Natalie Capone
2007-2008; Tanzania (Tanzania Women Chambers of Commerce in collaboration with Small Industries Development Organization – Women Economic Development (SIDO - WED) and ACCESS! for African Business Women in International Trade)

What were your roles in your internships?

At ACCESS! as the business development officer, I expanded and upgraded the web portal to include company profiles, news stories, local and international events, sector profiles and improved the country profile. I also trained and mentored participants of the ACCESS! Export Course in marketing, business and the web portal system. I also reviewed and revised marketing material. 

At TWCC, I acted as the association manager. I collected information related to the organization and created a comprehensive organizational profile, created a member database for female entrepreneurs that included personal and business information, and I represented TWCC at various meetings with many international organizations. I also conducted a situational analysis in Makanye Village to improve sustainable income-generating activities.

What is your favorite story about how you contributed during your internships?

My favorite story about how I contributed is my work and time with Makanya Village.   Spending time in the village was by far the most powerful experience because of what I learned about everyday life for rural Tanzanians, especially women. 


In this village, women spend approximately 6 hours a day preparing meals and cleaning.  They have to collect firewood, fetch water, cook and clean.  When the water pump does not work, the women must walk a total of four hours in the blistering sun just to fetch water.  I was incredibly moved by their strength and will to survive. Many women living in this village engage in agricultural activities and are skilled in basketry, weaving and textile production but lack entrepreneurship training and basic necessities such as water, which are necessary to economically advance. 


During my time in this village, I conducted interviews with village leaders, families, women, school teachers, and the local doctor in order to create a community profile which identified the challenges, skills, hopes, demographics and top priority projects for this community.  I also collected visual resources to share with potential donors and enhance the community profile.  This profile has been used to secure funding, donated goods and volunteer services. Water pumps, school supplies, sports equipment, hospital beds, construction of a kindergarten class, volunteers, and maternity delivery kits are among the types of services and goods that have been provided by generous international and national donors because of the findings of my research and the hard work of villagers to share this information.


This is my favorite story because it is proof that we are all capable of making change, and that a little bit of time and money goes a long way and can have a ripple effect.  The village is looking for new ways to share the research and we are working together to create marketing material and secure additional funding for projects.



What was the greatest lesson you learned through your experiences?


The greatest lesson I learned from my experiences in Tanzania was to embrace the culture of greeting people.One of the most beautiful aspects of Tanzanian culture is the friendly approach to greeting other people.  It is common for Tanzanians to greet almost everyone they encounter during the day and ask questions concerning how you slept, how your family is doing, etc.  Tanzanians are never too busy to make time for others and catch up on life.  They will hold your hand as you talk, and look you straight in the eye.  I have learned to appreciate and take time for every person that crosses my path, a challenging yet rewarding lesson.


Any advice for future interns?


My advice for other interns would be to enjoy every minute and each experience that you have.  If you are open to what you will hear, see, smell and feel, you will have the most incredible life changing experience.  You have much to offer the people and organizations that you will encounter but also have much to learn.  You will have countless foreign experiences and for those times, laughter and smiles will enhance your experiences.  Remember to document your trip through video, photos and in writing….have fun!!!