Tag Archives: Catholic Relief Services

Philippines Project Assessment Program 2018

By: Sarah Garwood ’19

This January, 11 Fordham IPED graduate students and one Economics undergraduate student participated in the Philippines Project Assessment Program. At Ateneo de Manila University, students engaged in coursework on project monitoring and evaluation and Filipino culture. The program also included a four day immersion, where students conducted project evaluations of local Marine Protected Areas and affiliated projects in the La Union province, in the north of the Philippines.

Soccer matches and ultimate frisbee kept this group moving and bonding!

Dr. Ang (front right), a professor at Ateneo University, taught the group Filipino Economics.

IPED students exploring Katipunan Avenue, outside of Ateneo University.

Alumni of the Fordham IPED program gathered with current students for an Alumni lunch. Some alumni work at various NGOs, such as Catholic Relief Services and UNICEF, in the Philippines and others work at Ateneo University.

IPED students past and present gather for a meal.

The IPED community enjoyed Filipino dishes at the rooftop alumni lunch.

Students explored the Philippines and its rich history through various cultural trips. Because of its strategic location, Corregidor Island has been important in the defense of the Manila Bay and seaport for centuries. Today the uninhabited island is full of World War II ruins and memorials, commemorating the Filipino, American, and Japanese soldiers who died there.

IPED students at Corregidor Island.

Students learning about Filipino history at the Filipino War Memorial Wall.

Intramuros is a historical, Spanish colonial area walled-off inside the capitol city of Manila. The students explored Fort Santiago, where there is a shrine to national hero Dr. Jose Rizal. They also visited a functioning Augustinian monastery.

IPED students at Fort Santiago.

IPED students near the Pasig River.

Students engaged in a four-day project assessment of various Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the La Union province. In teams of three, they conducted interviews and focus group discussions in various barangays, or villages. One group assessed an affiliated project, the Luto ti Poro catering service managed by the Poro Sea Lovers Association (PSLA). The immersion was facilitated by the Institute for Social Order (ISO) and the Ateneo Office for Social Concern and Involvement (OSCI).

Upon arriving to San Fernando City, the group was hosted for a lunch by former Mayor Mary Jane Ortega at her home.

Students with former Mayor Mary Jane Ortega.

Students and volunteers who patrol the Lingsat MPA.

Students with the PSLA volunteers.

IPED students with PSLA Council Members.

Students with children from the Poro community.

Upon returning back to Manila, students spent the day at the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Experts presented on various economic development topics including climate finance.

Fordham IPED students at the Asian Development Bank.

After presenting their findings, students celebrated along with Program Director, Dr. Henry Schwalbenberg, Program Manager, Ms. Donna Orda, and IPED Alumna Bea Lumanas ’13, on a dinner cruise on the Manila Bay.

IPED community celebrating on a dinner cruise.

IPED students on the Manila Bay dinner cruise.

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Catholic Relief Services 2018 International Peace and Development Travel Scholarship Program

Catholic Relief Services has selected three graduate students from Fordham University to participate in the 2018 International Peace and Development Travel Scholarship Program. All three students are graduating from Fordham’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy and Development and are being assigned to work with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Haiti, Burkina Faso, and the Philippines.

Starting in January 2018, Ms. Theresa Hart will be working at the CRS Office in Manila in the Philippines. She will be assisting in the monitoring of various developing projects that CRS is sponsoring in Indonesia, Micronesia and in East Timor. Prior to her studies at Fordham, she served as a Jesuit Volunteer in Micronesia. Tess is from the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph in Missouri.

After the Christmas break, Mr. Owen Fitzgerald will be heading out to Burkina Faso in West Africa, a very arid nation that faces serious agricultural issues. He will be assisting CRS on promoting both food security and better sanitation through the school system. Prior to his studies at Fordham, Owen served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in neighboring Mali. Owen is originally from the Diocese of Metuchen in New Jersey.

Finally, Ms. Liia Khalikova is being assigned to CRS in Haiti. Haiti has suffered a number of natural disasters in recent years and Liia will be assisting them with their communications strategy. Liia comes from Tartarstan which is part of the Russian Federation. She is studying at Fordham on a Fulbright Fellowship.

While at Fordham these students have specialized in international development as well as in the management and assessment of development projects.

