Sandra Gaballa

Sandra Gaballa YLIP Intern

Photo: Sandra Gaballa at centre right


To say that my CBA YLIP internship has been an invaluable learning experience would be an understatement. At Katiba Institute, I have been able to work on a large swath of public interest litigation matters related to the implementation of Kenya’s 2010 Constitution. This included researching caselaw supporting a constitutional challenge of colonial-era “sodomy” laws, conducting a comparative analysis of electoral gender quotas, and drafting memos on both the land rights of indigenous forest-dwellers and the housing rights of informal settlement residents.

My CBA internship has been enriching on a number of levels, and I am sure this experience will stay with me for many years to come. 

The KI team has made a concerted effort to involve me in all the different kinds of work they do – from protests and conferences to pleading before the Supreme Court, to all the research and drafting in between. I have especially enjoyed the opportunity to sit in on and participate in strategy meetings with such an outstanding group of litigators in constitutional law. 

On a more personal note, my colleagues have also taught me about Kenya’s literary legends and its many different ethnic groups. Thanks to their guidance, I have developed a modest repertoire of Swahili vocabulary and slang (Sheng), as well as an immodest dependence on Kenyan tea with ginger (chai ya tangawizi) and cheap, ripe avocados.

Outside of the office, I have seized the opportunity to go on hikes and game drives, and to photograph furiously while doing so. The natural beauty of Kenya is hard to overstate – the hills, the jacaranda trees, and the galloping impalas combine to create a truly breathtaking tapestry. Nairobi itself is fascinating in its contradictions—a blend of colonial architecture and post-Independence modernist style, green space and skyscrapers. I will certainly miss Nairobi—to say nothing of the roadside sugar cane vendors.