Working for MFK is working for change in Kosovo
Even before I started the first year of my MBA program at UC Berkeley Haas, I knew that I wanted to complete my MBA internship in Kosovo. Before I came to Haas I had served with the U.S. Peace Corps in northern Albania for more than two years, and I was sure that after a year of Finance, Accounting, and Operations classes I would be ready to get back to the field and speak some Albanian before I forgot how!
While I had only been to Kosovo for short day trips during my service in Albania, I came across MFK’s portfolio of activities and could tell that the organization was focused on the most salient issues for Kosovo’s development: clean energy, good governance, and women’s empowerment. After dropping my resume (more than once!) and speaking with the MFK team in April, I finished up my classes and was working in Prishtina by late May.
Over the summer, I’ve seen how MFK maximizes its impact by working not only on the fundamental issues that Kosovo faces—promoting good governance, clean energy, and gender equality—but by targeting their intersection. A focus on the relationship between the key constraints for Kosovo’s sustainable development allows MFK to pilot innovative solutions that punch above their weight. Ultimately, MFK’s novel projects will enable the Government of Kosovo to continue creating lasting change throughout the country, using the experience and data obtained from MCC-financed projects.
One of the projects that shows MFK’s commitment to working in the space where Kosovo’s development challenges converge is the Women in Energy Program. Women in Energy is multifaceted, and addresses key issues using several discreet, yet mutually reinforcing, interventions. Through the Scholarship component of Women in Energy, 28 Kosovo women studied energy-related subjects and received specialized degrees in Iowa. The Entrepreneurship component provides grants and technical assistance from MFK to help women create more energy efficient businesses throughout the country, and the Internship program places young women with academic expertise in paid energy-sector positions to help jumpstart their careers in the industry.
Each aspect of the Women in Energy program helps develop human capital in Kosovo, promotes women’s participation in the labor force, and works towards creating an economy that is better aligned with a cleaner, greener future. Other MFK projects are similarly targeted, and I am confident that MFK will establish the best practices and institutional knowledge required for Kosovo to continue on its development trajectory. My experience with MFK in Prishtina has been even more impactful than I could have hoped for, and I’m grateful that I was able to join the team. I’m looking forward to seeing MFK successfully implement the rest of their initiatives and continue their pathbreaking work in Kosovo. Working for MFK really gave me a strong feeling of contributing to positive change in Kosovo.
Ryan Sullivan is an MBA from Berkeley, California, who has interned with the Millennium Foundation Kosovo May – August 2021.