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iKapa Impact Profile on: Haley Hardie

This month we are profiling past intern, Haley Hardie, all the way from Syracuse University in Upstate New York, USA! This profile is unique in the sense that it’s the first remote internship experience that we are sharing with you! Haley conducted her entire internship, working with organizations in South Africa, completely remotely from the USA. She made a lasting impact without even being able to physically be there in person!

Haley has always been interested in international development and Africa is the primary focus of many of the non-profit organizations (NPOs) and development agencies that she is interested in. She thought an internship in Africa would give her relevant experience for her field and, thus, landed up choosing to work through iKapa Impact to do an internship “in” South Africa.

Haley worked with an organization called Social Causes on a research project aimed at gaining more insights into how local NPOs perceive SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). She assisted in investigating whether these NPOs apply any of the SDGs in their organisations, whether they measure their contributions towards the SDGs, as well as the perspectives of corporates when providing funding to NPOs, and whether they require NPOs to contribute to the SDGs specifically.

Although her internship was completed remotely, Haley felt like she had a unique experience getting to work closely with dozens of organizations to see how non-profits do their work. She gained exposure to the inner workings of various NPOs to get a sense of how the sector operates and more specifically, learned about non-profit management systems, monitoring and evaluation, and impact reporting. She learned that the monitoring and evaluation that NPOs use is considerably different from that which she was taught in International Management and Leadership at Maxwell School at Syracuse University. During her internship it became increasingly clear that on the ground operations are quite different from the theoretical concepts learned in the classroom. This internship shed light on the realities of the sector, as well as on some shortcomings in non-profit operations.

Additionally, the internship helped to develop her skills in research design, interviews, and data collection, synthesis, and analysis. As her research was centered on the SDGs, a critical framework for the development field, she was able to build an important knowledge base that will be useful for a career in international development.

Even though Haley was working remotely, she became an integral part of the team. The team at iKapa Impact sent her traditional South African recipes to make, a virtual safari to go on, and different videos about South Africa to make her feel like she was with them in Cape Town. In Haley’s words “With a virtual internship, it is easy to get disconnected from your colleagues, but Dee and Anika (my supervisors on the project) made sure I always felt included – even organizing zoom social events with other staff members and interns. They went above and beyond to make sure I had a good experience!”

At the end of her internship, the COVID rules lifted for international travel and Haley was able to visit South Africa for three weeks. In this time she met the organisations she coordinated with and visited their locations as well as enjoyed touring the beautiful city of Cape Town.

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