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.
Lauren Godfrey, a graduate of Emory University’s Master of Development Practice program 2015, interned with CARE Pathways from May to December of 2014. Like Charlotte Newman, featured on the blog last week, Lauren’s Masters program required her to complete a summer practicum abroad. Lauren chose to spend her summer with CARE Pathways in Malawi, facilitating their qualitative midterm review. Lauren was excited about the chance to apply some of the qualitative research skills she’d been learning in the classroom and to apply a new method of evaluation called outcome mapping.
Lauren was warmly welcomed by the Pathways Malawi team and quickly set to work. She stated, “I was in Malawi for a little over 10 weeks. It wasn’t a lot of time, but the team made me feel right at home and welcome.” With Pathways, Lauren conducted interviews with Pathways’ program participants and team members. With the help of a colleague, she interviewed couples in order to chart their relationship over the last five years to help understand the role Pathways has played in their lives. She also interviewed community-based trainers to understand how the program was impacting their communities and lives. Throughout her interviews, Lauren was looking for input on how to improve the program in the next half of implementation.
Working internationally with Pathways gave Lauren the opportunity to see Pathways’ work firsthand. This experience reminded her of the importance of relationships in global development work. “In Malawi, Pathways has forged great connections with the communities. I think those relationships have been such a big part of Pathways’ success in Malawi. My visits to the communities to conduct interviews were made easier because of those relationships. For the most part, people were open and willing to talk to me,” writes Lauren.
Outcome mapping, the approach used in the midterm review process to track incremental behavior changes toward broader Pathways’ goals, requires a great deal of discussion among enumerators. Lauren facilitated not only the data collection part of this process, but also some of the data analysis sections. Back in Atlanta, she helped write and produce a final midterm report based on this analysis.
Says Lauren, “One highlight (of many) of my time with CARE Malawi was presenting the team’s work with some of the Pathways’ team members to the rest of CARE Malawi’s program team. The presentation generated insights and ideas on how CARE could contribute and create a better environment for Malawian women’s empowerment. It was such a great moment to be part of and gain greater insights into how CARE Malawi’s programs internalize gender and women’s empowerment…The most surprising, but great, part about my internship with Pathways was how the team valued my contributions. We learned from each other and I take what I learned in Malawi into the work I’ve done since.”
Lauren returned to Africa in the summer of 2015 to complete a second summer practicum, this time in Ethiopia with USAID. With her degree complete in August, Lauren accepted a Program Associate position at World Learning in Washington, D.C., a non-profit organization working in over 60 countries on education and development programs. Before returning to the States, though, Lauren made a return trip to Malawi to visit some of the CARE colleagues she had grown close to during her summer with Pathways!