By Kelly Child, UVP Managing Director
What do we do before interns arrive? The short answer—A LOT.
The longer answer: we prepare for their arrival by meeting with existing and new villages, securing seven houses in remote locations, take stock of supplies and replenish or replace necessary items, and strategize the best way to transport thousands of kilos/pounds of housing items and people.
What do we do when interns leave? We reflect on what went well and how we can improve, and then immediately start planning for the next cohort.
That’s right, almost as soon as interns leave we start planning for the next cohort. Internship may be only eight weeks, but months and months of work go into this program.
It’s easy to not notice the hours of planning and strategizing, the many meetings with community members, and the countless discussions surrounding the best protocols and strategies for collecting 40+ people from a city 180 kilometers away, housing and feeding said people, conducting an impactful orientation, setting team leaders up for success, and then safely delivering all those people to the village. There are a million details and some of them change at the last minute.
Recently, during an executive committee meeting made up of Local Council leaders and Village Health Team members, I witnessed a discussion about beds. Not mattresses, but bed frames. They’re not common in the places we work, so rounding up six of them to provide for interns requires an entire village. Literally. And the best part: the communities we work in see the value in working to provide our interns with a comfortable, safe place to live.
Our newest set of villages—Mwendanfuko, Namunsala, Namafuma, Bufutula A, and Bufutula B (don’t worry, a few weeks ago I couldn’t pronounce those either)—are in Namungalwe Sub-county and a short drive from our office. And from our interaction with them to this point, they are just as excited about the incoming interns as we are at UVP.
We are looking forward to meeting you!
~Kelly, Managing Director