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Q & A with Michaela Mhlanga: Project Management Intern at The Trust

Michaela Mhlanga with Mrs Graça Machel at the Kenya election outcome dialogue in Johannesburg, South Africa

In September 2017, The Southern Africa Trust (The Trust), opened its doors to a group of seven vibrant interns. The internship program at The Trust is an integral part of our organisation. It’s aimed at capacitating young professionals with skills and experience in the workplace.

Interns at The Trust are given the opportunity to learn through hands on experience and add value by sharing ideas and suggestions across different departments at The Trust. These include:

  • Finance, accounting and procurement;
  • Communications, marketing, branding and digital technologies;
  • Business development;
  • Property management;
  • Policy research;
  • Programmes and project management, including grant management as well as monitoring and evaluation.

Michaela Mhlanga is a Programmes Management Intern at The Trust and an International Relations graduate from the University of Pretoria in South Africa. She works in the programmes department and has an interest in the private sector, migration and youth empowerment.

Michaela shares her understanding of The Trust, her experience and plans for the future:

How would you describe the work of The Trust?
The Southern Africa Trust is a non-profit organisation which aims to eradicate poverty and inequality in the southern Africa region. The organisation helps give a voice to people who want to bring about change by capacitating civil society organisations with the necessary skills required to reach their full potential in line with their work. In doing so, The Trust creates mechanisms such as dialogues where civil society organisations and private sectors can come together and create networks.

What skills have you acquired since joining The Trust?
I have learned basic skills in report writing, interpreting policy papers and project management.

Some tasks can be daunting, especially when you are doing them for the first time. How has The Trust supported you in managing pressure in this regard?
I believe the pressure within the organisation is healthy. We are encouraged to produce quality work and can always ask for assistance and clarity where need be. There is an open-door policy and our managers are approachable.

Is there a work-related highlight that you can share?
Meeting our partners and donors is one of my highlights. I also had the opportunity to coordinate a dialogue on the Kenya election outcome in October 2017 with the supervision of my mentor, Marlon Zakeyo, who is the Executive Manager for policy, research and programmes. Meeting Mrs Graça Machel at the Kenya election outcome dialogue and hearing Mrs Machel speak is another highlight.

What does the future hold for Michaela?
I see myself one day heading a programme in the private sector. I am currently studying Business Management. In the foreseeable future I would like to use my experiences from The Trust and the non-profit organisation sector in achieving this.

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