September 11 2011
Kevin Bassney, BSILR '12
This summer I had the chance to work literally halfway around the world, in East Africa. Through a program known as AIESEC I was able to find employment working for a small nonprofit NGO known as Mile Child in Masaka, Uganda. Mile Child is currently working in several different projects varying from environmental protection of the local community to working with different tribal groups to help form a sense of community. Because of the wide variety of projects that this NGO is involved in I was able to use the broad range of education that ILR provides me.
This was an amazing experience to say the least. It was my first time in Africa, while I had traveled previously to other parts of the world, I had never had an experience in Africa. As soon as I arrived at Entebbe national airport I was picked up by AIESEC Uganda national committee and taken to Kampala. After spending a day in the capital to adjust to the time difference and given a basic understanding about how to travel in Uganda, I headed down to Masaka, and for the record, yes I crossed the equator.
While working for six weeks with Mile Child I had the amazing opportunity to work with many of the different projects that the Mile Child foundation was involved in, from working to create environmental habits in the local population to helping create an orientation program for the company. My favorite work by far though was working at the orphanage. It was here that children from all of the different tribes of Uganda gathered together both north and south, and nobody cared. This shows the progress the country has made since the days of Idi Amin where tribal prejudice fractured the country to the point where a mad man was put in charge. Seeing how these children and the outside community were able together I feel shows the true commitment the Ugandan people are making to mending their patched history and working toward to a new future.
While I was in Masaka I also approached the management of Mile Child and asked if I would be able to help in the business aspects of the company. Essentially there was no orientation program at all for incoming students and many of the business practices could easily be expanded. I offered to make some recommendations to the company, as well as write the orientation manual for the firm. It was a great experience in that I was able to directly apply what I have learned from my Business and Human Resources studies in the ILR School directly to the real world.
In summation I had an amazing time in Uganda, not only was I able to travel around the world, I was able to learn about an amazing culture and about myself. I hope to travel more in the future and hopefully do work along the amazing lines I was able to in Uganda.