Barbra Bearden (Kosovo)

Barbra Bearden (Kosova Women’s Network – KWN): Barbra Bearden graduated in 2004 with a BA in Communications from Centenary College of Louisiana. She then worked in non-profit development and external communications; corporate public relations and marketing; and website design. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (Louisiana Chapter), Sigma Tau Delta honors society, and the Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority. At the time of her fellowship, Barbra was pursuing her Masters in International Communications at American University in Washington, DC.

Blog #15

07 Aug

I have not blogged in, what feels like, a very long time. This is, in part, because there is not much exciting news coming out of Kosova in these past few weeks. It is also because I have been very busy trying to finish what I have started before I leave and go back to my life in Washington. When I first signed on to be a field consultant for AP they asked us to write out a time table for our work dictating our priorities over the summer. My main goal was to help KWN re-brand itself; using the principles from the existing organizational identity in a new, more inclusive way. To do this I have created fact sheets, pamphlets, and templates while training the staff on the importance of utilizing these resources in all outside correspondences as a means of capacity building.

Currently, I am chin deep in the re-organization of the KWN website. It is good that this be my final project here. Through my work over the past 2 months I have gained the trust of the ladies at KWN. I think they know that I am invested in them; not just for the duration of my internship, but for the long term. When the English version of the new website is live, I will really feel like I have made a significant contribution to the work here in Kosova because this website is my design and my work. But, I am finding what will be my most sustainable contribution is the training I am doing.

I am training Alba, the part-time public relations person, in website maintenance and how best to utilize the website in her work. She is excited and learning quickly. Alba is a natural at public relations; but, she lacked the mentorship of an experienced professional to guide the progress of her work. I am certainly not that professional, but I have had many mentors in the corporate and non-profit sector; and, what I took from them I am passing to Alba. This training aspect of my internship was what intimidated me the most. I was afraid that I would not be able to teach what I knew and, more significantly, that I did not know much in the first place. I did not want my inexperience to negatively affect KWN or the future job status of my friend. My fears were completely unfounded.

What has surprised me is just how much I do, actually, know and how easy it is to teach to a receptive audience. Alba listens and gives me feedback. She innovates old PR ideas to fit KWN needs and capacity – she works with unflagging dedication to this organization and to making it better for the future. I am confidant that, when I leave, Alba will take the basic principles we worked on and spearhead a new chapter in KWN history. I am also confidant that, after I leave Kosova, I will not be disengaged from KWN. I expect (or perhaps hope) that I will get emails in January about changing something on the website or using the fact sheet templates.

This exchange, after the actual internship ends, is the true genius of AP’s internship program. I am invested in the future of KWN and of Kosova because I have worked 12-hour days. I have sipped wine and talked about human trafficking over dinner, and I have bought into the importance of KWN for the future of Kosova and for peace and conflict resolution worldwide.

Posted By Barbra Bearden (Kosovo)

Posted Aug 7th, 2006

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