Meg Harris: reflections of my internship at MoA

In the summer of 2019, I worked at a refugee education center in Athens, Greece. It was an eye-opening experience which allowed me to witness first-hand the educational injustices and inequalities faced by children, even within the European Union, and it helped me to broaden my understanding of what education truly means. So, when I returned to France for my second year at Sciences Po Paris, I began to look for an internship which would allow me to continue to learn about education accessibility and equity. Mothers of Africa allowed me to do just that.

It was at an association fair at Sciences Po Paris Campus de Menton at which I first met Susanne and Vicky, two of the pivotal members of the Mothers of Africa Monaco team. They told me about the organization’s mission, work, and goals; and, I was immediately taken with the organization. But it was only when they later told me the story behind the Mothers of Africa name, that I became truly determined to work as the MoA intern. Mothers of Africa, founded by Professor Judith Hall in 2004, aims to provide medical education to communities in sub-Saharan Africa in order to improve women’s health, decrease maternal death rates, and integrate girls into schools. This mission gave way to the organization name: Mothers of Africa, named for the mothers who have died in childbirth and/ or been denied proper medical care. Having had experiences working both on the ground and administratively in general education, I was intrigued by the medical education approach taken by MoA. Moreover, as I learned more about Mothers of Africa, I was inspired by the expansion of the MoA mission into broader education.

It was primarily in the field of broader education access that I worked with the MoA Monaco team. The team, since its formal establishment in 2017, works largely to expand the donor reach and fundraise for school builds in sub-Saharan Africa. I aided in this work by creating advertisement campaigns, helping with social media, and connecting with the teachers and community members on our project sites. Working with Mothers of Africa over the past 9 months has allowed me to see the deep bonds that can form between communities when they share a common goal, such as those developed between Monte Carlo, Monaco and Shiyala, Zambia. Such is especially true in small organizations like Mothers of Africa which is run by a team of less than 10 people! Each member of the MoA team plays a vital role in the organization’s growth and development, and everyone has taught me something unique. It has been such a pleasure to get to work alongside these inspiring people, and I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity. The team established within me a firm belief in the importance of developing individual connections, of building community bonds, and of staying true to a mission and goal. Mothers of Africa has been working--for years--to expand education quality and accessibility in sub-Saharan Africa, and I am awed by what this small, yet powerful team, has been able to accomplish.

So, I say thank you to the Mothers of Africa team, to the communities we connect with, and to the family of supporters rallied behind MoA for this incredible experience. I cannot wait to see what amazing things MoA will accomplish in the future.

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