Thursday, July 2nd, 2015...1:13 pm

DPMI alumnus puts training to work in food security efforts in Ethiopia

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IMG_1772Sitting down with Care Deputy Chief of Party and January 2015 Monterey DPMI Alumnus, Girma Hailu

During a 3-day trip to Addis Ababa after the DPMI Kenya training, I was able to meet-up with January 2015 DPMI Monterey alumnus, Girma Hailu in his hometown of Addis, Ababa, Ethiopia.

Girma has been serving as Deputy Chief of Party, Food Security for Farmers (FSF) for CARE in Ethiopia since last fall.

The CARE Food Sufficiency for Farmers project (FSFP) is a 5 year project funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and executed by CARE Canada through CARE Ethiopia. The project aims at ensuring sustainable food security of chronically food insecure women, men, girls and boys in selected districts of the Oromiya and Amhara regions. The project works in collaboration and builds on the Ethiopian government National Food Security Programs and targets over 34,000 households; among which 13 percent are female-headed. The project will be implemented through 3 main components: i) improving the enabling environment for food security; ii) diversifying economic activities for food insecure households and iii) improving resilience to climate risks.

Prior to that his post at CARE, Girma served as an MDG Policy Analyst with UNDP Ethiopia. His work at UNDP included a substantial report to the Government of Ethiopia on on “Trends and Prospects for for Meeting MDGs by 2015“.

Girma has a special relationship to the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) at Monterey— where he completed the Program on Design, Partnering, Management and Innovation (DPMI), as his wife, Konjit Habtemariam, also originally from Addis Ababa, completed her MBA at MIIS from 1999-2001.

Now that Girma has completed the DPMI, there are two alums in the family.

After sitting down with Girma, here’s what he had to say about his experience and where he sees the development sector headed:

Which module of DPMI do you use the most in your current work with CARE Ethiopia?

At the moment, I use many of the project design components Dr. Beryl Levinger covers during the first week, but I plan to use the facilitation and partnering tools in future projects and positions. 

Who would benefit from DPMI?

It’s definitely designed and best-suited for practiticioners like me who are managaging and developing projects on a daily basis, although I can see other benefits for those who study international development theory and want to pick-up practical tools and logical frameworks for sustainable development to widen their skill area. Author’s note: Girma and I also both agreed that a hidden benefit of DPMI is observing the skilled teaching style of the practicioners. The hands-on learning in teams throughout the training is just one of the effective instructional techniques used by DPMI instructors.

What changes do you expect in the international development sector in the next 5 years?

I think many governments will want to change or develop an exit strategy for the cycle of aid that currently exists. One way they might do this is through developing small and medium enterprises with the help of the international community. I see social entrepreneurship (a tenant of Module 3 of DPMI) continuing to grow. Programs focusing on promoting entrepreneurship and business skills should continue to grow with a push from local governments. 

In closing, I have to send a big “Thank You” to Girma and his colleague for showing me around Addis and taking time to meet with a prospective DPMI Monterey applicant working on social affairs and migration issues for the African Union.


About the author: Carolyn Meyer, MA IPS ’05 is Director of Immersive Professional Learning and Special Programs in the Graduate School of International Policy and Management. She can be reached at


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