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Aspiring development worker wishing to specialise in A,M&E
Submitted by desireec on February 3, 2008 - 2:15pm.
I've always wanted to work in the development/relief field in Africa, but in the process of my studies and practical work (spending 6 months volunteering for an NGO in S. Africa and most recently in rural Kenya) I've become disillusioned with the efficacy of NGOs. In particular I've witnessed dismal to non-existent M&E processes in many NGOs, with little regard for receiving direct feedback from beneficiaries & programme participants. I've decided I'm very interested in specialising in M&E improvement for both NGOs and private companies working in Sub-Saharan Africa. My other major interest is post-conflict reconstruction, but I'm not sure if/how to integrate these two interests into a cohesive specialisation. I've applied to a few graduate development studies-related programmes here in the UK, but they are of course quite general. Often there is only one course offered in M&E and I suspect this is inadequate preparation to actually enter into this specialisation.
What else can I do to strengthen my knowledge of M&E at this stage? I've read through many posts in this forum in the past couple of days, and the emphasis for aspiring development workers is to always specialise and gain practical skills. I want to gain the practical skills to make it in the M&E specialisation and so would appreciate any feedback from those in this particular sector of the field, esp. in Africa, for how to receive adequate training & preparation.
[Just a bit about me: I'm an American who has just relocated to Oxford, England, where my spouse is attending graduate school. I will soon be completing my BSc in Community Development, w/ a concentration on Housing & Economic Development, at Portland State University in the US (after I complete an independent research project-- which I'm working on here in England).]