Alumni Spotlight: Amadou Cisse

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Amadou Cisse is originally from Mali and is currently enrolled in the Executive MBA program at the University of Maryland; graduating in July 2013. He is the Director of PMO Services for a small federal government consulting firm. He manages over 50 people and mutliple programs dealing with asset management, finance, IT, environment, energy, human resources, and change management for a 55,000 people agency.

Why did you decide to volunteer with Self-Reliant Agriculture in Ecuador?

I have a keen interest for agriculture and development, so I saw this as the perfect opportunity to get to do both. Besides, SRA is doing such great work that I could not miss the opportunity to make a positive difference in the life of others.

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

Our day to day activities consisted of visiting the demonstration farm to understand what made SRA's approach so unique and successful. This was followed by strategy sessions to improve the program, better understand how to quantify the impact of the work, and better describe the financial aspects of program to potential donors.

What made this experience unique and special?

First, it was in Ecuador, a developing country, which can be used as model for the progress they have accomplished thus far in improving the lives of their citizens. Second, it was a great opportunity to do some international development work and be proud of what I could accomplish in such a short time. Third, it was an opportunity to be an ambassador for the Robert H. Smith School of Business and in particular the Center for Social Value Creation.

What made this experience so special is the fact that I came enriched with great experience but also I was able to share my knowledge and expertise with others that wanted to hear what I had to say and appreciated my unique perspective. Finally, it was the people of Ecuador with their warmth and welcoming attitude. Every single family we visited was pleased to see us and offered us food!

How has this experience impacted your future?

This experience has opened my eyes on my ability to work in the international development field. Personally, I have grown in that short time span into a more confident, assertive, and focused individual. I have also realized how fortunate I am and that I need to play a bigger role in humanity. It has also allowed me to realize that there is still a lot of work to do in this world to make it a better place for all. It left hopeful because institution like SRA are dedicated to improve the lives of needy and we need more of that to achieve a eradicate poverty and ensure equality to all.