With internship opportunities spanning the globe for Centre College students, rising seniors Stewart Coard and Cameron Beach chose to spend their summer in Tamale, Ghana, in the rural village of Vene as field representative interns with Saha Global.
The non-profit organization focuses efforts in northern Ghana, partnering with local communities to provide access to clean and safe drinking water to the region. Saha Global trains local women to use water treatment technologies in business and social enterprises.
While interning with Saha Global, the students work with women entrepreneurs and train them on how to treat their water, sourced from their community dugout, to make clean drinking water for everyone in Vene.
The students have also helped local female entrepreneurs set up and maintain a water treatment business, which officially opened June 7. Since then, they continue to monitor and assist with various challenges that come with opening a new business.
Coard shared that the entrepreneurs he has worked with have taught him the value of determination and initiative.
“This internship stood out to me as relevant to my field of study in international studies and an excellent opportunity for immersion in a foreign culture and the issues vital to that region,” Coard said.
Beach, interested in sustainable international development, is impressed with how Saha Global has had an incredible success rate in opening 100 businesses in the past eight years, with all of them still operating.
Throughout her experience in Ghana, Beach has been able to use what she’s learned in her Centre classes to help her approach her work with Saha Global.
“In particular, the literature and lectures from political economy of development with Dr. Lori Hartmann and modern African history with Dr. Jonathon Earl have been very helpful in analyzing the many cultural and systematic similarities and differences between America and Ghana,” she said.
For most of Beach’s time at Centre, she has wanted to work in international development, specifically in Africa.
“This internship is a dream come true for me,” she said. “I have always wanted to learn and experience working on the ground with an international development non-governmental organization (NGO), and this internship has given me that opportunity to gain field experience in a developing country.”
After Centre, Beach shared how she would like to pursue a career in international development, and this internship has been her first steps into working in the field.
Coard also commented that his time at the College so far has given him the necessary skills and community-focused attitude to approach this internship.
“My experiences volunteering at Centre prepared me to engage in service beyond Danville,” he said. “The culture of service provided valuable experience applicable to my internship.”
Coard hopes that he will gain a more nuanced understanding of the role of culture and local conditions in development during his time with Saha Global.
While he hopes to continue his career with a greater focus on policy in development, Coard says he has gained practical skills to use later on in his career.
“This experience has provided invaluable understanding of the challenges and issues in the field [of development,]” Coard concluded.
by Kerry Steinhofer
June 27, 2017
Kathleen Murphy ’18 contributed to this article