase, Junior Project Manager at the University of Ottawa and Usher at the National Arts Centre. In addition, she has volunteered at student associations such as the Students Aiding Village Empowerment (S.A.V.E) and the African Awareness Initiative (AAI), both of which combine cultural elements with humanitarian efforts. As the web designer and active member of the events committee for the Humanitarian Organization of Latin American Students (H.O.L.A.S.), she aided in organization and event promotion which have raised over $6000 for each project. Sanae realized fundraising alone can only remedy some of the inequalities in disadvantaged and vulnerable populations. It is her belief that every population has the key to eliminate poverty; a business perspective enables that possibility.

MiCredito & Techno-Links (Technology Links for Improved Access and Incomes)

Catherine Walker – Rural Microfinance Intern
Catherine-WalkerCatherine is from Toronto and holds a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Toronto as well as a post-graduate certificate in International Development and Project Management from Humber College. Catherine has spent the last year working with the Rural Education Institute of Mexico, a small non-profit that provides educational programs for children and youth living in rural Mexico. She has also spent time teaching English in Spain and has extensive experience working with children and youth. Microfinance has always been a great topic of interest for Catherine who focused her Master’s research on microfinance in Ghana. Catherine is extremely excited to be joining MEDA and for the opportunity to work with its partner MiCrédito in Nicaragua.

Sarah French – Impact Assessment Intern
Sarah-FrenchSarah is a graduate of Ottawa’s Carleton University in International Relations as well as Teaching English as a second language. Throughout her university studies, she travelled extensively, most recently completing a university exchange in Pamplona, Spain.  While abroad, she volunteered with OXFAM and also taught English. To date, her biggest accomplishment has been the personal growth she has received from the Rotary Exchange to Argentina she did at the age of 17. Her first hand experiences in Argentina with culture shock and poverty has molded and changed her direction on life.  This in turn aided her drive to volunteer even more upon return. She immediately became an active member of The Humanitarian Organization for Latin American Students (H.O.L.A.S), at Carleton, where fundraising was done to provide humanitarian support for countries in need. Sarah’s long term goal is to enable people to take responsibility for their own future development and she believes that MEDA’s values will help her substantially in meeting these goals. Her personal philosophy of helping is summed up by the proverb, “Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime.”

Techno-Links (Technology Links for Improved Access and Incomes)

Stefanie Santana – Value Chain Development Intern
Stefanie-SantanaStefanie V. Santana was born in Peru and then moved to Montréal, where she currently lives. She graduated with a Bachelors in Business Administration from HEC Montreal in Finance and International Business. In addition, Stefanie has had the opportunity to live in 3 different continents and has visited more than 15 countries. She is quite excited and grateful for this new international experience which will be an interesting journey of hard work, accomplishments and fun.

TNVS (Tanzania National Voucher Scheme)

Curtis Shane – I.T. Development Intern
Curtis-ShaneCurtis was born and raised in Kincardine, ON.  He graduated from Trent University in Peterborough, ON with a Geography Degree as well as completed a Graduate Certificate at Fleming College in Lindsay, ON for GIS: Application Specialist. He has over 5 years past experience working with Mapping/GIS, databases and programming. In the past, he volunteered with Mission trips to the Village of Hope in Kisumu, Kenya and most recently a few months ago in Harare, Zimbabwe as well as with a group 'Friends of Honduran Children' near Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Past working positions have been with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, City of Brampton and Kawartha Heritage Conservancy. Some of his interests include sports (soccer, hockey, tennis), listening to music and trying new foods. He is looking forward to experience and learn about a new culture and land while assisting MEDA with its TNVS program through distributing ITNs, tracking technology and building new relationships with Tanzanians.

Mary Fehr – Impact Assessment Intern
Mary-FehrMary was born in Leamington, Ontario and lived there until the age of 17. After high school, she was given the opportunity to play junior ice hockey for the Boston Shamrocks, which led to her to be recruited for Nichols College in Dudley, Massachusetts for the next four years. She is a recent graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration specializing in Marketing with a minor in Communications.  During the summers, she worked at Silver Lake Mennonite Camp where she filled many different roles from counsellor to lifeguard to last summer where she led a leadership program. She has been fortunate to be able to travel to a few places, such as Germany, Paraguay, Argentina and most recently Ukraine and Istanbul. She loved learning about the different culture in all of these places and is excited to experience life in Tanzania. She is quite thankful for this opportunity and looks forward to being part of the great work MEDA does!

United States

Ines Sawadogo – Project Coordinator Intern

Ines-SawadogoInes is a Masters candidate for May 2013 studying International Development at American University. With her international background as well as being bilingual, Ines always finds ways to remain active while in school. Before her position as a Project Coordinator Intern with MEDA,  Ines worked for Women for Women international as a Sponsorship Intern in the spring of 2011. Ines also had a great field internship with Plan International in the summer of 2011 in Burkina Faso, her country of origin. In the long run, Ines would like to found her own NGO which will have the status, the power, and the expertise to help developing countries all around the world. In her free time, Ines likes crafting, cooking, traveling and is still learning to appreciate Americans winters.

Techno-Links (Technology Links for Improved Access and Incomes)

Jared Worley – Rural Microfinance Intern
Jared-WorleyJared graduated with his Master’s degree in Business Administration from Azusa Pacific University in southern California. For the following three years, he worked as a crew leader for the National Park Service, leading youth conservation crews in rehabilitation and construction projects in National Parks such as Yosemite, Denali, Saguaro, and Arches.  During his off season Jared traveled throughout SE Asia backpacking and volunteering in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Indonesia.  In 2011-2012 Jared served a fellowship for the Seattle based non-profit, Vittana, in Kigali, Rwanda.  Here he worked and partnered at a local microfinance bank implementing financial service products to help university and vocational students complete their education.  For the past year, he has worked in resource development for the International Rescue Committee in Phoenix, Arizona. Jared is a strong believer in the power of opening up financial access to the under-resourced and is excited to serve as a MEDA intern.