Perspectives from the Field: Judy Korole Reflects on Serving as the Kenya Works Intern
by Judy Korole
When I joined university, I was told by my colleagues and lecturers to keep my eyes wide open and my ears keen to find an internship opportunity with an organization that shares the same values as me. Getting this vital, hands-on experience is an important part of university education. During a school holiday, a friend invited me to one of our village schools where she was teaching. At the same time, I was really praying to God to bless me with an opportunity to work for a good, mission-driven community organization. Upon arriving at the school, we found girls gathered under a tree, happily being trained on menstrual hygiene and reusable sanitary towels. I felt really compelled to join the team conducting this training—Kenya Works—and was amazed to learn about the organization’s programs and impact.
Immediately after I left the event, I sent my internship application to Kenya Works, and it was the happiest day of my life was when I received a call to go for an internship interview. I couldn’t stop imagining being part of this life-changing mission. I had followed Kenya Works on social media and heard stories from people all over on how the organization has intervened in various ways to solve social problems. My prayer was answered, and I got the chance to be part of the Kenya Works team. Ever since every day is a fulfillment in my heart.
Through Community Works workshops, the Makini Pad initiative, student sponsorships and partnership programs, I have seen lives being transformed! I have been able to appreciate every single blessing in my life. I have been an ambassador of change in my community through Kenya Works.
My community practices female genital mutilation (FGM), and Kenya Works has helped equip me with the information and knowledge to go back and educate my people on the negative effects of cutting girls. Additionally, Kenya Works has opened opportunities for girls in marginalized parts of our country by providing access to free, reusable sanitary towels called the Makini Pad. I love talking about the tremendous impact Kenya Works is making on the ground in our communities.
Personally, I have benefited from Kenya Works’ educational programs. They have given me a golden opportunity to learn good written and verbal communication skills. Having come from Cushitic and Nilotic communities, I am fluent in most of the languages spoken in most places throughout Kenya. I believe I provide great value to Kenya Works because of this, as we can smoothly communicate and freely interact with members of the communities in the regions in which Kenya Works serves.
I have been participating in the design of Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) strategies and activities. Through home visits, I have gained great experience in conducting outreach programs, which has contributed to my active listening skills to details, accuracy, and being a keen observer. I also have been participating in field research and monitoring activities during the pre-visit and post-evaluation which has enabled me to gain experience in conducting research, especially in outreach areas.
I have also been participating in day-to-day office tasks and developing my writing skills through report creation, letters, and profile development. It was really meaningful to have the opportunity to offer personal reporting on the distribution of Makini Pads in Samburu, where I was able to help with language barriers in the community.
In the photo below, you’ll see participants at an event in the Korogocho Slums where Kenya Works distributed Makini Pads. I was the facilitator at the event and shared information on menstrual hygiene. This has helped me gain experience in the mentorship of different crowds. Overseeing implementation and monitoring of the projects, such as feeding programs in the Mathare slums, has offered me many lessons.
I have also gained practical storytelling skills and proficiency in computer applications, so I can edit videos and bring the message to people willing to hear it.
Through it all, I have learned the value of teamwork and good organizational skills. Working with a team like Kenya Works has shown me how to see an event and initiative from start to finish, and what it takes to mobilize a community.
The role has given me just as much as I have given it. I hope to bring a focus to the importance of partnerships and working together in order to better a community.