Tag Archives: monitoring and evaluation

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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Filed under Academic, Alumni, Career, Community & Culture, Trips

Summer Series: Crisostomo Ala ’18 and CRS Ecuador

By: Crisostomo Ala

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 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 development and 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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