Thursday, March 23rd, 2017...1:28 pm

Tangut’s 2017 J-Term: DPMI in Monterey.

Jump to Comments


My name is Tangut Degfay, I am from Ethiopia, and a first year student in the Development Practice and Policy program at MIIS. I first learned about DPMI during my senior year at Middlebury College because few friends of mine came to Monterey over J-term to take it. I was unable to join DPMI back then because I part of another similar intensive professional training on the Middlebury campus called MiddCORE. My experience with MiddCORE inspired me to join DPMI, because I truly enjoyed the intensive, mentor-led training aspect of it.

Coming into DPMI, my expectations were more about being able to put together all the theories and skills learned in the normal academic setting and changing them into something tangible. As well as being able to use the training to identify personal strengths and areas for improvement. For example, I have always felt that I have a good sense of networking and outreach, however, I lacked the skills to maintain good contact with my networks. I wanted to expand on this in DPMI.

I found DPMI a lot more extensive than I expected. Not only did we have different mentors and themes for every module, the activities we did throughout the three weeks were also tailored to help us aim at mastering different skills. Some of the skills I developed include; facilitation and planning,  program designing and management, systemic thinking, case study analysis and identification of gaps in development projects, seeking appreciative inquiry, crisis management, community needs assessment, knowledge exchange, building and understanding organizational identity, network analysis and data gathering, and building development indicators.  These are some of the skills I have not been able to develop in the normal academic settings.

DPMI is an intensive program, so, there were times I felt overwhelmed by the amount of information and the little time to digest all of it. However, the opportunity to spend an extended amount of time each day with mentors and students while working on different learning components made the overall program rewarding. One of my favorite moments was our negotiation activity, where we were assigned to closely study and represent different organizations, and to form partnerships with other organizations on a community development project which we designed as part of our group activities.This activity was highly demanding in terms of time and energy. It was also so much fun to try to understand the policies of other organizations, and searching for common ground for partnership.

As an aspiring development practitioner, particularly with a focus on youth development and education access in rural communities, the skills I developed in DPMI are crucial components in my studies and future career goals. I plan to utilize these skills not only in conducting community needs assessment, but also in planning, designing and executing programs to elevate the potentials of young people so that they can serve their communities as leaders of progressive change.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.