Feed the Future Mali Sugu Yiriwa

Internship Location: Bamako, Mali

Organization Type: Nonprofit

Policy Areas: Education, Gender Equality, Agriculture, Communication & organizational management and Rural Development

During my internship at Feed the Future Mali Sugu Yiriwa, I served as a Gender and Communication Intern from May to August in Bamako, Mali. The organization, funded by USAID and implemented by CNFA, aims to empowering and transforming the market system from fragmented and informal to dynamic, organized, and inclusive, with the goal of improving household incomes and nutritional status sustainably. My internship experience was enriched by drawing on theoretical materials, research, and evidence to formulate effective gender-inclusive policies as I utilized research on successful gender integration in similar agricultural projects to inform my work and policy recommendations. I conducted research, developed communication materials, and participated in workshops and fairs to empower women and youth entrepreneurs. One of my major contributions was drafting a policy memo proposing recommendations to introduce agricultural literacy classes in the country’s educational system. My hope is that starting from primary school, children can learn about the vast opportunities in the agriculture sector, potentially helping them discover their dream jobs early and even become future entrepreneurs. I also helped on interviewing and writing success stories of some of our production units featured by USAID. Throughout this internship, I advanced my skills in policy analysis, public affairs, and effective communication strategies. Working on real-world challenges and witnessing the positive impact of gender-inclusive policies on rural communities reinforced my passion for sustainable development and gender empowerment. The most valuable aspect of the internship was witnessing the positive impact of gender-inclusive policies on rural communities. Empowering women and youth entrepreneurs not only improved their economic status but also contributed to transforming entire communities. I highly recommend this internship to future students at La Follette School or any other institution focused on public affairs and international development. The experience allowed me to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world challenges, honing essential skills such as communication, problem-solving, and stakeholder engagement. One key lesson I am excited to build on in my public affairs degree is the importance of evidence-based decision-making and context-specific approaches in policymaking. I aim to continue advocating for gender equality and impactful policies that promote economic empowerment for marginalized communities.