Elina Sipilä Concludes Her Intership at Mifuko Trust

Elina Sipilä Concludes Her Intership at Mifuko Trust

Elina was impressed by grassroots activism in Kenya and got to apply her studies in practice.
Introducing chairperson Minna Impiö Du liest Elina Sipilä Concludes Her Intership at Mifuko Trust 3 Minuten

Elina Sipilä worked as a communications and fundraising intern at Mifuko Trust from January to June 2024. She has just submitted her master's thesis to the University of Helsinki's Master's Programme in Society and Change. Her thesis topic is the representation of climate change and climate justice in secondary school geography textbooks.

Elina's studies have been multidisciplinary: they included economic and social history, development studies, social and cultural anthropology, political history, sociology, and the German language. She believes these studies provided an excellent foundation for her internship at Mifuko Trust. Approaches highlighted in her studies, such as One Health and intersectionality, have been useful in her understanding of the Trust's work.

One Health considers how human, animal, and environmental health are closely interconnected. Intersectionality examines how different intersecting factors, such as gender, social class, age, sexuality, and socioeconomic background, affect an individual's social position. Regarding climate change, this means that various factors influence people's vulnerability and inequality in facing the impacts of climate change. The importance of civil society was also highlighted in Elina's bachelor's thesis.

Informative Trip to Kenya

Elina, Anita and Irene taking a selfie

At the start of her internship, Elina had the opportunity to go on a project monitoring trip to Kenya—her first trip outside Europe. During the field trip, Elina quickly understood the differences and collaboration between Mifuko Company and Mifuko Trust, as well as the role of Mifuko Women Development CBO in the Trust's projects. Additionally, she got practical insights into agroforestry and dry toilets and interviewed locals about their experiences with the Trust projects like Irene Wavinya Mutua in the picture with Elina and Anita Lintula. Elina also participated in the planning of a new project. The week-long project trip increased her understanding of the Kenyan operational environment, supporting her continued internship work in Finland.

In rural Kenya, the interaction between people, nature, and animals is more direct than in Finland, and the effects of climate change are more dramatically visible in people's lives. The perspectives and concepts offered by her studies took on a concrete form in the Trust's project area in Kenya.

Impressed by Civil Society Activism

Elina found it interesting to learn about the synergy between Mifuko Company and Mifuko Trust. She appreciated seeing how corporate responsibility can be an important part of an NGO's operations and how Mifuko implements corporate responsibility comprehensively, both as a Fair Trade company and through the Trust.

Elina also found it meaningful to see how civil society operates in Kenya, especially in relation to Mifuko Trust's main partner, Mifuko Women Development CBO. The women were truly dedicated and active, more so than often seen at the grassroots level in Finland.

People discussing around a table in Kenya

Proactive Work Approach Important

Elina found the small Kenyan-Finnish four-member work team meaningful. The organization allows for broad-ranging work. "I have been able to do new things from start to finish with the support of the team."

From her internship at the Trust, Elina takes away skills in communications and fundraising. She got to learn about business-to-business fundraising and became proficient in navigating the Shopify platform. Additionally, she developed her knowledge of NGO and project work.

 

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