October 28, 2010
It wasn’t until I sat down at a coffee shop admist the bustle of Kampala, tired and sweaty from the sensory overload of being a foreigner and a pedestrian in a massive East African city, that it really hit me.
My colleague and I were about to start developing a comprehensive needs assessment and program evaluation that we would then personally administer in Acholi Quarters, a Ugandan slum. This survey was the beginning of a physically and mentally intense summer project working with women victimized by a brutal civil war who, years later, transformed into entrepreneurs and business partners to a small western counterpart.
My work, which originally focused on assessing the impact of the business on the human condition, later turned to assessing the feasibility of the company’s international scale-up plans.
Though initially intimidated by the scope of the work, I took comfort in my prior experience leading a development project team in El Salvador six months ago through the Team Monterey practicum. Our project, an assessment of the impact of potable water on rural villages, helped me put my MPA skills into practice: designing a needs assessment, conducting a program evaluation, engaging local stakeholders, and analyzing data.
Witnessing women, who were barely able to survive in a development context, overcome the cycle of dependency and turn their lives around via a sustainable income generating model, reinforced my decision to get a dual degree in both Public Administration and International Business. I was right were I needed to be: learning to put new cross-sectoral models that extract the best practices of fundamentally different disciplines into action.
As icing on the cake, I found the opportunity to infuse my love for photography into documentation and advocacy efforts for the work conducted in Uganda and El Salvador. You can find some of that on my personal portfolio website: www.lucynajodlowska.com