Last semester I interned at the Fulbright Commission up by Avenida de América. I went to the office once a week for five hours and helped with organizing files, responding to emails and translating documents. All of the office staff at the Commission were very friendly and happy to help me whenever I had questions. We mostly spoke in English and I worked the same hours as another intern so I always had company. While I enjoyed working for the Fulbright Commission, I decided I wanted to try working for a humanitarian NGO. Thanks to Luis, I found KUBUKA, a local NGO run by young professionals who want to make a difference.
In 2013, Más Por Ellos was created by young Spanish professionals to help with development in in vulnerable communities in Kenya. A year later, in 2014, Kubuka was created in Zambia with the same goals in mind. Kubuka was based in Zambia but operated in Spain under the Más Por Ellos NGO. In 2015, the two organizations decided to merge and adopt the name KUBUKA. The purpose of merging is for the two NGOs to work together and provide equal support for the projects in Kenya and Zambia while reinforcing the functions of the headquarters in Spain.
One of the main objectives of KUBUKA that made me want to work with them is their commitment to development through entrepreneurship and education. They actively pursue sustainable social projects that support and empower local communities with the end goal of leaving these communities with the tools they need to succeed without outside intervention. What I appreciate about KUBUKA is that its mission and goals do not involve going into these communities as a savior or a teacher. Their approach is very horizontal and a majority of the leaders for the social projects are Kenyan and Zambian locals. They focus on providing more resources to the businesses and schools that have already been established in the region and help make education, sports, and professional training accessible to those who can’t afford the associated fees.
My role in the KUBUKA along with two other interns has been translation. I have been assigned the job of translating and editing their PowerPoint on the NGO´s information. While it may sound like a tedious and unappealing job, I actually really enjoy doing this kind of work. As a result of my work for KUBUKA, I have a much better understanding of how their NGO functions and how it impacts communities in Kenya and Zambia. Of course, as a nerdy economics major, it’s also exciting for me to see real-life examples of microcredit being used to help establish start-ups and sustain local businesses.
For humanitarian work, it´s very important to respect the communities you are working with and to not infantilize them in the way that so many organizations and ad campaigns do.
So, if you are thinking about working for an NGO, I would definitely recommend checking out KUBUKA or finding an NGO that functions horizontally with communities in need.