4W Summer Internships Show Global Impact

4W Internship Ghana girls

4W, an initiative founded at the School of Human Ecology (SoHE), is aiming to leverage the strengths of UW-Madison “to make life better for women and make the world better for all.” Indeed, the most important aspects of this initiative—women, well-being, Wisconsin, and the world—are reflected in its succinct title. Today, the collaboration between SoHE, the Global Health Institute, and the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies works for the benefit of all campus units. Grounded in human rights principles, 4W “works toward equal rights for women and girls as an end in itself, while also recognizing the important role that women play in sustaining families, communities, civil society, local and global economies and our earth.”


2018 Summer 4W Internships Expand Globally

This summer, the 4W Nepal internship program from 2017 was expanded to include seven students and IIP Advisor and Program Coordinator Carly Stingl organized two additional internship locations; Associate Professor Carolyn Kallenborn brought two interns to Mexico and with Dr. Mary Crave traveled with another pair of students to Ghana. While most of these interns come from SoHE, students from all schools are encouraged to participate, with a topic of interest related to gender and well-being as the sole requirement. Intern participation more than tripled from the previous year.

Seven students worked in four Nepali organizations thanks to the work of thanks to the work and guidance of SoHE’s Professor Jennifer Angus and Michelle Kern Hall, Interim Director of the IIP. Design and Product Development Interns in Kathmandu, Nepal work with artisan micro-enterprise groups to learn from their innovative skills and help them grow their businesses.  ▼

4W Interns in Napal work with local artisans

photo credit: @4WMadison

The 2018  internships expanded beyond Nepal. Associate Professor Carolyn Kallenborn traveled with two students to Oaxaca, Mexico, to work in the @AndaresDelArte gallery. ▼

Details of 4W internship projects from 2018 Oaxaca

photo credit: @4WMadison

A pair of interns traveled to Ghana with Dr. Mary Crave. These students helped distribute menstrual hygiene kits to middle school girls as part of Days for Girls. Pictured below, middle school girls in Koforidua throw their kits high into the air after a lesson on menstrual hygiene and the reproductive system. ▼

2018 4W Interns in Ghana participate in Days for Girls

photo credit: @UW_IIP

History of 4W Internships

In the summer of 2016, Maj Fischer, founding director of UW’s International Internship Program (IIP) and current Interim Director of External Relations for the International Division, helped launch an internship opportunity with Women’s Education Project (WEP) in India. Rachel Weiss, the Undergraduate Advisor for Asian Languages and Cultures helped to further organize the program while Michelle Kern Hall, Interim Director of the IIP, took on coordination with the organization and intern. In preparation for their departure, the student attended sessions at the 4W Summit, signaling the beginning of an exceptional partnership.

Following the success of the 2016 program, Director Lori Diprete Brown contributed funds from her Women’s Philanthropy Council Award, allowing 4W to sponsor four student interns in the summer of 2017—two in India, and two in Nepal. The former expanded on the 2016 collaboration with WEP, with guaranteed scholarships from 4W, IIP, and the Center for South Asia, which helped attract students. The latter was a pilot program led by Professor Jennifer Angus, with secured funding for one undergraduate and one graduate student from 4W, IIP, and Global Artisans.

At an April event organized by UW Alumnae and UW Twin Cities Women’s Philanthropy Chapter members Linda Haugland and Sherry Coatney, both Kern Hall and Luisa Garcia-Gomez, former intern and Design Studies Graduate Student, presented information on the program to donors in Minneapolis. Here, they pointed out the simultaneous breadth of the program and personalized counseling and educational support students receive during the internship. In order to ensure quality and guarantee that the faculty are engaged with the interns during planning and field work, the program is kept relatively small. Garcia-Gomez spoke on her personal experience in the program, sharing what she learned related to the arts and well-being in Nepal and emphasizing how transformative these exchanges can be for students.

Plans for More Growth

Looking forward, the program hopes to continue expanding. Currently the initiative supports their eleven interns with about $12,000, with plans to increase this to $25,000 to subsidize between eight and twelve internships and minimize financial barriers to participation. Further, future interns can look forward to new potential locations, including Ecuador, Kenya, and return to India. Following the success of the Minneapolis presentation, the initiative is hopeful these changes can be implemented throughout the next few years. For more information on how to get involved, visit the 4W Initiative website or donate here.

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