Lessons from a GGAC Internship
Earlier this year, I spent two months working with Give Girls A Chance as the Fundraising & Communications intern. What first attracted me to the organization was that I liked their approach to tackling the issues around improving access to education for girls who typically had limited access. However, I knew very little about the Nigerian context and while I had some previous experience with fundraising and communications, I knew I would have a lot of work to do to catch up in this regard.
To ensure that I was able to meet the objectives of this particular internship, I conducted research based on documents provided by the organization’s co-founders and information gathered through various internet searches. In this way, I was able to improve my understanding of the Nigerian educational development sector and the effects on girl-child education. Some of the key facts and statistics that I learnt included: about 13 million of children are out of school, 60 percent of which are girls due mostly to low perceptions of the value of education for girls and early marriages. This means girls are not so deliberate about family planning. They are also discriminated against in the job market, often being relegated to work with lower incomes. If girls, as future mothers and wives, are not educated, it creates a vicious cycle: higher maternal and infant mortality rates, low level of investment in children’s education, and low level of children’s immunization, which can continue on to the next generation.
Consequently, I gained a better understanding of Give Girls A Chance’s goal to improve access for up to 200 girls from low-income communities across Nigeria by 2020. Understanding the gravity of the situation helped me appreciate the organization’s relevance and identify with its cause on a personal level. Leveraging this motivation, over the eight weeks of the internship, I was able to improve my skills in the fundraising sector. Among other things, I have learned how to write a letter of proposal for sponsorship and funding and how to present a project to a foundation in order to receive funds. I also helped create the organization’s first comprehensive donor database outlining organizations that are active in and funding projects in education, technology, and women’s rights.
What made the internship worth it and why do I support GGAC’s cause? First, I really liked their way of working. The organization’s directors are focused and clear on what their mission is and how they intend to achieve it. They displayed a level of openness and willingness to incorporate my input and suggestions. They were consistently available to provide feedback and offer guidance.
Through the internship, I have realized fundraising is not an easy task. On one hand, an increasing number of NGOs are in search for funds, while on the other hand donors have increasingly set more specific and strict criteria. But I do think that GGAC deserves the funds that it is seeking. Led by a team of capable and dedicated women, the organization aims to tackle one of the biggest issues facing Nigeria and based on the outcomes of their activities, I believe that GGAC has the potential to transform the lives of many Nigerian girls through education and affording them the opportunity to have a better life in the future. I think that what makes Give Girls A Chance successful is the approach the organization follows: addressing the problem from different point of view and adopting a holistic strategy when it comes to girl-child education.
Let’s imagine education is a train. Girls and their families as well as schools and teachers are deeply interrelated as carriages of this same train. To carry the train of education, it is important that each carriage is working properly. This is exactly what Give Girls A Chance tries to achieve through its programs. And this is why I think sponsors and donors should take the opportunity to give girls a chance.
Sara is a recent Politics, Philosophy and Economics graduate who is about to start a Master’s in Sustainable Development in Milan. Her motto is “be the change you want to see in the world”. She aspires to do work that can have a positive impact and maybe one day start a charitable project or organization of her own.