Monthly Archives: December 2017

Summer Series: Michael Johnson ’18 and the Millennium Challenge Corporation

By: Michael R. Johnson ’18

Michael R. Johnson ’18 was an intern at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) under the Department of Compact Operations on the Data Collaboratives for Local Impact (DCLI) Team. The MCC is an innovative, independent U.S. aid agency that is helping lead the fight against global poverty. Since 2004 the MCC has partnered with countries committed to good governance, economic freedom and citizen investments to identify priorities for achieving sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction.

DCLI is the MCC’s partnership with the President’s Emergency Action Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) that aims to support innovative and country-led approaches that promote evidence-based decision making for program and policies that address HIV/AIDS, global health, gender equality and economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa. Data Collaboratives projects are strengthening the availability and use of data to improve lives and empower citizens to hold governments and donors more accountable for results.

As an intern, Michael provided support to the DCLI team in the Washington, DC office as well as project managers in Tanzania. A focus of his internship was aiding the replication of the Tanzanian program into Cote d’Ivoire through stakeholder mapping, root problem analysis, data ecosystem assessment, program logic creation and contributing to project development. Michael also handled the logistics of the MCC’s participation in the biennial African Open Data Conference involving programmatic formation and speaker outreach as well as leading the social media campaign and conducting post-session engagement analytics.

The MCC is very supportive of interns getting familiar with different departments, the processes of country investment as well as external partner organizations and events for exposure and networking opportunities around the capital. “The internship experience and living in DC for the summer has been constructive and pleasurable,” says Michael, “I can’t wait to go back to interact with my new colleagues and friends.”  Michael will be staying on with the MCC virtually through the end of the year.

 

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Summer Series: French Language Study

By: Erika Cox

Five IPED students spent the summer of 2017 learning French. Our resident Arrupe Fellows, Owen Fitzgerald and Therese “Tess” Hart, as well as Language Immersion Study Award (LISA) recipients Erika Cox, Margaret “Maggie” Hutchison and Sydney Kornegay attended Alliance Française to partake in a summer long language and cultural immersion.

Aside from offering 3 ½ hour, Monday through Friday intensive courses, Alliance Française provides various cultural and leisure activities to complete the immersion experience. Class sizes are small and the instructors are engaging, great at answering questions and conscious about allowing students to practice their speaking and listening skills. Students also take advantage of home stay services with a French family, ensuring immersion continues at home. To top it off, not only does Alliance Française have schools throughout France, but all over the world, so students can continue their studies regardless of geographic location.

When asked of her experience in Montpellier, Maggie Hutchison said, “There is a lot going on every day with festivals, night life, beaches and hiking opportunities nearby, shopping and many young people.” Yet, all this fun must be navigated in French, “because even the simplest of things like grocery shopping or traveling force you to practice your French skills.”

The cultural and language immersion is also a great way to network with international development professionals and maybe even catch up with old friends. France is incredibly diverse and opportunities abound to interact with people from all over the world. Arrupe Fellow Owen Fitzgerald, who served in Peace Corps Mali and has been playing the drums most of his life, even got to have a reunion concert with his band from Ghana. Miraculously, almost all of the band members happened to be in France for Bastille Day, a national holiday in France.

So, take the plunge and consider learning French with IPED. The summer immersion experience with Alliance Française offers a wealth of learning experiences for all levels. The courses are intensive and the opportunities for immersion are boundless. And while learning a new language isn’t always easy, the group always made sure to have fun while they were at it.

 

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Filed under Career, Community & Culture, IPED Fellowships, Trips

Armand Aquino ’17 with Catholic Relief Services in Senegal

By: Armand Aquino ’17

Armand inside Phare des Mamelles, the highest point in Dakar and the second most important lighthouse in Africa, after Cape Town’s lighthouse.

Last May 9-12, I participated in Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) first ProPack I training in French in Dakar, Senegal. ProPack I (or Project Package I) is one of CRS’ manuals on project design for CRS project and program managers. The training gathered more than 30 CRS staff from the West Africa and Central Africa country offices including Burkina Faso (where I currently serve as a Fordham Intern), Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Mali, Niger, Rwanda, and Senegal, among others.

Fresh off the press. Armand with the French copy of CRS’ ProPack I.

I first came across CRS’ ProPack I in Dr. Schwalbenberg’s Project Design class where I learned the basic concepts of project design including problem tree analysis and the logical frameworks. The training, however, had more concepts added and it made these concepts more “practical” because they fall in a specific process of project design that CRS staff ought to follow. The process of project design itself was the most useful take-away for me, since I tend to jump from one step to another, when in fact, there is a logical flow that could make the work easier. For instance, when given an issue or problem, I tend to start with a problem tree analysis to identify the causes of the problem. However, conceptual frameworks can already do that for you since it has already made the connections between factors and the problem. What one can do then is to use these conceptual frameworks to specify the causes (scope, gravity, etc.) through research and assessment that will then help make the problem tree more “meaty” and easily convertible to a tangible results framework for the project.

ProPack I training in Dakar, Senegal where CRS staff gathered to learn and share experiences in project design.

In addition to the content, the facilitation of the training which used real-life examples and the opportunity to hear from the experience of various CRS staff in project design were enriching; it made the concepts more real and easier to understand. The training was also a great opportunity to continue practicing my French language skills since everything, including lectures, readings, and group work, was conducted in French and to network with some CRS staff in the region. I must admit I had a little difficulty in following some parts of the discussion since I am not yet fluent in the language. But what really helped me prepare for the training was reading the English version of ProPack I in advance so I have the concepts at the back of my head and I do the translation and connection in French as the training goes. Additionally, it was definitely helpful to have some experience in project design that I could bank on during the training (As an intern, I am involved in a couple of project design initiatives for the Burkina Faso country program).

Armand inside Phare des Mamelles, the highest point in Dakar and the second most important lighthouse in Africa, after Cape Town’s lighthouse.

Given the adventurer in me, I also used this opportunity to visit some superlative places in Dakar and get immersed for a bit in its history and culture. I visited the highest point in Dakar and the furthest West tip of the African continent.

When one is in Dakar, one should not miss Île de Gorée, a colorful island with a very dark history because of the slave trade.

I would like to thank CRS West Africa Regional Office and Burkina Faso Country Office for allowing me to participate in the training and Fordham IPED for financing my participation in the training. The training was definitely a good investment as I continue to explore a long-term career in the international development space.

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Summer Series: Angeli Diamante ’18 and the LISA Award

By: Angeli Diamante

Angeli with Cristo de la Concordia. This statue is taller than the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil!

I was awarded a Language Immersion Study Award (LISA) fellowship to study Spanish in Bolivia. With Spanish being one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, learning this language will be an asset in my future career. Living in Cochabamba, Bolivia was different from life in New York City. Life moved at a slower and relaxed pace. And the food was wonderful – I definitely recommend eating their salteñas.

Angeli with the guide in Pico Tunari.

Choosing the Maryknoll language learning program was a great choice. The personalized instruction from the professors helped me become better in my weak areas. It was not only language they imparted. Every week we had an hour-long conference where we learned more about the culture and the state of Bolivia. We also had cultural trips which made me appreciate the country beyond its language and tourist spots.

I had the wonderful opportunity to stay with a very hospitable host family who took great care of me during the entire 6 weeks in Cochabamba. Being surrounded by non-English speakers definitely forced me to improve my communication skills in Spanish.

Angeli with her host family.

LISA is a great opportunity and I urge students to apply for it if they can. Not only do you learn a new language, you experience a different culture as well.

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