Thursday, October 6, 2011

Nana Yanful: Intern at Pathways

Nana Yanful, a law student and a Canadian of Ghanaian descent joined the Pathways, West Africa team from May to July, 2011. Below is an interview about her experience.

1. How did you get to know about Pathways of Women's Empowerment in Ghana?
I learned about Pathways through my online research for a project or organization that was using law, social work, policy, etc., to enact change, specifically in the lives of women in Ghana. I stumbled across the Pathways blog, and I instantly loved the work that was being done in Ghana. I had just received a fellowship from my Law school in Canada to go somewhere in the continent of African to contribute to something I was interested in continuing in my legal career. The Pathways project seemed like the right fit. I emailed Akofa Anyidoho for more information, and the rest is history!

2. What informed your decision to do your internship with Pathways of Women's Empowerment in Ghana?
During my research for projects or groups working towards sustainable change in Ghana, I found it hard to find something that was not run by an organization in England, France, the US or Canada. The Pathways project, although partly funded by funds from abroad, is run by Ghanaian women - and many of the women are academics who are committed to working and engaging in Ghana. That was something rare in my mind, and I looked forward to learning more about this, especially in a country like Ghana, where many young people from abroad go there to do "development" work. I was interested to see how I could contribute as a Ghanaian born in Canada.

3. During your internship what work were you engaged in?
I assisted Akofa Anyidoho with the Pathways Photo Exhibition research, collection of photos, and preliminary curation of the exhibition. I also assisted Professor Manuh and Dr. Darkwah in their research on women's work, civic and political participation and empowerment.

4. What were you hoping to learn from Pathways?
I was hoping to learn more on the legal aspect of these initiatives, for example, the forced eviction issue that was mentioned on the Pathways blog. I had hoped to work more with young women and students on campus on some of the issues we were researching, and doing more one-on-one work with community members.

5. Did your experience meet your expectations?
It was a good experience, however, because I came during the summer months, many were away taking their much needed vacations. So at the beginning the work was slow. As mentioned in #4, I had hoped to do more one-on-one work, but overall it was a nice experience.

6. What is ONE new thing you learnt from working with the Pathways team in Ghana?
Issues of sexism and homophobia (gender-based violence) are everywhere in the world. These are issues we as human beings are dealing with all around the world. I was surprised to hear many progressive views by people at Pathways around issues of homophobia, and that was a positive thing.

7. In ONE word, describe your experience.

Thanks for choosing to intern with us and thanks for the interview, Nana!