“Be genuine, build your brand and share your story”

Marie Nedgine Ducrepin of Haiti reflects on her short internship at the World YMCA in July and August 2020

After having spent 2019 collaborating with country representatives, I came back to be of use in Haiti. Then COVID struke. And with it, opportunities dwindled.

I heard from a friend that Global Startup Ecosystem (GSE) wanted to tackle unemployment through virtual training, so I submitted my application. Fast forward to July 2020 when I learned with joy that I was selected as one of 200 professionals to be part of the first Haiti Career Digital Career Accelerator. The program being extremely competitive, I felt even more lucky to be shortlisted.

Moreover, I had been following Christine Ntim’s work ever since the launch of the first Haiti Tech Summit in 2017. I applauded her involvement and the impact she has been making through The Global Startup Ecosystem (GSE); the world’s first digital accelerator working with public and private stakeholders to educate, inspire and prepare individuals and organizations for the digital age. Her leading by example inspired me to be a better professional and increased my desire to promote change in my country.

In order to get ready for this exciting event, I registered for most of the virtual events organized by GSE. I ended up attending The Future of Work Bootcamp, and The Virtual Career Job Fair. Then July arrived, and with it started the Digital Career Accelerator Program. From July 9th to 31st, I sat every Tuesday and Thursday to listen and participate in the sessions. I had not only the opportunity to interact with young Haitians such as myself, but also enjoyed listening to keynote speakers such as Ty Heath, DJ Forza, Ryan Foland, Daphnee Charles and Einstein Ntim. All the presenters mastered their subject and brought to us participants a fresh perspective on what it meant to be a competitive professional in the world of COVID-19 and beyond. The key message could be summarized as “be genuine, build your brand and share your story.”

By July, I was both elated and excited to be part, together with Jean Kensle Figaro, of the team doing a remote internship at the World YMCA. As part of the mission, I have had the opportunity to meet and chat – virtually – with the Secretary General, M. Carlos Madjri Sanvee and the Director of Partnerships and Collaboration, DJ Forza. The projects we collaborated on were diverse and captivating. From populating a COVID-19 funders database that will help World YMCA build more of the partnerships necessary to carry out their mission, to discovering that the organization has been involved for a long time in the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals and finding the best way to present the result of their stories to their partners, our weeks of internship have been anything but dull.

Moreover, we got to visit the YMCA d’Haiti, spoke to Gwenael Apollon, its Secretary General, about the projects being carried out locally and the difficulties they are facing. We provided advice and shared ideas for partnerships. We also got to visit the facility and discover the huge potential of the locale and the importance of its mission in the community.

However, what I am mostly grateful for is the invaluable coaching I had benefited from both Carlos and DJ. The former being from an African country, taught me that persistence and quality work would help me overcome stigmas linked to one’s background and become more competitive internationally. The latter provided priceless insight on the best ways to build long-lasting partnerships.

I will be leaving this internship with more insight on the work of World YMCA, an increased passion for development work and a stronger drive to succeed as a female hailing from a small least developed country like Haiti.  In the end, both have become in the span of a few weeks, formidable mentors, and sources of inspiration for which I have the utmost admiration.

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