Jonathan Fain, IPD ’18

Internship with Mercy Corps

Summer 2017

My internship with Mercy Corps’ Program Performance and Quality team in Washington DC this summer shed light on much of what I have learned at MIIS thus far. For example, every Mercy Corps program requires both a logical framework and a theory of change, which are two of the tools that I learned about when I took the DPMI course through MIIS in January of 2017. Editing and reviewing these tools and then seeing how they were applied to actual programs added another layer to my understanding of them. I feel not only knowledge but practical experience in the use of tools is needed for successful program implementation and management.

At MIIS, I am specializing in design, monitoring and evaluation. There are many different methods one can use to evaluate a program, and navigating the most practical method can be challenging. This summer, I was granted access to all Mercy Corps program evaluations, and was tasked with finding the most strategic evaluations and summarizing them. This was an extremely useful project, as it helped me to identify the most pertinent information within evaluations that could sometimes be up to ninety pages long. My evaluation summaries were used by Mercy Corps’ policy and advocacy team in their efforts to show the impact of our work and influence legislation that could benefit future programs. Through this project, I learned that it is not just the analysis of data that is important, but also the ability to concisely interpret and summarize data.

Possibly the most exciting aspect of my internship, is that Mercy Corps has granted me an extension so that I can continue to work for them remotely! They have also expanded my scope of work to include a baseline analysis, report, and final evaluation design of an inter-religious peace-building program in Northern Nigeria. I’ll be working on the latter project alongside my classmate and fellow Mercy Corps intern, Ben Playfair. The final evaluation design will be completed in tandem with the Program Evaluation course that I am taking this fall.

Overall, my time at Mercy Corps was extremely valuable. I made some great connections, applied knowledge that I had gained at MIIS, and  negotiated a longer contract with the organization to work on a project that I am highly interested in. I feel that my time with Mercy Corps has given me more direction about what kind of work I want to pursue, and how I want to spend the rest of my time at MIIS.

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