CARE Pathways not only provides education and assistance to smallholder female farmers in developing countries; the program also values training and teaching college and graduate interns to prepare them to serve as agents of change in their own careers and communities. This blog series will feature recent Pathways interns sharing their experiences in the Atlanta CARE headquarters and abroad.
Charlotte Newman is a recent graduate of Emory University’s Master of Development Practice (MDP) program and concluded her 1.5 year internship with CARE Pathways in May 2015. Prior to beginning her MDP, Charlotte spent three years living and working in southern Mexico teaching English and working as Program coordinator at a small microfinance institution.
The Emory University MDP program requires its students to spend two summers working abroad with non-profit organizations or governments on development-related projects. Students are encouraged to choose projects that complement their existing skill sets and interests while providing them with valuable learning opportunities. Charlotte chose to conduct her 2014 summer practicum with Pathways Ghana in Tamale. In describing this choice, Charlotte says, “The Pathways program both aligned with my previous experiences working on community and economic development among women, and gave me exposure to areas where I had less expertise, such as agriculture and program evaluation.” Charlotte spent three months in Ghana, spearheading the Pathways midterm review. Although the program had only been operating for around a year and had not yet rolled out all of its activities, Charlotte found participants receptive and excited about Pathways.
Charlotte’s experience proved challenging as she tried to juggle competing priorities, since the midterm evaluation was needed by the donor at a time that was logistically difficult for both program participants and staff. Communication, as in so many development projects, proved challenging and the need to manage on-the-ground realities against donor expectations was difficult. Despite these obstacles and initial concern about her limited background in agricultural work, Charlotte found that her skill set was a good match for her work. She was able to learn a new qualitative methodology using Outcome Mapping in the midterm review, provide concrete recommendations for program improvement, and see the evaluation through from start to finish.
Upon returning to Atlanta for her second year of graduate school in fall 2014, Charlotte continued to work with CARE headquarters. During the 2014-2015 academic year, Charlotte completed data analysis and produced a Process Document and Findings Report for the Ghana midterm review. She also worked on finalizing Findings Reports and Summary Briefs for midterm reviews in other Pathways countries. Finally, she was able to help finalize the Farmer Field and Business School training curriculum, which was published in spring 2015.
Charlotte’s experience with Pathways supported her growth as a practitioner of international development. Graduating from the Emory MDP program in 2015, Charlotte was hired as an Evaluation Fellow at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). “I probably wouldn’t have gotten [this fellowship] without having led the Pathways midterm review!”