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Stories from Ghana


By Erin Kaipainen

Students in a unique internship program who are helping to meet the challenges faced by developing countries will be sharing their experiences with the campus community on Friday, Oct. 28.

Fourth-year students Kevin Kempe (Development Studies) and Jenna Brockerville (International Relations) spent time in Ghana through the Canadian International Development Agency’s (CIDA) Students for Development program (SFD).

Kempe spent 14 months in Africa, first through a study abroad experience at the University of KwaZulu Natal in Durban, South Africa, and then as an intern with the SFD program.

While in Sandema, Ghana, Kempe worked with the National Youth Employment Program on assessing food security. “The opportunity to work and do primary research with farming collectives in the rural countryside shocked me into an understanding of the struggles that they face daily,” Kempe says. “The opportunity was motivating; a chance to bring a community together and promote food security as a responsibility and a lifestyle that transcends all cultures and generations.”

Brockerville worked with disabled youth in Sandema and took part in a food distribution project and micro loans program for disabled Ghanaians. “The Disabled Persons Organizations (DPOs) are very important in developing countries as I saw in Ghana because it gives individuals with various disabilities- physical and mental, an outlet, a sense of community, and having a professional and organized group to change policy, raise funds and ensure that the fundamental rights of disabled persons are being met,” says Brockerville.

She says she has the experience has given her a better sense of direction for her career, confirming her interest in working with women and children, and leading her to consider a Masters in Social Work.

Four more students, Khadija Abdullahi, Adam Zendel, Paul Locke and Carolyn McPherson spent their summer working with SFD in Ghana, all under the supervision of university instructor, Rowland (Caesar) Apentiik. “The SFD program provides Canadian students with work experience abroad that complements their field of study and career goals,” explains Apentiik.

Kempe and Brockerville will speak about their internship experiences on Friday, Oct. 28 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in the Centre for Community-Engaged Learning (4th floor MSC, opposite the Loft).

Rowland (Caesar) Apentiik and Anayancy Solís will be on hand to answer questions about the Students for Development Program and the upcoming competition for 2012 internships.

Learn more about the SFD internship.

Photo: Students and local residents (left to right) Carolyn McPherson, Lauren Locke, instructor Rowlandl Apentiik’s sister and mother, Khadija Abdullahi, Jenna Brockerville, Paul Locke and Kevin Kempe in Sandema, Ghana. Photo by Adam Zendel