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Kelly Peuquet moved to Lwala in mid-August and will be our M&E Fellow for the next year in cooperation with the Princeton in Africa fellowship program. In this position, her primary role will be working on our M&E team to lead evaluations, support our monitoring process and ensure that our new SIMBA platform is working and fully utilized. In addition, she’ll work with our Kangu partnership, which provides funding for pregnant mothers, with New Vision, our women’s sewing cooperative, and host Lwala visitors at the guesthouse.
We had a the chance to ask her a few questions and would love for you to learn a little more about her.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, approximately 45 minutes southwest of Philadelphia.
Where did you attend college? What did you study?
I attended college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I double-majored in Global Studies and Anthropology.
How did you get involved with PiAf?
I was introduced to the Princeton in Africa fellowship by my coworker – a Princeton University alumnus – in my former job with the National Coalition on Health Care in Washington, DC. After speaking with current and former PiAf fellows, as well as others who were familiar with the program, I decided to apply for the fellowship as a way to gain meaningful field experience in community development.
Why were you interested in working with Lwala Community Alliance?
Lwala Community Alliance presented a unique opportunity for me to combine my strong interests in community development and global public health. I was impressed with the work being done here, and saw an opportunity to both contribute my existing skills and experience, as well as gain new skills and experience.
What’s been most surprising during your first month in Lwala?
While on the surface, this community appears very different from my community in the United States, what has impacted me most so far is my recognition of how our similarities outweigh our differences; in Lwala, as in the United States, people take pride in their culture, their community, and their work, while striving to increase the capacity and opportunity for themselves, their families, and their neighbors to live a happy, healthy, and dignified life.
What are you most looking forward to during this year?
I am looking forward to cultivating new friendships, being challenged and inspired by my coworkers, learning new skills, and developing a deeper understanding of holistic community development in a low-resource setting.
What’s something that any first-time visitor to Lwala should know before arriving?
Learning the basic Dholuo greetings and niceties is a wonderful way to establish rapport with community members!
What are your hopes for your own future? And, how does a year in Lwala play into that?
I am planning to pursue a graduate degree in the near future, and am excited as to how my fellowship year in Lwala will impact and inform my future studies and career path.