Dr. Xin Zhou, '12, worked as a global development intern for ThinkImpact this summer in Kenya as a member of the University of the Pacific's 2010 Ambassador Corps.
Zhou spent seven weeks living in a mud house with no electricity and running water in Kayafungo, which is located 50 kilometers from Mombasa, the country's second-largest city. ThinkImpact is an NGO program that aims to leverage social innovation and local community resources to alleviate poverty.
"Our job was to visit local people trying to find out their skills and assets," Zhou said. "In the first four weeks, our team also was asked to monitor and evaluate past projects such as schools, latrines and hand-washing stations."
"My last three weeks were spent in dispensaries," said Zhou. "I observed medical professionals treating HIV patients. Due to poverty, social stigma and other reasons, Kenya has a policy that strongly encourages HIV mothers to exclusively breast feed their infants during the first six months of life. I expect to make a critical report on this policy to my sponsoring organization at the University in the next few months."
Zhou, a medical doctor from Shanghai, was among fifteen Pacific students awarded fellowships to work with social entrepreneurship organizations in developing countries this summer and fall. The university's Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship, based on the Stockton campus, selected the ambassadors from a strong pool of applicants. Recipient received a fellowship in the range of $3-5,000 for their service. Aside from the hands-on experience, this advanced internship program aims to provide essential fundamentals for establishing careers in international development, and cultivating professional relationships in developing countries with premiere social entrepreneurship organizations.