Fauziya Anafo '15: Reflections on working with the United Nations World Food Programme

Ashesi alumna, Fauziya Anafo '15, writes on her experience as an intern with the United Nations World Food Programme in Rome, Italy, and how it fits into her long-term career goals.

I am currently working at the United Nations World Food Programme (UNFWP) Headquarters as an Innovation and Change Management intern. I first learned about the job role through Ashesi’s Career Services Office, but was not told it was with the UNWFP, until I actually received an email from their recruiting team saying I should go ahead with my application. I was unsure about my chances of getting into the programme, until I heard the feedback after I was done with my second interview.

My work at the UNFWP is exactly what I had hoped to do after graduation. I have always wanted to work with an NGO that focuses on either food security, or issues concerning women. Coming from the Northern part of Ghana, where we increasingly lack the ability to harness our land and dry weather to alleviate hunger, I have always wanted to be a part of a change process that addresses these issues. This internship is allowing to develop the skills and capacity to pursue a career in this direction, and it continues to be fulfilling. Of course, I cannot fail to mention that this was a very good opportunity for me to experience the beautiful city of Rome!

Visiting the  Colosseum in RomeVisiting the  Colosseum in Rome

At the UNFWP, my division works to combine management consulting and lean start-up thinking with non-profit projects to reduce food insecurity and malnutrition. This division reports to the Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), and seeks to create value through prioritizing and better harnessing innovative ideas, as well as scaling up transformative projects to a global level. The team consists of former management consultants (Project Managers and Consultants from Boston Consulting Group, Bain, McKinsey, etcetera.) working with executive management to drive strategic corporate priority projects, which have a high profile within the organization. This means, of course, that team is also very diverse; I have colleagues from Asia, Europe, and South America and of course Africa. 

In my second week of the programme, I had the opportunity to go for a retreat where we were all supposed to bring something that represented us. I took along a photo of the logo of my alma mater, Ashesi University College. When I was asked why that represented me, my response was: “any institution that strives to embed ethics in their students, is a university that can make the change that my country and Africa as a whole needs; and everyday, I strive to live out the values that Ashesi taught me.”

If ever I doubted how proud I was of Ashesi, that was the moment I was fully convinced. Ashesi’s spirit of volunteerism, fuelled my willingness to give back as often as possible, and my supervisor has been especially impressed with my ability to communicate ideas during presentations. In retrospect, I should have done more to keep up with global issues during my time as a student. It was too easy to get caught up in the pursuit of grades; if I could come back to campus, I would definitely be spending more time engaging opportunities to learn about the wider world of life and work.

But in my experiences so far, I have come to especially appreciate Ashesi encouraging me to always be confident about following my passion. I believe it is important that every student believes that they can achieve so much more than they often imagine. As I sit writing this from Rome, I really look forward to what the future holds and what I could possibly help the world become.