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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: Crisostomo Ala ’18 and CRS Ecuador

By: Crisostomo Ala ’18

The purpose of my internship with CRS Ecuador is twofold: to gain work experience, insight, and involvement in the development sector and to understand the field operations of development NGOs whom I used to collaborate with when I worked for the consulting industry.

Upon my arrival in Ecuador, I was sent to Esmeraldas from Quito to support the shelter, water, and sanitation project of CRS which provided low cost housing and latrines to the most vulnerable communities affected by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake of April 2016. The city was characterized by economic activity limited to the production and sale of mostly agricultural goods and also, by poor infrastructure investments concretized by unfinished buildings along the province’s coastline. Esmeraldas is locally known as a tourist destination and such investments were intended to be profitable hotels and tourist attractions. However, after last year’s calamity, they were immediately abandoned placing a great strain on the area’s economic development.

I was assigned to the project’s operations where we had to acquire raw material to manufacture into housing parts that can be delivered and assembled on site. I handled inventory, monitoring and evaluation of delivered parts, and payroll of drivers who delivered these parts. My main role was to ensure that the beneficiaries received the correct amount of parts and in good quality for them to be able to construct their houses. By fulfilling my role, I was able to be involved in the implementation of the project on the ground. Furthermore, I was also able to observe how the specific process I handled was integrated to the project as a whole and how each procedure was meant to ensure donors that budgets are being spent in a cost-effective manner. The main purpose of this was to optimize operations so that the least amount of money was being spent while retaining the same level of quality in project delivery. In essence, the goal was to spend optimally so that the savings from one project can be used in other program efforts.

As such, by contributing the operations side of the project, I was able to gather sufficient understanding of how projects are executed on the ground. I can use such experience in the future when applying for career opportunities in development NGOs, like CRS and other similar organizations as well.

Moreover, apart from merely being part of the process ensuring seamless transactions at the operational level, I was also enabled to observe and understand how NGOs function at the field level. Previous work experience in the consulting industry taught me that the performance of NGOs is measured by the utility they bring and the cost-effectiveness of their operations. I was able to observe this from the HR side for the past 6 years, how one can improve operations while optimizing salaries and benefits, one of the biggest costs of an organization. Similarly, from this internship, I was able to learn the importance of cost optimization not just at the regional level, but also at the field level when it came to the execution of procurement transactions of raw materials for a shelter and water sanitation project. It was indeed a learning experience for me as it provided the link I was searching for between field operations and regional operations.

Overall, it was an experience filled with lessons both on international development level and actual project implementation on the ground. This internship trained me to respond to unforeseen circumstances in the field and have contingency plans in place for such instances which will be very helpful for either a career in development or HR consulting. Being involved at the field level allows one to understand local circumstances, gain anticipatory insight in project development, and adapt project execution to the local level whenever circumstance dictates to ensure seamless delivery.

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Three IPED Graduates selected for CRS International Development Fellows Program

3 crs fellows

Three recent Fordham IPED graduates were selected for the Catholic Relief ServicesInternational Development Fellows Program (CRS IDFP) for 2016. Camille Tacastacas, Veronica Muoio, and Josh Voges (IPED 2016) were among the roughly 25 fellows selected from hundreds of applicants for this year’s IDFP. The IDFP is a year-long program that provides a fast-track for people interested in careers in international relief and development via experience working in CRS’ programs overseas.

 

Joshua Voges

Josh was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. As an Arrupe Fellow in the Fordham IPED program, he interned with the UNDP Equator Initiative.  Josh is currently interning with CRS’ office in Senegal, where he serves as Program Quality and Growth Fellow.

 

IMG_0496 (1)

Pictured here in the Philippines, Veronica served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Jordan. She joined Fordham IPED on a Peace Corps Coverdell Fellowship and interned with the Fordham Road Business Improvement District. Veronica currently works with the United Nation’s Development Programme’s Gender Team.


camille

Camille was Jesuit Volunteer from the Philippines, and joined the Fordham IPED program on a Presidential Scholarship. Camille is currently interning with CRS Sierra Leone, where she assists in their Infant and Young Child Feeding and Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition Program.

Veronica has received an offer to join CRS’ office in Lebanon, Camille in CRS Malawi, and Josh in CRS Rwanda. Their deployment to these country offices is set to begin in August.

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