My name is Richard Asea, I am specializing in International Cooperation and Development at ASERI – Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Milan, and I recently had the chance to carry out an internship at the E4Impact Country Office in Uganda.

I have always been captivated by the relationship between profit and non-profit approaches to development, and that is why I was immediately drawn to seize this opportunity. This internship was not just a professional opportunity; it was a journey of discovery of what, for months, I had only covered in classes. So, my adventure began!

When I first arrived in Uganda, I was welcomed by a vibrant team guided by the Country Manager, Loise Kamau, and I was immediately taken through myriad of projects that E4Impact undertakes in Uganda for different stakeholders, within and outside the confines of the central region.

Firstly, I was equipped with important documents that I would need for my job, namely the project implementation roadmap and the list and categories of beneficiaries, who were mostly entrepreneurs and public officials undergoing mentorship and capacity building entrepreneurial trainings. Then I got down to work and started meeting with them.

The first group I interacted with physically during one of the Boot Camps held at the office is the first cohort of the Accelerator program, promoted by E4Impact thanks to the contribution of Spe Salvi. They were all entrepreneurs in the green energy sector, drawn from Kampala and the surrounding districts.

Then, I also met the second group of officials of the Kampala City Council, taking part in the Blue and Green project implemented by E4Impact and CIHEAM Bari and funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This project is a training program which aims to improve managerial and entrepreneurial skills on waste value chain and the blue economy sector.

My role as intern included several interesting activities, such as supporting the establishment and the acceleration of start-ups, the support in the development of various programs and partnerships etc.

Start-ups need day-to-day contact and mentoring, especially in the first stages of their life, and getting feedback from the trainers is fundamental. A big part of my job was to interact with the entrepreneurs to understand their business ideas and value propositions, supporting them in the improvement process. For me, this was very inspiring because I could really understand their businesses and expectations.

During my internship, I was given the chance to support the Business Development unit in their effort to establish relationships across industries and sectors. To this extent, it was important for me to understand the entry requirements expected from new partners of the Foundation. Once I had clear in mind the values and mission, I had to identify entities that can become possible partners within the country. I am actually developing an intervention concept for the West Nile region, in collaboration with the city authorities of Arua City.

Lastly, I supported the staff in the process of quality assurance, this meant taking part in monitoring activities and outcomes of the Accelerator program, to ensure that goals were reached. Being involved in all of this, allowed me to deeply understand E4Impact’s mission and vision and the nature of its interventions.

I can describe my experience with “enhancement in teamwork”, because I found a team that was no doubt confident of what they engaged in, but also about my roles and contribution. As such, throughout the internship it was more of a working environment that boosted confidence while learning on the job. The kind of responsibilities handed down to me were largely indicative of an assurance on the part of the team about my abilities to perform. One can imagine the immense obligation on my part to conform and confirm.

In the end, I can say that my internship with E4Impact Foundation in Uganda was a transformative journey that not only enriched my understanding of the development approaches, but also allowed me to contribute significantly to impactful initiatives. The experiences gained has undoubtedly shaped my future and my approach to international cooperation and development.

Richard Asea