Dispatches from the field

Since 1989, Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC) has been helping to develop young Canadian leaders in the field of international development through its International Youth Fellowship Program. Here, in their own words and pictures, current Fellows and alumni share first-hand accounts of their experiences.


From the Framework to the Field: Learning About School Improvement in Uganda by Marc Lombardi

We approach Madikini Primary School as our vehicle bounces along a bumpy road, and we admire the green hills and farmland that surround us. Madikini is located in a remote part of Koboko, northern Uganda.


Finding inspiration from your office by Emma Bell-Scollan

When people think about international development work, they generally think of daring field work, personal hardship, and projects that have a direct and immediately visible impact on beneficiaries.


Kettles and cameras in Karasu, Kyrgyzstan by Rachel Mather

When my friends and family pictured my life in Kyrgyzstan, they imagined I’d be working “in the field”. My day to day life is quite different though.


Lighting the path for change by Eve Johnson

“Today, I needed surgery, but I have to wait for the light of tomorrow. I lie quietly in the clinic bed, watching as the opaque haze of dusk surrounds me. I wait patiently. Unfortunately, the pain does not diminish with the fading light. The seeping darkness seems only to heighten its intensity.”

After many years apart, Jesca Ciahcabi, 114, meets childhood companion Habisag Jaction, 120, at her farm compound in Hdiruni village, roughly seven kilometres southeast of Chuka Town in Tharaka-Nithi County. The women have been friends for more than a century and cannot remember the last time they saw each other. ELIZABETH McSHEFFREY (NAIROBI).

Don’t hit hard, hit home – A lesson in journalism from Kenya by Elizabeth McSheffrey 

I found Jesca Ciahcabi sitting beneath the shade of a crispy, brown banana tree. I reached for a handshake, but instead she hugged me. We were in Ndiruni, a small village roughly three hours northeast of Nairobi.


“Don’t worry, be happy” by Laura Fortin

Arua, Northern Uganda. Friday, 5 a.m. I wake up to the call to prayer at the nearby mosque, and the sound of heavy rain. My mind starts running wild.

Grandmother Shakuntala Pradhan at work in Malinchora Tea Estate. Bangladesh.

Preschool in the tea gardens of Bangladesh

I began my formal education with expulsion from preschool.

I redeemed myself by succeeding in primary school, phew. While primary school graduation is essentially a universal achievement in Canada, some Bangladeshi children face many barriers to reaching even this level of education.

Scenics - Dushanbe to Khorog, Tajikistan

The rights and responsibilities of microfinance in Tajikistan

The Smart Campaign is a global effort spearheaded by the Center for Financial Inclusion, dedicated to “uniting microfinance leaders around a common goal: to keep clients as the driving force of the industry” – by following principles designed to help microfinance institutions practise good ethics and smart business.


The complexities of reporting in Kenya

It was a straightforward story of exploitation. The people of the fragile Tana Delta, still recovering from tribal violence that claimed over 100 lives in September, were facing an assault on their treasured land by big business – in this case, a Canadian corporation planning a massive biofuel plantation in the region.


From the field to market in Mozambique

When most of your workdays are spent in front of a computer, it’s easy to forget where the food on your plate comes from.


Supporting dairy farmers in Bangladesh by Jennifer Wong

I’ve been in Bangladesh for more than two months now, working with CARE Bangladesh on their programming to help rural farmers improve their agricultural practices – and incomes.