This summer, I was able to fulfill one of my lifelong dreams of working with an NGO in Uganda. The NGO I worked for is called Citizens' Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU). The main goal of CCEDU is to promote and advocate for better governance in Uganda. In order to achieve their goal, CCEDU runs voter education programs, lobbies the government to pass electoral reforms, and observes various types of elections. During my internship, I was given a wide variety of tasks. I co-wrote a paper to lobby Parliament, attended many functions for their 2016 presidential election observation effort, and helped find a suitable advertising firm for their next voter education campaign. I also helped write the 2016 pre-election report, which was a 100 page document that outlined the problems that may be present during the 2016 elections. The most exciting task I completed was writing the research proposal for the first voter apathy study to ever be conducted in Uganda. I was really happy that CCEDU trusted me enough to take on the main responsibility for such an important project.
My internship with CCEDU was a fantastic experience. I learned far more about Uganda's government and electoral system than I could ever learn from a book. My co-workers (and all the other Ugandans I interacted with) helped me see their government in an entirely new light. Although there were many challenging aspects, such as a slow work pace and other cultural differences, I was able to grow from those experiences as well. I have always wanted to work with an NGO in Uganda, so I am unbelievably grateful that I was able to be a part of one (albeit for a short period of time). I enjoyed my internship enough to say that I would be willing to go back in the future. In fact, I may go back next summer to help carry out the field work for the voter apathy study. Overall, my internship with CCEDU helped me grow as a person and realize that I definitely want to pursue a career involving human rights and governance issues.