DPMI-spolsions

A week into DPMI, and my brain can’t stop exploding. The first week of the Development Project Management Institute (DPMI) we learned about problem trees, results frameworks, performance management indicators and log frames.

In short we were building our capacity to use needs-based assessments, adaptive management and project evaluations, incorporating organizational values, stakeholder input and socio-cultural concerns into a mission-based strategy.

Are you even trying to understand these concepts anymore? Try doing it for 30 hours straight in an intensive collaborative process with experienced development professionals. This was the first week of DPMI. We were converts.

5 days, 8 tools, 1 outcome: a more rational, quantifiably justifiable, rigorous development framework, built on the scientific method and personal belief plus collaborative teamwork. Country development schemes arose from the brainstorming processes, teams ended malnutrition in Peru and improved eduation in Afghanistan by applying the logic structures we learned. Will pothole repairs improve foreign investment in Kenya? Maybe not, but I feel like my team had a convincing argument for improving the baseline for the backbone of a nation’s transportation system. Check out our presentation on restoring democracy through pothole repair here.

I’m still recovering, and it’s Wednesday. Maybe because D.C.’s an amazing city, and I spent all weekend touring around. There was an awesome mixer for micro-finance giant Oikocredit at a cool bar, the Science Club. And I put on my fanny pack, my visor and my biggest camera to tour the capital’s sights, from the Lincoln memorial to the Vietnam war memorial.

Vietnam Memorial

Vietnam Memorial

Soldiers at NamMorial

Soldiers seeing the Vietnam Memorial for the first time

The Vietnam memorial was built before the WW2 memorial, partly to heal the wounds of this ‘conflict’. You can see yourself in the shiny granite as you read the names, and across the quad there’s a statue of three soldiers – white black and latino – coming across the memorial and realizing what it is for the first time. I may have teared up hearing about all the sentimental tokens people have left at the wall over the years – all of which are cataloged and stored in the Museum Resource Center. Here’s an article about one veteran’s artifact and the personal journey it represented.

WWII memorial

Kilroy was here

Kilroy was here

The World War II Memorial also has interesting history behind it, situated so that Lincoln and Kennedy can look at it, as well as the White House. It wasn’t just gruesome murals of officers driving soldiers to their deaths, there was a lighter side hidden around the East wall. The cartoon seemed vaguely familiar, but the phrase “Kilroy was here” was Greek to me until the tour guide explained her version of the history. Kilroy was a shipyard inspector who scrawled Kilroy was here on ship parts during the war for accounting purposes – and his name started showing up around the world. He went viral in an analogue world, as GI’s started tagging this expression around the world. At the end of the war, soldiers would write “Kilroy was here” on buildings so that subsequent waves would know the town had been secured. Ask your grandparents if they remember Kilroy!

D.C. isn’t just about war – apparently there’s a Peace Memorial on Peace Street. Of course only a bunch of ladies would care about peace (sarcasm).

Overall, D.C. is pretty cool, once the sun goes down and the humans come out. With all the historic buildings, free museums, and even the city’s bike sharing scheme, it’s an awesome place to be in the summer.

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