Summer Internship Reflection: Amani Institute
When people ask me about my summer at the Amani Institute, I usually describe it as “eye-opening.” I met so many people and heard so many new perspectives that I don’t know where to begin. To be honest, before I left for Kenya and for this internship, I did not fully understand want it even meant to be an “innovator” much less a “social innovator.” However, I was drawn to creative opportunities and to people who acted on their passions, so I had taken the job. I was in for an amazing journey.
The Amani Institute is an educational non-profit that trains social entrepreneurs and future leaders. It focuses on developing individuals and organizations that have the knowledge, skills, and experience to solve today’s social problems, whether that is education in Kenyan slums or nutrition information for individuals with sickle cell disease. They offer many different programs and courses for a whole range of people from around the world: career switchers, college graduates, people thinking about going back to school, or anyone who wants to create change but doesn’t know how.
While I was not enrolled in any of their programs, I felt like everyday at work was a crash course in social entrepreneurship. I got to see what a start up looks like from the inside. Although it sometimes required me to stay late or work on the weekends, I loved knowing that what I did was important and made an impact. We were also in the middle of expanding to include an office in Sao Paulo, Brazil in addition to the one in Nairobi. You can imagine that with this expansion and the next round of applications for our programs, I had a lot on my plate. I worked under each of the team members at different times: grading assignments, creating outreach strategies, making promotional videos, consolidating evaluations, and more. Because our team was so small, I never felt like just a cog in the system. Instead, I was an integral part. I also got to know the team and the students so well that I count them as my friends more than my co-workers. I want to go back soon, not only because I absolutely love the beautiful country of Kenya, but I truly miss working for the Amani Institute.