Communication is key – now more than ever. Working remotely, we are reminded of the importance of online presence and clear leadership.
When UB student Adam Dounane walked into the Experiential Learning Network earlier this year to meet with director Mara Huber about hands-on study abroad opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa, he did not expect that the project he would undertake would become perhaps even more relevant than ever.
A double major in Communication and French, Adam intends to pursue a career in Charity Administration, with a specific focus on improving educational equality in the developing world. Dr. Huber introduced him to ELN’s partner in Tanzania: the Hope Revival Children’s Organization. Run by Stephen Marwa from the Mara region in Tanzania, the HRCO is growing quickly with many exciting projects in education, healthcare, economics, and infrastructure.
But their online presence was lacking. For such organizations, it is often vitally important to be visible to a larger global community, in order to promote, connect, and communicate with valuable partners. And to achieve that, Adam took the lead on helping redesign HRCO’s new website to make it more accessible and dynamic.
In many ways, the project was already about as “remote” as you can get (considering the distance between New York state and the country of Tanzania), but there were adjustments to be made with the distance learning move, which required greater organization and time management skills, as well as better coordination and communication with other people on the team. But what better experience for a student who plans to go into Charity Administration?
Adam still plans to travel to the region one day to get in-person experience, but he is “happy to be able to contribute now” and take time to learn more. He says “gaining a better understanding of how NPOs work to improve the lives of the people and region gives me valuable insight into what a career in Charity Administration would look like. For the future, I'm gaining a better knowledge of the region, improving my web design and communication skills, and learning more about what it takes to run these community development programs.”
More broadly, the project has helped Adam stay connected and productive. “Especially in the time of social distancing, I think it's important that we keep working on the projects that matter. Especially under quarantine, it's nice to know that I'm making a difference, no matter how small it may be.”