The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: FAVEN WOLDETATYOS '20

Faven Woldetatyos '20

Faven Woldetatyos '20 interned at The Borgen Project during the summer of 2020. 

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Faven Woldetatyos '20 interned at The Borgen Project during the 2020 summer term. The following is an excerpt from her internship report.

This summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to intern for The Borgen Project, based in Seattle, Washington, remotely from my home in Aurora, Colorado. The Borgen Project is a grassroots nonprofit organization that addresses global poverty and hunger and focuses on ending them through direct lobbying and fundraising. They work toward their goals using advocacy, mobilization, education, and issue messaging. The organization meets with Congressional leaders, recruits people interested in helping the cause, teaches basic advocacy skills to citizens, and spreads awareness of global poverty, respectively. I was a writing intern, which meant my role in the organization primarily consisted of writing articles for The Borgen Project’s blog, whose audience expanded to over eight million people in the past year. This increase in viewership came with the expectation that I would thoroughly research instances of global poverty and report my findings in the form of a 500-1000 word article. Since the blog was the main instrument in spreading awareness to our cause, I made sure to properly vet my sources and learn the internet codes that would result in our articles popping up in the top of Google searches. In addition to written contributions to the blog, I was also responsible for raising a minimum of $500 for the organization. This would presumably go towards lobbying costs and operational resources that would enhance the organization’s reach. I successfully reached out to my family and friends, who were more than happy to contribute to a charitable cause. Finally, I had the task of lobbying to my local Congressional leaders. I emailed and called the offices of Colorado Sen. Bennet and Gardiner, requesting they vote in favor of bills that increased U.S. aid to impoverished countries. Of all the skills I acquired during this internship, the one that I found the most valuable was advocacy. I learned how easy and flexible it could be to bring my Congressional leaders to attention. As a Government major and future lawyer, learning how to directly contact the legislative branch and make my voice heard was a priceless gem this internship afforded me.

Throughout the three months I worked for this organization, I had plenty of time to consider what this internship meant to me. The first, and perhaps the greatest positive of interning here was knowing that I was a part of a worthwhile and compassionate cause. In high school, I participated in organizations connected to charities that assisted refugees, so the matter of global suffering was something close to my heart. In college, I had so many responsibilities that I never had time to return to charitable work. This internship finally made that possible. After all of the horrible things that have taken place this year, it was soothing to do my part in working to end global poverty- something that should not exist in our post-modern society.

I would like to sincerely thank the Rockefeller Center for providing me with the opportunity to work for an organization whose goals are rooted in compassion. I plan to share the advocacy skills I acquired so more people will know how easy it is to get involved in legislation. One man with a laptop and a budget that came from his paychecks fishing in Alaska evolved into the Borgen Project we know today- a national campaign with volunteers operating in 931 U.S. cities. In the same way, one person with a phone and an email address can evolve into the ratification of bills that can end global poverty as we know it.

The Rockefeller Internships Program has funding for Dartmouth undergraduate students to help defray the cost of living expenses associated with a full-time, unpaid, leave-term internships in the fields of public policy, public affairs, and social entrepreneurship.

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