Since the establishment of the GHD Program in 2012, students have spent the summer between their two years of study working as interns at overseas field sites for 10-12 weeks with a variety of development organizations, including NGOs, aid agencies, development consulting firms, social enterprises, multinational corporations, and foundations. Students have been with host agencies in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.
Summer field projects are an essential feature of the Global Human Development Program, and are supported by students’ regular coursework. For example, the core course “Monitoring and Evaluation of Projects and Programs”, which all students will take in the second semester of their first year, is designed to prepare the students for their summer projects. In the fall semester of their second year, posters summarizing summer field projects are the first required assignment in the “Management Analysis & Practice” course, and student experiences provide a basis for discussion on the management and leadership challenges that development practitioners encounter during their professional careers. Students are also able to draw upon their summer field experience in papers and reports submitted for other courses, potentially including the Capstone project that is a core requirement for the GHD Masters degree. Funding for travel expenses and a modest stipend are provided by the GHD Program, or in certain instances by host agencies where the students are placed for the summer. Safety and security protocols for travel and arrangements are coordinated with OGS.
Previous Field Project Locations
I am spending my summer working as part of the innovative finance team at United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Jakarta, Indonesia. First thing you are probably wondering is what is innovative financing? Is it just new jargon, or was the word “‘innovative” thrown on for posterity? No, it is about finding new ways to improve lives.
On one of our recent field visits, we learned the meaning of being called a lion. In Ethiopia, a person is a lion if they are innovative, foreword thinking, and daring. They represent strength and fortitude. After reflecting on this, we recognize that many lionesses have touched our internship and allowed our summer to be so fulfilling.
I have now been in Zambia for almost two months and I feel very well acclimated to the lifestyle this country brings. I have made great connections to my coworkers as well as established my routine as a Lusakan resident. I am now considered a permanent fixture in the office and am incorporated in meetings and events as any other employee.