International Fellow Program for Graduates
Work with Development Organizations, Such as Save the Children in Malawi
As I started thinking about my options after completing my master’s in social work degree program, the International Foundation for
Education and Self-Help (IFESH) Fellows Program sounded interesting and exciting. Leon Sullivan, founder and visionary of IFESH, started this program in 1987 to give recent graduates and graduate students in social work an opportunity to work overseas with a development organization. With my past experiences in Peace Corps as well as with Minority in Research Training, I jumped at the thought of going back overseas…but this time I was thinking short term. This fellowship was the perfect fit. I applied in February 2004 and by the middle of April I received a letter notifying me that I was accepted and would be working with Save the Children in Malawi.
As I look back, working with Save the Children as an IFESH Fellow was truly an amazing experience. This is one of the leading U.S. development organizations which works throughout the world in projects ranging from public health, disaster relief, food security, and education to HIV/AIDS, to name a few. While in Malawi, I was fortunate to work in a rural town, Mangochi, along Lake Malawi. They call this country the warm heart of Africa, and it truly is. It is a peaceful friendly nation.
Overall, I served as a technical adviser for two different programs, primary education and HIV/AIDS. Projects I assisted ranged from documentation of best practices and lessons learned for both programs. I also completed monthly and quarterly reports. There were many different opportunities in which I was able to visit sites in the field and learn how community organizations assisted in creating awareness and prevention of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Visiting sites within the field was the most rewarding part of my work in Malawi because I was able to see first hand how projects that Save the Children funds and supports make a difference in the lives of children.
I believe this experience changed my life. I now have an improved understanding of development work and how organizations such as Save the Children create opportunities that provide hope in rural communities. This experience only deepened my commitment to working in service to others.
For More Info
The International Fellows Program, a public-private sector initiative, was created to provide recent college graduates and graduate students an opportunity to work overseas for nine months. Fellows are assigned to various development organizations operating in developing countries worldwide, such as Africare, CARE, Save the Children, TechnoServe, Opportunities Industrialization Centers International, Counterpart International and UNICEF to work on various types of community-based, development activities. Contact: www.ifesh.org.