Name: Ellen Wright
Class Year: 2019
Hometown: St. Louis, Mo.
Internship Placement: Global Fund for Children
Job Title: Intern
Location: Washington, D.C.
My project supervisor Kim approached my fellow Bryn Mawr intern Meagan and I a few weeks into our internships about us facilitating parts of the Latin America and Caribbean team’s annual retreat. She explained that the goal of the retreat was for the four members of the LAC team to assess what their priorities would be for the coming 19th fiscal year of Global Fund for Children, and us serving as facilitators would not only give us a chance to involve ourselves but also allow her a chance to focus on participating in the meetings. Meagan and I were both happy to opt in, and to raid the office supply room for markers and sticky notes.
Meagan and I were placed in charge of facilitating three sections of the week-long retreat—the after-action review of the Novo Migration project, as well as the issue and country prioritization sessions.
For the after-action review, all staff were invited to participate in an assessment of how the work was going as GFC entered the second year of the three-year project. The Novo Migration project represents one of the latest pieces of GFC’s developing mission and model. Since its founding in 1997 by Bryn Mawr alum Maya Ajmera, GFC has been a grant-making institution funding nascent grassroots organizations dedicated to a range of topics relating to children and youth, from encouraging children’s development through sports to helping survivors of child trafficking. The Novo Migration project, however, would be one of the first efforts of GFC to combat challenges at a structural level, by building a cohort of partners all dedicated to a single goal of serving adolescent migrant girls. This meeting was an opportunity for GFC to reflect on what had gone well, and what could be improved as similar projects roll out.
It was exciting as a sociology major to witness GFC not only consider the larger systemic issues confronting adolescent migrant girls in addition to addressing their immediate needs, but also evolve their grant-making to thinking of affecting greater structural change with more advocacy-focused work. This type of structural-based thinking was echoed in the issue and country prioritization sessions Meagan and I led.
During the retreat, the team identified LGBT+ youth in the LAC region as a target population they wanted to prioritize, and as an intern I had the opportunity to draft the Issue Strategy Report which will eventually be realized as the latest cohort organized by GFC. As a sociology major concerned with developing intentional programs designed to address larger social change, I helped to locate potential partners and identify both the challenges confronting LGBT+ youth in the LAC region as well as the responses we hoped to see from the grassroots-level. I had applied for the internship at GFC because I believed strongly in focusing change around the grassroots-level, and getting to be a part of their next project on a topic I care deeply about was an unbelievable experience.