by: Dia Sharaf ’19

My work this summer was with the Economic Recovery and Development (ERD) unit at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) Headquarters in NYC.  The ERD unit works to ensure that IRC’s beneficiaries, people whose livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster, have their most basic survival needs met and have the combination of assets and income to prosper, in IRC’s effort to enable them to survive, recover, and gain control of their future.

During my time with IRC, I have gained valuable insights to the ERD unit’s work in supporting people’s economic wellbeing by implementing evidence-based programming and approaches. Among the interesting projects that I was exposed to are IRC’s Cash Relief programming, one of the fastest growing evidence-based interventions in the humanitarian sector, their Food Security projects, the Client Centric Bundled Services, the Women’s Economic Empowerment, and IRC’s Market-Based and Market-Strengthening Approaches.

By being the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Intern, and by working directly with the Digital Data Manager, Elizbeth Parr (IPED ’17), my main role was the development of resources and digital data collection tools to support IRC’s work in the field. Specifically, I have assisted in building IRC’s resources library for CommCare, a digital platform designed for data collection, client management, decision support, and behavior change communication. I have edited and maintained surveys and case management applications for different country program including Somalia, Iraq, Chad, Uganda, and Thailand. Moreover, I was tasked with the creation of a live data analysis and visualization “Power BI” dashboard for IRC’s Livelihoods Center in Iraq. I also had the chance to have many informational interviews with different people in the organization to chat about their past experiences, their current work, and their professional journey.

This was a great opportunity for me to gain first-hand experience working in the humanitarian sector, while learning about the different aspects of IRC’s work, ERD unit’s programming, and the work of the technical unit. I had the opportunity to get involved with an inspiring organization and to put what I have learned in IPED into practice. Overall, I have gained valuable M&E technical skills while working on digital platforms such as CommCare, KoBo Toolbox, and Power BI; I have developed my knowledge management and content development skills; and most importantly, I have had the chance to work with experienced and inspiring people in the field that I am most interested in.