Kathryn Baily, IEP ’19

DPMI Rwanda

DPMI Rwanda provided me with an opportunity to experience a different country and learn how to design a development project while working with individuals who come from different cultures, backgrounds, and professions. I feel better prepared for my future in Peace Corps and like I have improved as a working professional. While in Rwinkwavu at the Partners in Health location, I feel as though I learned from both the instructors and my fellow participants as each had insights into the world of development and program design in other countries. I went into the DPMI program with no expectations and I believed that nothing I thought could be accurate of the program and I was right. The lessons I learned from the two weeks in Rwanda were more than what I could have received doing any other program. By working towards the creation of a project that could be shown to PIH staff, I felt as though I was participating in an actual project design for a development group. This is crucial for the future as it will be useful no matter what branch of development someone plans to work in. As an International Environmental Policy student, I plan to focus on environmental policy and international development. Participating in DPMI Rwanda allowed me to adventure outside of environmental policy to learn about and explore another closely related topic- public health. By focusing on the challenges faced by Rwandans, I was reminded of the important societal effects that policy creation has and that people also need to be focused on when creating a program, policy, or regulation.

My team’s project in Rwanda was the Creating Economic Opportunity for Community Health Workers (CHWs) in the Southern Kayonza region. There the CHWs are facing increased workloads, staffing issues, and insufficient income. It took the team I was a member a long time to figure out what the causes of the insufficient income were and we also had to figure out how to combat against these issues. After debating the merits, consequences, and ease of each potential solution that we created, the final conclusion was that a competition designed to enforce regulation would be the best way to encourage transparency, communication, and regulation adherence within the CHW cooperative. It was not an easy task to even create this idea, it exhausts an individual and can cause emotions to rise but at the end of the day, there is a feeling of accomplishment when presenting a finished project idea that was well-liked by PIH staff. DPMI gives a glimpse in to the difficulties faced in the professional world where the stakes are high and decision-making process can be stressful, but it also hints at how rewarding the outcomes are when the program is successful or has good potential for the future.

“A team photo before we headed out to interview cooperative executive boards and managers for our project on improving community health workers’ economic opportunities.”

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