Michelle Nyaga

Michelle is a graduate student from Nairobi, Kenya pursuing a Master of International Affairs degree in Economic and Political Development. From a young age, she has been interested in development and the reduction of poverty which is far too often seen in Africa. She studied International Business Administration at the United States International University – Africa and graduated with Magna Cum Laude Honors. Prior to moving to New York, Michelle worked with the Nairobi County Government which is responsible for providing public services to its residents. She has also worked at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, and RTI International, whose work scope enhances international development in different ways. After SIPA, Michelle hopes to bring her experience to find innovative, region-specific solutions that address the challenges that face Africa. After returning from her fellowship, Michelle discussed her fellowship with AP and the impact it had on her. "I was fortunate enough to have spent this summer immersed in development work alongside a community-based organization of bright and enthusiastic development practitioners who not only offered their support but also share similar goals and aspirations as myself. I have built lifelong connections, bonds and memories with not only members of the Advocacy Project and other Peace Fellows, but the incredible people I met in Nepal and the staff at Backward Society Education (BASE). I am forever grateful to AP for this experience!"

My Pre-Departure Journey To Nepal…NAMASTE

07 Jun


Do not think I forgot about the blog, only at this time I have no news to tell. The countdown continues its march. At this moment, I am uncertain of when my adventure will begin but allow me to present my upcoming fellowship with the Advocacy Project (AP). The Advocacy Project aims to “help marginalized communities to tell their stories, strengthen their organizations, take action, and mobilize new support.” And in less than two weeks, I hope to be departing for Nepal to support a community-based organization known as Backward Society Education (BASE) and help their campaign in fighting the practice of domestic slavery of young girls known as Kamlaris.

The program I intend to participate in, for which I hope to travel to Dang district in western Nepal, is with BASE. BASE is committed to “building an equitable, peaceful and advanced society in Nepal through advocacy, socio-economic development, human resource and institutional development, cultural, environmental and human rights protection and preservation.” I decided to participate in this program for two main reasons: it will give me an opportunity to apply the critical thinking skills I have acquired through formal instruction in a real-world setting, and it also will give me an opportunity to engage with young Nepalese girls and hear their stories. As an added bonus, I will be able to visit a different part of the world and diversify my experience outside of the African context.

While in Nepal, I will tell the stories of a couple girls who have been freed from slavery and give them a platform to air their less privileged voices. I will support the host organization (BASE) in the four main ways AP builds capacity. That is through telling the story, strengthening organizations, taking action while producing change and through mobilizing support. It is going to be a fast-paced fellowship, but I am confident that after the rigorous week of skill building and training by AP at Georgetown University, Washington, DC, I have the necessary tools to keep up with and adapt to the different environments I will be experiencing.

Perhaps the greatest day-to-day challenge will, in fact, be the environment. Monsoon season is coming! It is summer time in Nepal right now, but it is also the rainy season. Kathmandu will be warm, but most of the other cities we travel to will likely be cool and wet due to their high elevation. I will be staying in Dang for the majority of my journey, with a couple of weeks being spent in Kathmandu. Layered clothing, rain gear, and hydration will be essential!

I hope you’ll join me on this journey by following along with my latest blog! I plan to post at least once a week over the course of 10 weeks, but I will of course have to work out all of the details once I’m on the ground in Nepal – Wi-Fi availability and our travel schedule may vary.

This blog is intended to be both a catalog of my adventures as well as a critical analysis of the places and peoples I will come into contact with. I will explore cultural confluence – be that between myself and modern Nepalese people – through personal encounters and observations in the classroom and on-site in Dang, Nepal.

Thank you very much for reading and please stay tuned for more!

Posted By Michelle Nyaga

Posted Jun 7th, 2018


  • Ali West

    June 7, 2018


    I am so excited to hear more about your upcoming journey in Dang, Nepal! Safe traveling!

  • asava

    June 7, 2018


    all the best Michelle. you are very hardworking.

  • Princia Vas

    June 7, 2018


    Looking forward to follow your journey in making a positive impact in Nepal!

  • Lindsey Killett

    June 7, 2018


    Safe travels and have fun! See you in Nepal!!

  • Colleen Denny

    June 7, 2018


    Good luck Michelle, sending positive vibes from your hometown of Nairobi!

  • Kariuki Ksmau

    June 8, 2018


    Proud of you Michelle, carry on with the passion and touch a Nepal’s girl life..
    Looking forward to your first blog from Nepal.. Success!!

  • Samantha Givens

    June 8, 2018


    I can’t wait to read more and follow along your journey! Thanks for the post!

  • Karen

    June 13, 2018


    Thank you for introducing the work to your readers Michelle – very well done! You will indeed face challenges like the weather, travel and connectivity, but we are confident you will make it work. It was great getting to know you at training, and seeing your learn various skills that you can bring to BASE. I am looking forward to reading more about your upcoming journey and learning more about the Kalmaris through your blogs. All the best from DC.

  • Corinne Cummings

    June 20, 2018


    Hi, Michelle. I am one of AP’s new interns. It’s a pleasure to meet you via your blog post. Your introduction to this blog post was helpful; it was a good overview of AP. I am thoroughly interested in the work you are hoping to do over in Dang, Nepal. I have a passion for fighting female sex trafficking/slavery, so if I may be of any service to you through research or any other such tasks–I would be happy to help out. I appreciate your active interests and efforts in combating this issue; we need more individuals to join in on eradicating sex slavery as much as humanly possible. Hopefully, we can be in touch soon. Thank you for your posting. I look foward to more! Best of luck during your ten weeks in Nepal, Corinne.

  • iain

    July 13, 2018


    All I can say, Michelle, is that it was great to have you at training, and you have handled this uncertainty very well. You have a warm and very effective host waiting for you in Nepal and will do a great job!

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