MfonIdo Akpan

Mfon-ido Ime Akpan, class of 2015

High School : Model Secondary School Maitama, Abuja, Nigeria
Hometown: Abuja, Nigeria
Major: potentially Mathematics and French
Activities: Peer Mentor Brecon, Admissions ambassador and tour guide
Interests:  Music, movies, sports and learning about other cultures
Internship : GrantMaking Intern – The Global Fund for Children

Description: The Global Fund for children is an international non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the dignity of children worldwide by issuing small grants to innovative grassroots organizations that serve the world’s most vulnerable youths. To date, it has touched the lives of over 7 million children. In addition to its grants The Global Fund for Children provides leveraging assistance to its partners in the form of value added services which help them with capacity building, management, technological development, media visibility and use of networks to maximize their impact and ensure the sustainability of their interventions.

As part of the GrantMaking team, my summer project revolved around The Grassroots Girls Initiative a program designed to provide financial support to innovative grassroots organizations working with vulnerable adolescent girls. My role was to analyze and answer two learning questions: (1) How amplifying girls’ voices inspire action, and (2) How grassroots organizations network together to maximize impact? The answer to these questions would help GFC assess the impact of its grantees programs and explore possible areas for improvement.

To tackle these questions, I had to analyze and summarize the responses to a survey - The Grassroots Girls Initiative Survey that GFC had conducted with 30 of its grantee partners who serve adolescent girls. For context on the adolescent girls programs of GFC’s partners, I read the profiles of all 30 grantee partners from GFC’s dockets. Then I reviewed all the survey responses, sifted through the data and statistics for relevant information and repeated patterns. After that, I compiled a ten-page report on my findings, complete with graphs and charts. For my second project, I shortlisted and interviewed nine of those partners for more specific information on how they had amplified their beneficiaries’ voices and utilized their networks to achieve greater outcomes.

I received full-fledged support and supervision from my supervisor- the Vice President Programs at GFC.  After my orientation during my first week, three staff members were assigned to assist me with my project. This proved really useful as we held team meetings every week during which I could ask them questions and report on the status of my project.

This experience helped me hone my research and analytical skills. I had to do a lot of research and filter the main points from loads of data. To do a thorough job, I had to be meticulous in my attention to detail and persistent in following up with GFC’s grantee partners until I got exactly what I needed to deliver a comprehensive report. I also sharpened my writing skills, from writing 3 page papers for my Emily Balch Seminar Class to writing 10 page reports for an international organization. My paper went through several reviews and careful copyediting before the final version was ready. I also learned a lot about how global non-profits operate especially the volume of behind the scenes work, meetings, planning and execution involved in upholding best practices in all its operations with donors, media and partners. I also acquired the ability to effectively scrutinize grassroots organization for indicators of growth or signs of problematic leadership.

While very professional, the atmosphere at The Global Fund for Children was also warm and friendly. I could walk into a staff member’s office with a question, knowing full well that I would receive the attention and assistance I needed to resolve the issue.  GFC must be commended for its very inclusive intern program. All interns were fully integrated into their departments and had to attend and participate in all the meetings just like regular staff. The organization also has an Intern Committee which organized intern breakfasts, staff pizza lunches and popcorn movie Fridays to make our experience not only enlightening but also interesting. I had a wonderful learning experience with GFC and will definitely recommend the organization to my fellow Mawrters.