I’m applying for the Kiva Fellowship beginning in September 2012 but would also like to be considered for the Fellowship beginning June 2012. My long term interests in development began during my undergraduate program at Northeastern University in Boston, where I completed a degree in Human Services. In 2005, I worked in HIV/AIDS Care with Kidzpositive in South Africa. Of particular relevance, I worked on the distribution of plastic water storage systems for sanitation in rural and remote areas outside the Cape. I was also responsible for monitoring the distribution of infant formula and supplements for children with malnutrition using the child BMI formula.
From September 2008, I worked at the Psychiatry Department of McGill University as a Symptom Evaluator. During this time, I developed my analytical skills including the ability to conduct research, present findings formally in both small group settings and large conferences. I also participated in several transcultural psychiatry workshops, where I learned about the the psychosocial impact of children in humanitarian crises.
Since March 2010, I have been working as a Manager at the Rochester Wellness Centre based in Dubai and Muscat. I was responsible for establishing the clinic in Muscat and coordinated all aspects from securing the premises, recruiting the staff and establishing the infrastructure. I also led the development of a comprehensive corporate communications strategy and its successful implementation. During this time, the number of patients increased by 40 percent.
In tandem with my work experiences, I developed key skills through volunteer work with the Dubai chapter of the Acumen Fund; where I was involved with creating the communications materials for the Social Entrepreneurship panel with Jacqueline Novogratz. I also volunteer with the Aga Khan Education portfolio, where I facilitate trainings, coordinate a survey looking at development assets of youth with the Search Institute, and design education curriculum. In addition, I recently attended a workshop with the UNHCR on Responding to Emergencies in Dubai, where I learned about the management of refugee camps.
I have a long term, professional interest in the development sector, and the training and Fellowship at Kiva will help build my foundation in micofinance. There are several non profit organizations that only provide temporary relief rather than positive changes that are prevention focused, persistent and long term. Facilitating access to food security, education or finance for households or individuals helps families deal with risk, build assets and improves the lives of their children. There still needs to be more work done in the international development field to increase microcredit, micro enterprise programs for women and creative social business ideas in agriculture, low cost housing, nutrition and clean drinking water. I am really looking forward to the opportunity to learn from a wide range of people, backgrounds and ideas with Kiva.