Let us introduce you to our 2020 international interns!
At MEDA, we believe in the next generation of development professionals. That's why we invest in their careers and help them to gain practical, hands-on international experience that compliments the skills they have learned through their education. Although our international interns have had to return home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are still working with our international teams to achieve goals and create long-standing impact through businsess.
Let us introduce you to these four amazing people!
My name is Indra Sarju and I am the Marketing and Communications Intern for the BEST Cassava project in Tanzania. I may be biased but I grew up in two of the most beautiful places in the world, the Cayman Islands and Vancouver, British Columbia.
I completed an Architectural and Building Technology Associates Degree and was on the verge of becoming an architect when I acknowledged my passion for holistic, socioeconomic development. Naturally, I proceeded to complete a Bachelor of Environmental Studies in Honours International Development with a minor in Business at the University of Waterloo. As part of my degree, I had the opportunity to work as a Market Research Officer in Malawi with a local agri-business NGO for eight-months. However, after completing the internship in April 2019, I knew I needed more experience in the international development field. I recalled my previous interactions with MEDA employees as they were actively involved with my university’s International Development program.
I see MEDA’s internship as an amazing opportunity to expand on my breadth of knowledge by working with a meaningful, well-rounded organization. It is an honour for me to utilize my competencies to further MEDA’s goal of collaborating with individual stakeholders around the world to sustainably support sustainable livelihoods through projects whose benefits continue long after I have completed the internship and the project is complete. I am grateful to MEDA and its donors for this experience and I look forward to the opportunities that will follow because of my time in Tanzania.
My name is Denis Gaudet and I am part of the Strengthening Small Business Value Chain (SSBVC) project in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. My first experience abroad was in Guatemala to learn Spanish which led to long-lasting passion for traveling. Afterwards, I obtained a Marketing diploma from the Collège Communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick (CCNB) in my hometown of Dieppe, NB. During this time, I had the opportunity to study bio economy in Finland for one semester. After that, I went to Senegal to pursue a three-month internship working for a small medical clinic. Spurred on my love for discovering new countries and cultures I decided to complete a bachelor’s degree in Business Management & Entrepreneurship in Belgium. Simultaneously, I worked for the CCNB as a Project Manager in building further learning agreements and cooperation between the Canadian and Belgian institutions. Lastly, I completed my master’s degree in Global Affairs from the University of Prince Edward Island and the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, which gave me the pleasure of studying in Canada, Spain, France and Switzerland. In the context of this degree I did a three-month internship for the Secretaría de Desarrollo Social y Humano de Oaxaca in Mexico. Though varied, my work mostly focused on the SDGs and indigenous rights.
Now I am thrilled to be a part of MEDA’s diverse team and to contribute to it’s amazing vision to create business solutions to poverty. I strongly believe that this long-term approach will yield lasting effects on the communities most affected by poverty. In fact, this is what originally attracted me to MEDA. Furthermore, after meeting with much of their enthusiastic and welcoming staff in Canada and Tanzania, I can say with confidence that MEDA will continue to push the boundaries of what is possible and lead the way in economic international development. I am extremely grateful to have the unique opportunity to participate to this internship which will give me the experience and skills that I need to launch my career in the international development field.
Hello, my name is Calyssa Burke and I am from Toronto. I come from an Afro-Caribbean household; thus, I have been exposed to a diverse cultural landscape from a very young age. My passion for international development work, specifically women’s economic development, began in high school when I was enrolled in a class entitled World Issues. I attended an all girl’s high school and I remember my passion igniting when my classmates and I were able to raise our voices on global issues, especially as a young and diverse group of women.
I went on to achieve a Bachelor of Environmental Studies, under the degree Honours International Development at the University of Waterloo. For the fourth year of my degree, I pursued an internship placement in Arusha, Tanzania as a Women and Youth Inclusion Officer with the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB). In this role, I was able to slowly develop my interest in the importance of data with relation to the involvement of women, youth and other vulnerable sectors.
I was interested in applying to MEDA because I have always been extremely intrigued by their vision of ‘creating business solutions to poverty’, as I have strong values in the intersection between gender equality and economic sustainability. I will be pursuing my internship with the Monitoring and Evaluation team in Nairobi, Kenya working under the project Maendeleo Sawa (M-SAWA) that aims to create equitable prosperity for the growth of Kenyan businesses. I am extremely excited to see where life takes me from here and am so grateful to MEDA for supporting me in this next step in my career.
My name is Aniqah Zowmi, and I will be the Monitoring and Evaluation and Communications Intern for the Jordan Valley Links project. I’m excited to join MEDA in this role because I feel this opportunity will allow me to marry many aspects of my life: a faith-based approach to justice, opportunities for diversity and gender mainstreaming, and leveraging social business to reduce inequalities.
From September 2018 to February 2019, I was based in Amman, Jordan, working as a Project Coordinator for the Italian NGO Un Ponte Per. I worked in the northern half of the country, developing and implementing a program on mental health awareness for Syrian refugees and vulnerable Jordanians. I’m excited to be travelling back, not only to support the JVL project and be surrounded by a culture that so beautifully prioritizes faith and relationships, but also to see the friends that became my family while I was there.
I recently completed my Masters in Social Justice and Equity Studies at Brock University, where I researched a unique intersection: feminist and anti-colonialist theory in social enterprise. My previous experience as a social enterprise coach and program developer made me recognize that voices in social business are not diverse enough: I wanted to critically reflect on the ways that social businesses, particularly those working cross-culturally and internationally, can more effectively integrate women and Global South populations into their philosophy and approach to work. It was with this foundation that I was compelled to apply for this internship with MEDA, as MEDA’s underpinning intention to work alongside communities through business aligned very closely with my academic background and personal convictions.
Outside of school and work, I advocate for diversity and youth mainstreaming in multiple capacities. I am currently the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Leading Change Canada; a Regional Focal Point for the United Nations Major Group of Children and Youth (MGCY); Youth Advisor to the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO); and a Co-Researcher for the World YWCA’s ’Leaving No One Behind’ Project.