By Marion Apio, 2018 Baobab intern
Baobab is an online social network connecting approximately 3,800 Mastercard Foundation (MCF) Scholars and alumni across 27 universities so they may collaborate, build professional skills, and make lifelong connections with like-minded individuals dedicated to creating positive social impact in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The platform supports Scholars with post-graduation transitions and keeps them connected as they engage in a variety of initiatives to give back to their communities after their scholarship experience has ended.
True to the human-centered design approach of Baobab, the MCF grant includes an annual Baobab summer internship at EdPlus that began three years ago as a forum for Scholars to improve the platform and develop new skills like user research and design thinking. Regarding this year’s 5 Baobab interns working at EdPlus through July 24, Bethany Weigele, senior director, Lifelong Initiatives says, “they are the cream of the crop who I believe will become future CEOs and presidents of nations. I am very proud of them!”
Meet The 2018 Baobab Interns
Wuyeh Jobe: Scholar from the Gambia, studying Computer Science at Ashesi University in Ghana.
My goal is to make the world better by improving the lives of the people around. My strong passion for agriculture and technology inspired me to start a social venture to improve food security in my community. Being my first professional experience, the Baobab internship has had a tremendous impact on my life. I have built lifelong networks with resourceful people who are experts in my field of interest. I am amazed by the work culture at EdPlus. Unlike in the Gambia where people work behind closed doors, the open work environment at EdPlus is unique and fosters teamwork, creativity and innovation. The lessons and the connections I have made are very valuable for a budding African entrepreneur, like me.
Marion Apio: Scholar from Uganda studying Journalism and Communication at Makerere University.
Interning with Baobab has been a life-changing opportunity that has allowed me to become the best version of myself. It is stunning working with passionate, positive and selfless people who are ready to mentor and eager to give personal and professional advice. I am so motivated and inspired by the love Edplus has towards everything, especially for the youth ‒ not only in Africa, but also globally. EdPlus is the pool for innovative ideas and I have jumped in! It’s a place where my goal of creating long-life professional networks has come to pass because of working in an environment where I am surrounded by a supportive team that is open-minded, hardworking and generously cooperative. The learning and work experience has been both professionally and personally rewarding and given me valuable skills like teamwork, time management, research and design thinking.
Angella Nantambi: Scholar from Uganda studying Business Administration at Ashesi University in Ghana.
Having an internship with Baobab is a holistic, life-changing opportunity that has contributed to my personal and professional development. I got to work with a team that has a common interest to bring about change that Africa needs by bringing all Scholars together. I have engaged in projects that will help improve the platform, while also having the opportunity to exercise my writing skills through the storytelling projects, blogging exercises, and communication projects. Working at Baobab and EdPlus in general has given me a deeper understanding of design thinking and user experience research. Furthermore, this internship has broadened my take on online education and I am excited to go back home and mobilize my community into logging onto Global Freshman Academy. I want to bring to life all the lost dreams of young people who have never thought that they would make it to college in their lifetime. Many thanks for this internship, which has broadened my understanding and perspectives on online opportunities like education.
Ritah Arishaba: Scholar from Uganda, at ASU majoring in Public Health.
Coming from a communal society to a more individualistic one, I have seen the beauty in exploring a new culture. I have learned from the differences between Uganda and the U.S. both professionally and socially and have gained more accountability towards my responsibilities, speaking up, and seeking out help. I am driven by my passion for health equality for the less privileged through policy change in health care for the poor communities in Uganda. I have a strong desire and goal to see every child in my country stay in school despite the limitations and boundaries brought by culture and poverty. This internship has given me an opportunity to improve the Baobab environment, as well as the user experience and navigation of the Baobab App. I have also learned to appreciate the beauty of teamwork and design thinking through group research projects and individual research projects.
Patrick Atolepwa: Scholar from Ghana, MA in Education Administration and Policy Studies at American University of Beirut in Lebanon.
The internship has added great value to my research and design thinking skills, and has given me experience in storytelling, video recording and editing.
I am fascinated by the time management at EdPlus ‒ the high levels of effectiveness and efficiency among the team caught my attention. I was stunned by the organization and the culture of openness. There is respect for everyone’s opinions and support for one another among employees. This has given me a profound understanding of teamwork and empathy for the people around us. I plan to utilize the organizational skills, time management and research skills in my life and profession.
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