As a way to promote the incredible work our Host Organizations are doing and to spread the word of the substantial impact Atlas Corps Fellows has on their teams, we are sharing a short feature on Philanthropy University and its experience with Atlas Corps, and its Fellow, Sunga Kufeyani (Malawi, Class 34).

Host Organization: Philanthropy University

Philanthropy University is an online learning platform that trains, connects and funds local social impact organizations in under-resourced communities. Philanthropy University has served over 300,000 users from more than 180 countries. Named from the word Philanthropos meaning love of humanity, Philanthropy U was founded by the Al-Dabbagh Group in 2015.

Fellow: Sunga Kufeyani (Malawi, Class 34)

At Atlas Corps, we have a tradition of stating our “Five Facts” when introducing ourselves to new people. What are your five facts?

Name: Sunga Kufeyani

Hometown: Lilongwe, Malawi

Role at Organization: Volunteer Program Coordinator

Social Issue/Interest Area: Human Rights, Women & Education Empowerment for Marginalized Communities, Democratization in Malawi

Fun fact: I have old woman hobbies like knitting and sewing and I really enjoy them.

What is your role at your Host Organization?

I work as Program Coordinator, I manage the Course Ambassador Program which works with our volunteer facilitators who support our learners by encouraging peer to peer learning and connections on the platform. My role involves creating structures within the program to make sure it is beneficial for both my organization and the Course ambassadors. I also serve as a bridge between the CA’s and the product team by providing critical feedback from the Course Ambassadors who are also our experienced learners to our product team.

How has your experience with your Host Organization impacted your perspective? What has the organization taught you?

My host organization is a new but fast growing tech non profit which means there are a lot of moving pieces and changes. I have learnt that change isn’t a bad thing and that we need the changes to happen to grow. So we will fail but we will try again until we figure out how to get a good product.
I am learning virtual training program creation which will go a long way in my professional growth especially in this day and age where people live and access information behind the screen. My host organization has taught me how to have fun while achieving results. We have wellness reflection break, tea and trivia break and a hammock, but we also have teams visibility in the work we are doing. We are committed to capacity building for local organization in the global south and we are constantly seeking feedback from the organizations to make sure we are providing something that is useful to them and not imposing what we think will be useful to them. I have learned the importance of always engaging your stakeholders in product creation, management and scale.

How has your experience with your supervisor impacted your perspective? What has your supervisor taught you?

My supervisor has been and is so instrumental to my success at my host organization. If you get a chance to meet her or talk to her you will realize that she is multitalented (she really has done a lot of things within the org and outside, she is goals) She is also, very open-minded and always seeks feedback on how to be a better manager. On the work front, she has taught me a lot about Project Management and Problem Scoping. She loves well-written project charters and that has improved my presentation, organizational skills as well as critical thinking abilities. She has supported my creativity and supported my decisions to test some structures in my program and see how they work. Kamilla has taught me the importance of seeing the whole person. She cares a lot about me as a person as she believes that affects the work that I do. She usually asks “ What does Sunga need?” She cares about my professional growth and supports my personal development outside my current role, I am very lucky to have had an opportunity to learn from such a smart, talented, passionate and open-minded supervisor and looking forward to learning from her during my remaining months with her and my team.

How will you build upon the skills and knowledge gained during your Fellowship once you return to your home country? How will your experience in the United States help you pursue your goals in the future?

I have learned just how important it is to work in a field that you are passionate about. Working at my organization I have had the chance to meet different community leaders from different countries doing amazing work in their communities and this has really pushed me to better myself as a leader and just pursue the goals that will not only change my life but also my communities. I have learned the importance of building alignment within the team to achieve the goal of an organization. Working in non profits passion trumps pay but alignment on the end goal is very important. Empowering your team to own their workstream and create with it makes for a successful organization. I am very excited for whatever adventure lies ahead of me but I have a clear vision of what I want to do next and how that will contribute to the success of my work in my country and beyond. I have also made amazing partnerships that will go along way.

Fellow Supervisor: Kamilla Sakkijha

At Atlas Corps, we have a tradition of stating our “Five Facts” when introducing ourselves to new people. What are your five facts?

Name: Kamilla Sakkijha

Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona

Role at Organization: Senior Manager, Product Operations & Growth

Social Issue/Interest Area: Data for Good, Products for Impact

Fun fact: I consider myself a life-long learner! Growing and learning, especially with peers and mentors, brings me a lot of energy and inspiration.

Why did you decide to host an Atlas Corps Fellow?
At Philanthropy University we pride ourselves on building and growing a diverse team. The Atlas program catalyzes our ability to work with world-class talent from around the globe and push our creative boundaries to grow our impact. The Atlas Corps program invests a lot of time and energy in their fellows to ensure that the opportunities at the Host org are aligned with their professional growth goals, that is awesome.

Why did you choose your Fellow?

If you ever have a chance to meet Sunga you will understand why we chose her! More specifically, we chose to host Sunga because of her unique professional and educational background. We were looking for a fellow that could grow a critical program that is part of our operations strategy and recognized that because the program is so early in its lifecycle, we needed to choose a seasoned professional. Sunga’s background building and implementing programs for a global audience was the perfect fit and personally she brings so much energy and fun into work. She was our top choice and we are lucky to have her talents in-house.

How has your Fellow contributed to your team? How has his or her presence had an impact on your team’s dynamic?

Sunga’s contributions to the team are monumental—her energy, perspectives, dedication, and insights have inspired growth at every level of our org. Sunga has built cross-functional workflows, ignited our daily lives with joy and humor, and has pushed our strategic thinking and programming to be more aligned with local leaders across the world.

How will your Fellow’s contributions and insights impact your organization in the long run?

Sunga has done an outstanding job growing a flagship program into a dynamic, scalable strategy that will help drive our ability to serve more people around the world—and we still have 6 months to go! Sunga has cultivated relationships through the program that have provided critical product/program feedback; she has built program content that is driving our ability to scale it to more learners; and in general embodies our values in a way that inspires new team members to jump into and get started with their priorities/goals. In a short time, Sunga has proven herself as a foundational member of the team, her legacy has not only set a very high standard of performance, it will influence the way the organization and product grow for years to come.

What has your Fellow taught you? Have you learned anything special about their culture?

Sunga has taught me so much, as a colleague, manager, and as a friend. We have learned together how to balance the vision of the program with feedback from participants, how to think about scale and impact of our efforts, and how to grow the program in small increments that allow for deeper impact. As a manager Sunga has pushed me to grow my communication skills, has worked with me to improve our program strategy, and has pushed our product development priorities to be more aligned with our audience. As a friend we have shared many laughs, treats, and discussions about everything from animals to human rights and justice. I’ve learned that Malawi has the best hot sauce in the world, has many beautiful landscapes, and has one of the most diverse lakes in the world. I can’t wait to visit Malawi and learn so much more…. Zikomo, Sunga!

More about Atlas Corps

Atlas Corps partners with mission-driven organizations (nonprofit, private, and government) to facilitate a professional exchange program for the world’s best emerging social change leaders to live and serve in the United States for a 12-month Fellowship. The Atlas Corps network currently includes more than 750 professionals from 95 countries who have served at 300 organizations.

Interested in becoming a Host Organization for an Atlas Corps Fellow? Fill out Host Interest Form.