January 9th-July 4th
For the last six months, I have been a Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Learning (MEAL) Intern with Catholic Relief Services. Since the start of my internship I’ve been based in three offices: La Paz, Bolivia; Quito, Ecuador; and Tonchigüe, Ecuador. This experience is my DPMI+ Practicum, where I get to apply the tools and skills I learned in DPMI Monterey in January of 2016.
I’ve been astounded by how often during my time with CRS I consult my notes from not just DPMI, but also my courses from my time at MIIS. I’ve reached out to professors and colleagues when I needed help on projects and found a wealth of support within the MIIS community.
My time in South America has been challenging. I got very sick in La Paz, and had to return to the United States to recover. When I was better my internship was moved to Quito, where I learned about a new set of programs from my new colleagues. After two months in Quito, my supervisor decided to move me to the coast to work on our emergency response program. Through three offices I’ve been given access to programs of all different shapes and sizes. I’ve met colleagues who’ve worked for CRS for thirty years and others who have worked for one. I’m going to be a CRS Fellow in Malawi starting in September, so having six months under my belt already in the organization helps me better understand our work. It has been an important lesson: in international development, you need to be flexible. It is important to be open to the opportunities as they present themselves to you.