Through her internship programme, IST recruits interns from various institutions of higher learning. These are attached to different departments/programmes; during which they are equipped with employability skills such as communication, writing, public speaking, analytical and project management skills among others. Their knowledge of gender and development is equally enhanced, making them ready for the workforce and advocates for gender equality within their communities. Yvette Ankunda, one of the beneficiaries of this programme shares her experience.
It was a pleasure to be at IST as an intern. This experience has so far surpassed my highest expectations in regards to the variety of work performed, and the knowledge I gained on women’s rights and gender equality work. During my internship, I was researching about the history of market-oriented businesses in Uganda and the obstacles women face in the industry. Working at IST was a great experience; it inspired my interest in economic development and improved my understanding of women in a market-oriented economy. One study in particular demonstrated that there were a lot of gendered gaps in terms of control and ownership of assets. It communicated an issue of access for women in Uganda in terms of decision-making abilities and resources. Ultimately, this translated to a lack of scalability for their businesses and a slower growth rate. The work IST does focuses on bridging these gaps through their trainings for transformation. Their programmes for capacity building help support market women at the local level in Uganda. Inspiring them to undertake leadership and equipping them with the tools to improve their business capabilities.
Following my internship experience at IST I declared my major in business at the Haas School of Business in the University of California, Berkeley. Since my work at IST, I wanted to better understand effective tools for business growth. IST utilizes the empowering approach of transformative community development and thus works collaboratively and directly with local people. At my university, I work as a mentor for the youth in primary school and help support them socially and academically. The approach IST takes at a community level inspired me to take initiative in the community I was in and demonstrated to me the profound impact this approach can have on the lives of others. Additionally, learning about market women through IST enhanced my understanding of the importance of a system of support for women in business and provided me with valuable insight that I later used in my position as a Vice President of Member Relations in Berkeley Women in Business; an organization at my campus that focuses on providing professional development and growth for women.