Alumni Spotlight: Lindsey Allen

Allen helps a group of Solar Sister entrepreneurs with their surveys following a focus group in rural Tanzania this summer. (Photo by Serena Chan)
Allen helps a group of Solar Sister entrepreneurs with their surveys following a focus group in rural Tanzania this summer. (Photo by Serena Chan)

by Daria Etezadi

Lindsey Allen, a senior at Santa Clara University in California, left the Morocco journalism program less than a year ago and already she’s determined to return to this country in North Africa.

Allen is applying for a Fulbright Fellowship in Morocco to work with social enterprises, similar to work  she did with an NGO in Uganda and Tanzania, providing women with economic opportunities to sell clean energy products to their friends and neighbors.

“It (the Morocco journalism program) really prepared me to expect the unexpected when you’re working in developing, emerging countries,” she said.

Through her work with the NGO, Solar Sister, Allen spent two months from June to August 2015 travelling between 15 villages orchestrating 12 to 13 focus groups about effective entrepreneurial strategies, distributing 60 surveys, and conducting 10 to 15 one-on-one interviews with women involved in the enterprise.

“Working with such an experienced solar enterprise really gave me the desire to work with a younger entrepreneurial ecosystem and Morocco is really at that stage where social entrepreneurship is emerging but needs a lot more cultivation and research to be done to help it grow,” she said.

Allen arrived in Rabat in the fall of 2014 with two years of Arabic and some French under her belt. In Morocco she reported on the treatment and stigmatization of leprosy amongst Moroccan patients and their families. During her stay, she attended a symposium on leprosy and human rights, where she engaged with international executives and locals.

“My story came to life there,” Allen said.

Eventually, Allen hopes to earn a Master’s in international development studies and a law degree to work in policymaking.  She said SIT Morocco coalesced her interests, motivating her to pursue research in developing countries, and that’s how she ended up in Tanzania and Uganda.

“It was cool to have the opportunity to see [multiple] cultures and engage [them] in a meaningful way, and that’s one of the reasons I’ve become so enamored with social entrepreneurship and working in development economics,” Allen said.

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