Learning by doing is an age old phrase, one that never seems to lose its relevance. Being thrown into the mix is an unparalleled method of teaching, rivaling the innovative educational technologies that attempt to challenge it each year.
I experienced a prime example of this tried-and-true philosophy during my time as a development intern at MADRE. I was thrilled that any organization would accept a high school junior to intern for them, and honored to be part of such an admirable, respected institution. In preparation, I read through MADRE’s inspiring program descriptions and educated myself about the organization, but really had no idea what to expect walking in on my first day.
The development office, as I soon found out, is the funding branch of the NGO structure. It oversees foundation prospecting, grant writing and, on good days, grant acceptances and documentation. Every activity and new idea our partners and friends envision is shaped, contextualized and presented by the development department, where dedicated hours of poring over files and foundation directories help make MADRE’s and other NGO’s wonderful programs a reality. This realization made every prospect, grant application and foundation file I worked on feel like a direct link to the courageous, admirable women MADRE partners with worldwide.
Even on a small scale, I felt the unique gratification of doing my part to further the progression of women’s human rights today and for the future. On my last day at the development intern desk, reflecting on my time at MADRE this summer and looking toward my final year of high school and the opportunities that lay ahead, I take with me an experience that has taught me the importance of each microscopic brush stroke in the world’s infinitely expanding mural of change.