This summer WOW has had the exciting opportunity of hosting a university student as an intern in our communications department. Chances are that you may all have seen her amazing social media and blogging skills already. Well, we thought it would be a great idea to formally introduce her to you via blog interview–rockstar style, while at the same time provide an inside look at what it is like to work for an NGO!
Katie, who are you?
Hi! My name is Katie Fabian. I’m 21 years old and call Ottawa home. I love trying new coffee shops, travelling, learning about new cultures and spending time with family and friends. You can normally find me with a warm cup of tea, singing the latest Hillsong or Elevation worship songs to myself or planning my next trip.
Tell us about your school program.
I am enrolled in the Concurrent Education program at Queen’s University. I am in the primary education stream and majoring in Global Development Studies. At the moment, my goal is to teach primary school overseas in some capacity once I am finished school.
Why did you come to WOW?
As a Global Development Studies major, we have the opportunity to intern with an NGO for the summer as an experiential learning opportunity in order to put into practice the skills that we have learned within the classroom. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to shadow the staff at WOW this summer.
What are you doing at WOW?
This summer I have had the opportunity to work under the leadership of the communications department. I get to engage with our followers online through daily social media posts and weekly blog posts that highlight the initiatives our partners are currently working on. I have also had the opportunity to help work on the community updates that some of you will be receiving in the mail in the next few weeks!
How did you come to choose WOW?
I chose to reach out to WOW this summer because I love the development model that WOW has established with their partners in Malawi, Zambia and Uganda. WOW works to provide financial support to local NGOs and community leaders who are already working to bring about change among their own communities. WOW works to support community led programs that have been brought to light by indigenous leaders. These leaders identify key issues and create and implement development strategies which meet the unique needs of their own communities.
I also value the unique and comprehensive approach that WOW has chosen to pursue. The programs being implemented by the local leaders and organizations are based on a holistic approach that acts to meet the biological, social, economic, emotional and spiritual needs of individuals and families impacted by HIV and poverty. This includes increasing access to freshwater, education, food security, health care as well as the development of leadership skills and entrepreneurial skills.
Have you been involved in missions work aside your Global Development classes?
Yes I have! In 2010, I travelled to Sogakope, Ghana for the first time with my family. Since then, we have visited three additional times as well. In Ghana, I have had the opportunity to develop relationships with an amazing woman of God named Agnes Appiah who lives in a small village called Sogakope. Agnes provides safety, shelter, nutritious meals and access to education to the upwards of 80 children in her care. In addition to these children, Agnes also runs a primary school (Living Faith Preparatory School) in Sogakope that has upwards of 400 students in attendance.
During my time in Sogakope, I have had the opportunity to volunteer in classrooms to provide assistance to Agnes’ teachers. In the afternoon and evenings, I organized craft and recreational activities for the children who live at the home and participated in nightly prayer and devotion times to provide respite to the hardworking women who care for the children day in and day out.
What do you love about your work/ learning experience at WOW?
Working within WOW’s office has provided me with a great glimpse into the behind the scenes work that comes with running a non-profit. I have had the opportunity to have many conversations with individual staff members which has helped me to learn about the different components that are needed to run a non-profit on a daily basis. The staff have been incredibly welcoming and have worked to ensure this has been a positive learning experience for me. I am so grateful that they have been so gracious in answering all my curious questions.
I value the way in which WOW has worked to develop strong and trusting relationships with the local leaders they support in Malawi, Zambia and Uganda. I have loved hearing the updates that come directly from the field on a weekly basis. I also really enjoy getting to read through recent reports from WOW’s partners that include stories and highlights surrounding the initiatives they are currently working on.
What have you learned so far? Or what stands out the most of what you have learned?
I have learned about the importance of providing local leaders with agency within their own communities to bring about positive change. I have had the opportunity to be exposed to the way in which the establishment of new initiatives takes place. The implementation of new initiatives is entirely led by local leaders. Local leaders provide the WOW team with proposals that outline the relevance of an initiative, the step by step process surrounding the way in which they intend to roll out a given project along with the necessary budget. This approach has reinforced within me that implementing our own western development plans upon communities is not the solution to issues the communities we support are facing. Instead, we have the pleasure of coming alongside communities and helping them see their plans and ideas come to fruition.
In addition, I now recognize the importance of being transparent and building strong and trusting relationships with donors and supporters. I admire the way in which WOW values the relationships they have developed with their donors. They wish to keep donors informed through monthly emails and annual reports that shed light on the specific programs that donors are working to support. They help make giving personal.
I have also learned that the work that takes place at the not-for-profit level is complex. There is a lot of work that takes places behind the scenes to ensure that an organization like WOW runs effectively and optimizes impact.
You have recently returned from overseas. Where were you, and why were you there?
Yes! I have lived abroad for the past five months. This past winter, I studied at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland on exchange. While on exchange I had the opportunity to learn and collaborate with other students in the field of Global Development. I also had the opportunity to travel throughout Europe which was incredible. It has most definitely left me with a big travel bug!
Favourite worship song right now- include the link!
My favourite worship song at the moment is “New Wine” by Hillsong Worship. This song is a prayer of complete surrender. As I have played it on repeat recently, it has acted as a daily reminder that as I walk this journey with Him, I need to choose to surrender my own ways daily and instead, choose to trust and say “yes” to Him. This song reminds me, that as I do this, He will enable me to be a vessel for His Kingdom and He will give me strength to walk into whatever He has for me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ozGKlOzEVc
If you had to choose one scripture verse that drives your life, what would it be and why?
My favourite verse in the Bible is Micah 6:8. It reads: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God”.
This verse speaks of three qualities that I love about Jesus. Time and time again during His time on earth Jesus acted justly, showed mercy beyond measure and walked humbly alongside those in the crowd who often were not seen by others. In doing so, His actions brought incredible glory to God and ultimately brought people closer to Him. While this call was placed upon the church prior to Jesus’ arrival on earth, I believe this call still remains so important to us as believers today. As I grow in my walk with the Lord, I hope to reflect these three qualities in my day to day life so that others might see Jesus and His incredible love reflected through me.
WOW does a lot of projects, in a lot of countries. Of all we do, what moves you the most and why?
That is such a tough question. There are so many amazing initiatives that stick out to me. I love the work that gender based violence counsellors are carrying out in Malawi. I love the multifaceted approach that this ministry operates under by providing both short and long term support to survivors of rape. This dedicated team of volunteers escort survivors to the hospital and provides emotional support in the immediate hours following abuse. In addition, these volunteers come alongside women and children throughout their journey of healing by providing counselling which allows them to work through deep hurts at their own pace in a community where they are loved, supported and seen.
In addition to providing support when cases of rape emerge, I love that gender based violence volunteers are also passionate about working through the underlying causes of abuse to ensure gender based violence is brought to an end in the future. I have heard such amazing stories of redemption through this program and I so look forward to seeing how this ministry will continue to grow in the future.