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Guest Blog: Meet WFF’s Intern

April 28, 2021

Lena, WFF's Intern


My name is Lena and I have been volunteering with the Worldwide Fistula Fund since December 2020.

I am a junior at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I am majoring in International Studies with a concentration in Community and Global Health and a minor in French. I initially reached out to WFF because I realized I would have plenty of free time during my winter break and I wanted a way to be engaged with an organization that aligned well with my studies.

WFF was very receptive when I reached out and they were also able to help me get credit for my work. The majority of my work focuses on creating engaging and educational social media content. I also research current maternal health news and issues to promote on their social media accounts. I love working with WFF! I believe they are doing amazing work and I appreciate that they partner with local leaders and organizations in countries in Africa who know what their communities need.

They support local leaders to create sustainable change for women with any childbirth injury including obstetric fistula. I have gained an understanding of how a non-profit organization works with international programs, which I will carry with me in the future. I want to pursue a Master in Public Health focusing on global health and policy work.

While I have been working with WFF, I have taken classes in related areas of study. For my Public Health in Africa class, the work I was doing with WFF inspired my final research paper. I compared maternal health in rural and urban parts of Senegal. I specifically included that there is an increased risk of fistula in remote parts of Senegal because of the limited healthcare infrastructure, lack of access to emergency obstetric services and medical staff, and the common practice of early marriage for young women.

I am currently in a class called Global Perspectives of Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and I have drawn connections between the work of WFF and the class content, specifically areas such as child marriage. I had the opportunity to talk about WFF in this class and I explained what an obstetric fistula is and how it occurs. The class was very interested and I was happy to educate a new audience on fistulas since they are not talked about enough.

I hope to continue working for WFF for as long as I can. I love that I am constantly learning more about maternal health around the world, and specifically in Africa. I am planning on studying abroad in Dakar, Senegal in the fall of 2021, where I will be examining health care systems, the management and prevention of disease, and philosophical approaches to health care such as the role of traditional medicine. With my French language focus, I am looking forward to working with a new population. I hope to bring the knowledge I have gained from working with WFF with me when I travel there!

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