Acara Challenge

Acara works with organizations to find meaningful internships for students both domestic and abroad. Interns receive regular mentoring, valuable experience and professional feedback from Acara staff and partner organizations.

Past Internships:


Padee Yang and Megan Dumas – Isis WICCE

Isis-WICCE (Women’s International Cross-Cultural Exchange) is named after Isis, the Egyptian goddess of creativity, knowledge, and wisdom. Their mission is to ignite women’s leadership, amplify their voices, and deepen their activism in recreating peace internationally. They seek to restore hope and renews the spirits of conflict-affected women by documenting women’s realities. They advocate for gender-responsive policies and programs by strengthening women’s leadership skills and building networks for women’s substantive participation in local, national, and regional peace and post-conflict recovery processes.

Megan and Padee managed Isis-WICCE’s social media account, assessed past research and current interventions to bring new insights, and assisted them in digitalizing past research.


Kaylea Brase – Tern Up/Akvo/Caddisfly

Caddisfly is a simple, low cost, open source, smartphone-based drinking water testing system connected to an online data platform. Existing features of the phone combine with software apps and pocket-sized hardware attachments, to conduct reliable tests on water samples and then share this data with the people who need to see it.

Kaylea is working on developing a test for contaminants such as arsenic, alongside her own project on testing a hand-cranked water filter prototype.

Brady Steigauf – Public Affairs Centre (PAC)

The focus of PAC is primarily in areas where citizens and civil society organizations can play a proactive role in improving governance. In this regard, PAC undertakes and supports research, disseminates research findings, facilitates collective citizen action through awareness raising and capacity building activities, and provides advisory services to state and non-state agencies.

At PAC, Brady is engaged in developing a Better Cities Index, and also contributes to writing blogs for the organization.


Erin Kayser – Last Forest Enterprises

Last Forest aims to help small and indigenous farmers and growers through the marketing and sale of value added organic produce, ensuring biodiversity and food security, and the preservation of indigenous knowledge and sustainable farming practices.

Erin’s project focused on gathering information on local honey varietals, and aggregating information for a comprehensive information portal. This involved secondary research, networking with partnering organizations, and primary research through onsite interviews.

Anna Schulte – Swasti

Swasti is a health resource centre with a focus on achieving public health outcomes for those who are socially excluded and poor.

Anna’s internship focused on studying the viability and sustainability of Community Water Purification Plants (CWPs), by observing the operations of Swasti’s water plant, and also through secondary research. She also developed financial models, including scenario analysis and monetization.

Robin Walz – SELCO

SELCO provides sustainable energy solutions and services to underserved households and businesses. The organization  aims to empower its customer by providing a complete package of product, service and consumer financing through banks, cooperative societies, commercial banks and microfinance institutions.

Robin’s main project was to assess and identify ways in which SELCO could improve the access to quality healthcare in remote areas of India. This project involved studying in depth how the healthcare system works, in terms of staff, infrastructure, services, and needs.

Anmol Jaguste – Swasth

Swasth has a track record of working in various aspects of healthcare – technology, delivery of services, financial systems and public health. The organization believes in building sustainable health systems with focus on customer satisfaction and quality.

At Swasth, Anmol was involved in reviewing patient care process, from the time the patient enters the clinic to the time she receives care. This was to improve efficiencies and reduce wait time.


Hunter Dunbar, Abbey Seitz and Alex Feeken – Waste Ventures India

Waste Ventures India averts up to 90% of waste from dumpsites and produces nutrient-rich organic compost. The organization provides urban waste management, recycling pickup and processing, and consulting and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) services

During their internship, our three students closely studied waste management and composting business models, and interviewed a number of stakeholders across the country to build a comprehensive sector-specific landscape report.

Jaime Strandemo – MyRain

MyRain aims to build an efficient distribution network to distribute agriculture products and hardware to the peoples of southern India.

Jaime worked as a water resource engineer with MyRain, and created a micro-irrigation mobile app. The design process involved field research, product testing, and product research.

Gareth Westler – Technology Informatics Design Endeavour (TIDE)

TIDE focuses on promoting sustainable development through technological interventions. The organization aims at being a link between the research in various research institutions and the need of the community.

Gareth’s internship focused on conducting market research on produce pricing and sale trends, and certifications with regard to processed produce sale. In addition, he helped with setting up a solar and biomass drying centre, and donated a solar dryer to TIDE.


John Reinhart – Green Power Systems (GPS Renewables)

GPS Renewables is a waste-to-energy technology company that is pioneering the development of clean and low-cost technology for waste management solutions.

John worked with GPS Renewables in waste management, interspersing his own idea developed in an Acara class with on-ground operations, and the realities of running a business on the ground.