Dispatch from the field: “Don’t worry, be happy”

Laura Fortin – a native of Montreal – was an International Youth Fellow in 2015-16. She was placed in Uganda for eight months to support Aga Khan Foundation’s education programming in the region, and still lives there today. Arua, Northern Uganda. Friday, 5 a.m. I wake up to the call to prayer at the nearby mosque, and the sound of heavy rain. My mind starts running wild. Usually, when it rains in… Read More

Dispatch from the field: Don’t hit hard, hit home – A lesson in journalism from Kenya


Elizabeth McSheffrey is a Young Professionals in Media (YPM) Fellow, working with Nation Media Group in Nairobi, Kenya. I found Jesca Ciahcabi sitting beneath the shade of a crispy, brown banana tree. I reached for a handshake, but instead she hugged me. We were in Ndiruni, a small village roughly three hours northeast of Nairobi. She greeted me in her native Gichuka, and ran her fingers through my hair. Her eyes were… Read More

Dispatch from the field: Supporting dairy farmers in Bangladesh

The author, IMM Fellow Jenn Wong, presenting a certificate of training to one of the shop owners in CARE Bangladesh's social enterprise, Krishi Utsho.

Jennifer Wong is a 2014-15 International Microfinance and Microenterprise Fellow, working with CARE Bangladesh. I’ve been in Bangladesh for more than two months now, working with CARE Bangladesh on their programming to help rural farmers improve their agricultural practices – and incomes. I’m specifically working on strengthening the dairy value chain. The dairy industry in Bangladesh is underdeveloped, but there is lots of potential for growth. The majority of the milk in… Read More

Dispatch from the field: Preschool in the tea gardens of Bangladesh

Grandmother Shakuntala Pradhan at work in Malinchora Tea Estate. Bangladesh.

I began my formal education with expulsion from preschool.

I redeemed myself by succeeding in primary school, phew. While primary school graduation is essentially a universal achievement in Canada, some Bangladeshi children face many barriers to reaching even this level of education.

Dispatch from the field: The rights and responsibilities of microfinance in Tajikistan


The Smart Campaign is a global effort spearheaded by the Center for Financial Inclusion, dedicated to “uniting microfinance leaders around a common goal: to keep clients as the driving force of the industry” – by following principles designed to help microfinance institutions practise good ethics and smart business. Part of my work at the First MicroFinance Bank Tajikistan was to embed the Smart Campaign in the bank’s culture and practices.

Dispatch from the field: The complexities of reporting in Kenya


It was a straightforward story of exploitation. The people of the fragile Tana Delta, still recovering from tribal violence that claimed over 100 lives in September, were facing an assault on their treasured land by big business – in this case, a Canadian corporation planning a massive biofuel plantation in the region.

Dispatch from the field: From the field to market in Mozambique


When most of your workdays are spent in front of a computer, it’s easy to forget where the food on your plate comes from. I marvel at the mountains of fresh fruits and vegetables at the market arranged like rainbows, but I overlook the time, dedication, and energy of harvesting crops from the field, especially in an environment that dictates what and how much you will eat.