Hello (and goodbye) from a Fontes intern

by Fontes Foundation on 02/09/2019 No comments

First: who am I?

Hi! I’m Marit Frost and I have spent the last three months interning with the Fontes Foundation in Kampala, splitting my time between the Bugolobi main office and at the Youth Center in  Bunga. I was born and raised in California, USA, and now study International Development and Geography at UCLA in Los Angeles. If you are curious how a California girl came to be living in (and loving) Kampala, well this is where my elevator pitch starts. I came here through a program, Insight Global Education, which pairs students from North America with internships in Kampala and enrols them in two classes at Makerere University: Africa in International Relations, and Peace, Conflict, and post-conflict resolution. Beyond that, what we make of our experience is up to us. While in East Africa I have driven across the border to Rwanda to visit the memorial in Kigali commemorating the terrible losses of the genocide, spent a day and a night in awe at Lake Bunyoni, boated across Lake Victoria, abseiled down a waterfall at Sipi Falls, rafted down the whitewater rapids of the Jinja Nile, and spent a week exploring the history and beauty of Zanzibar, Tanzania. Each of those trips was a small vacation I was extraordinarily lucky to have — an opportunity to explore a new piece of a world I had never experienced before — but none even remotely compared to just living and working in Kampala.

My time with Fontes.

While at Fontes I have come to feel like my little table — pushed up against the 5 others that make up the Fontes corner of the office — is really mine. My desk is right next to the foosball table (that I am still a little nervous to try out, people really take their foosball tournaments seriously!) where daily post-lunch games feature loud laughter, fierce competition, and genuine friendliness. I sit near the little kitchen where our Office Manager Irene has coffee, tea, and delicious Ugandan snacks prepared everyday. Just five meters away, is where each of many birthday cakes were placed as the whole office erupted into song and anticipatory cake-excitement (Surea always got the most excited over the chocolate ones). And just upstairs is the lunch buffet featuring local foods, where I had countless conversations about everything and anything, with everyone and anyone who happened to get hungry at the same time as I did. Don’t get me wrong, working at Fontes has definitely been challenging at times. But isn’t that exactly what an internship should be? Plus, I had a partner in crime! Melvin Sedeora: fellow intern, friend, and housemate; student of Simon Fraser University (in Canada); truly kind and very intelligent. 

Melvin and I had the job of substitute facilitators during much of our time at Fontes; we were able to meet the incredible students of Fontes Youth Center who are actively taking their lives — and education — into their own hands, and to help them on their way toward successful careers by teaching the business skills that are most useful — and most lacking — in the young labour pool today. While at the office in Bugolobi, Melvin and I primarily focused on instituting strategic procedures for organizational Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E). We performed data collection from within our preexisting programs to develop a framework for evaluating their success, and explored options for broadening the reach of those programs while maintaining their viability. The mission of Fontes is not a static one; the organization is constantly re-evaluating its preceding work so our goals are as achievable as possible, and changing those goals in relation to new understandings of the circumstances and capabilities of each program. These are values I will take with me when I fly home in a week. I have learned to never be content with the work I have done, but to strive to evaluate and change it when it inevitably isn’t perfect.

What I am taking with me when I leave.

My memories from working here are filled with nerves, cake, laughter, stress, coffee, kindness, doubt, matooke, and pride. I will never forget my colleagues, my students, or that foosball table that I will use sometime in the next 5 days. I will never forget the daily standups — where we all learned about each project that was being worked on and put a colorful sticky-note on the board to represent the task — the monday morning check-ins, the chocolate Julianne brought back from Norway, or the sense of community that exists here but is so rare in most workplaces. Truly, I will never forget my time with Fontes.

Lots of love for my students, colleagues, and this incredible city,


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Fontes FoundationHello (and goodbye) from a Fontes intern

Testimonials from Previous Interns

by Hellen Griberg on 04/12/2017 1 comment

Samuel Kueng, FFU Intern Spring 2017 

During my internship at Fontes Foundation, I was granted the opportunity to take on different tasks in a challenging environment, collecting valuable professional experience. I highly appreciated the combination of desk work and practical tasks. My duties included compiling marketing material, conducting research and writing funding proposals, but also working on various projects at the Fontes Youth Development Centre and field work in several fishing villages at Queen Elizabeth National Park. My personal highlight was the organization of the first Career Day at Fontes Foundation for the students of the Youth Centre, as well as other partner organizations. After overcoming many challenges and exercising patience, it was deeply rewarding to see our sharply dressed students network with employers from various sectors, listen to inspiring keynote speeches, and present their startup projects. My experience in the charming city of Kampala was rounded up by meeting a broad range of professionals engaged in diplomacy and development. Interacting with people working for the United Nations, European Union or GIZ gave me great insights into prospective future professional fields.

Samuel Kueng, FFU Spring Intern

Rebecca Grattage, FFU Summer 2017

I really enjoyed my internship at Fontes Foundation. The work was often challenging, and I enjoyed learning more about youth employment and safe water implementation projects in Uganda. The tasks were varied and interesting. My primary role was to look for funding opportunities and writing funding proposals, attending events at the Fontes Youth Centre and writing blog posts for the Fontes Foundation website and social media pages, in addition to following up with Job Placement Programme (JPP) students and varied tasks. The primary challenge I faced as an intern was probably managing to schedule meetings with some of the JPP students, as they didn’t always keep their phones switched on! However, one of the most rewarding parts of the internship was indeed meeting with these students to hear their personal stories – successes, failures, hopes, and dreams. Some of the stories I heard were truly inspirational and will stay with me as I continue to learn and  grow as an individual. I am extremely grateful to Fontes Foundation for allowing me to be a part of the team. I hope the organisation continues to grow and help make positive changes in Uganda and beyond!

Rebecca Grattage, FFU Summer Intern







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Hellen GribergTestimonials from Previous Interns