Conversation with a field representative with a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Central Asia. He works with office finances and project management and design. He hosted three GBI interns from Kansas State University for roughly six weeks in summer 2012.
What specifically did your GBI interns do?
The team and I worked on the design of a drinking water distribution system for a small village. We also inspected distribution systems that had previously been built. The interns also developed a prototype irrigation pump and spent several weeks testing the pump.
What kind of value did the GBI team bring to your company?
The GBI team had a great impact on our work. They were able to contribute to our project work in significant ways, which increased the quality of our projects and lessened the burden of our office. They also validated our work by the integrity of their witness. They provided us with a reason to revisit villages we had worked in years before, allowing us to deepen our relationships in those villages.
The team was also able to make a significant impact on the local community. They were faithful in meeting new peers and developing relationships with them. They encouraged several locals in their Walk and were able to share with multiple people through a translator. At least one of their friends has shown interest in knowing more.
Was the GBI team prepared to hit the ground running to be of immediate help to you?
The GBI team sought to help out as much as possible as soon as they arrived.
How did your company handle the mentoring requirement of the GBI team experience?
We tried to balance our time with the team between working together with them, sending them out to work on their own and having time to debrief with them.
Were there high points of the GBI team relationship?
A high point for me was their encouragement and willingness to work hard even when the results were unseen. This past year, I was able to install four pumps in villages I had previously worked in. This led to opportunities to share and develop new relationships. These pumps were the same pumps the GBI team and I worked on. The team’s work has helped develop another means of meeting the physical needs of people and gaining access into their lives.
Would you recommend GBI to another business? Why?
I would highly recommend a GBI team to another business. The interns are well trained and able to quickly add value to a business. The younger generation coming through GBI has great skills, which will benefit any business platform. It is also vital for us, as platform managers, to encourage and foster the growth of another generation of people who are able to integrate what they believe with their work.
What would you say to a company doing a cost/benefit analysis before recruiting GBI interns?
I would say the cost of having a GBI team was minimal. My teammates and I invested time in the GBI team but it was well worth it. The benefits of having the team were great. They were able to reach out to people we would never be able to meet. They also added greatly to the development of our project work and allowed us to get to areas much quicker than we could have on our own.