the last of their finals behind them and several months of
warm weather ahead, many Kellogg School students spend their
summer internships honing their management skills by working
with top firms who offer a chance to put classroom lessons
Youn '06 spent his internship working with AIDS patients
in South Africa.
by the Innovating Social Change Conference in fall 2004 and
supported by the Kellogg School Center
for Nonprofit Management, the second-year student turned
his desire to help people into a viable business plan last
important lesson gleaned from his time in South Africa, he
says, is to not underestimate the strength and resolve of
the very poor. Though the prognosis was bleak for every one
of those AIDS patients, their communities came together generously
people can help themselves, but they need tools — very
simple tools that are easy to provide. In this case, the tool
was simple organization." Youn and his team organized
local doctors, volunteers and training programs designed to
teach the patients how to live independently while managing
lot of people don't understand how markets play a role in
helping the poor," Youn says, though his definition of
"markets" may not be quite what many aspiring entrepreneurs
have in mind. "It's not like people need money so they
can buy a car. They need money to buy food."
points out that while many agencies have their hearts in the
right place, they often devote too many resources to quick
fixes and not enough to long-term solutions. And, he says,
"most programs don't work with people that poor."
next project, the One Acre Fund, is currently underway. Based
on a business plan he developed with other students in a New
Ventures class at Kellogg, the pilot program is designed
to teach Kenya's poorest residents — many are farmers— to manage their land more effectively. Youn
contends that a loan of just $150 can give a family of six
the necessary tools to pull themselves permanently out of
tools are not elaborate, but they promise to be effective:
The fund provides 30 participating families with professional
seed and fertilizer, a series of instructional sessions and
access to markets where the farmers can sell their crops.
really the ultimate service, Youn says. "It is understanding
their needs so you can help them live. It's very humbling."