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A non-accountant learning accounting: how I challenged myself at CUAMM

My name is Giulia and I am a second-year student of the HRG Master. At present, I am carrying on a 6-month administrative internship at CUAMM - Doctors with Africa. In detail, I am a supporting figure of the Administrative Desk for the countries of Uganda and the Central African Republic (RCA).

Some background information about the organization. CUAMM is a Padova based NGO founded in 1950. It is the first recognised Italian NGO operating in the health field and the biggest one. CUAMM carries out long-term projects with a perspective on development. To this end, it delivers training sessions for human resources both in Italy and in Africa. Currently, the organization operates in 7 countries: Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique, South Sudan, Uganda, RCA and Tanzania. Its mission is to improve the state of health in Africa and promote a positive attitude of solidarity on the same continent.

CUAMM in Africa. Taken from: on 16th March 2022.

I first knew CUAMM in September 2020 when, after moving to Padua, I started looking for an NGO to volunteer with. The organization immediately fascinated me for its solid presence and unstoppable activity on the national and international scene, as well as for its commitment to public health. Therefore, when a few months ago I was offered an internship in the administrative area, I was thrilled and I immediately accepted the position. Notwithstanding my enthusiasm, I had to face various challenges as accounting and administration were not my area of expertise.

Above all, thanks to this internship, I have reevaluated the importance of the Right to Health. Indeed, a feature of the RCA that immidiateley impressed me is the presence of only one pediatric hospital in the whole Country. This means that every year out of 1000 children born alive, there are 85 who do not survive to their birth. Likewise is the situation of pregnant mothers, who unfortunately lose their lives giving birth to their babies. Without any doubt, obtaining such specific and tangible information on the RCA was the aspect that most made me realize how crucial it is to have free and good quality health facilities. In fact, when you receive services free of charge, like health care in Italy, you often underestimate their true value. Within this lacking scenario in the RCA, CUAMM has managed to establish operational bases and free training for medical and nursing staff, so that the local population can respond to health issues and save as many lives as possible in a fast and efficient way.

CUAMM field work. Taken from on 16th March 2022.

Regarding my internship journey, I certainly have to thank my very patient tutor who tirelessly explains to me how to navigate the administrative area. Although the difficulties were different, I took this opportunity as a personal challenge to gain new skills and knowledge. In this way, one of the lessons I learned was not to beat yourself up at the first difficulty but to strive every day to learn new things, even if not in your core competencies. To conclude, one piece of advice I would give to my colleagues is to start having diverse experiences in the field as soon as possible: they enrich our knowledge and make us understand which is our dream job. Also, always challenge yourself and overcome your limitations. Be brave!

Written by: Giulia Meco Edited by: Giulia Rosina Photo courtesy of Giulia Meco


Giulia Meco is a 2nd-year HRG student passionate about human health, refugee law and migration. She holds a BA in Political Science and International Relations at the University of Macerata and she completed her bachelor studies in Lyon, France. Follow Giulia on her social media accounts: on LinkedIn and on Instagram @senticomepiove.

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