Enjoyable Ride: USAID/Rwanda Collaboration, Learning, and Adapting Activity Fellowship Program – ME&A
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Enjoyable Ride: USAID/Rwanda Collaboration, Learning, and Adapting Activity Fellowship Program

Enjoyable Ride: USAID/Rwanda Collaboration, Learning, and Adapting Activity Fellowship Program

You might be asking what a photo of a dog enjoying a car ride with pure bliss has to do with an article about the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) fellowship program under the USAID/Rwanda Collaboration, Learning, and Adapting Activity (CLAA). Read on.

The MEL fellowship is a prestigious one-year program in our country that plays a leading role in developing skills for a successful MEL career. It is highly competitive and offers a unique and effective approach to imparting knowledge and skills. Fellows join with diverse academic backgrounds, such as economics and statistics, with aspirations primarily converging toward becoming data analysts. Although we had limited information about the program initially, upon joining, we discovered how it would shape our knowledge and skills in the MEL field, significantly impacting our career growth potential. The program provides valuable mentorship and guidance from an experienced and supportive team, enhancing our learning experience.

The program has thus far exceeded our expectations by providing us with a rich learning experience. Initially, we had expectations of honing data analysis skills. But upon joining, we discovered the MEL field requires broader skills. Being introduced to Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting (CLA) – USAID’s set of systematic and intentional practices that help improve development effectiveness – has been interesting, engaging, and eye-opening.

Surely, it is an exciting and fully engaging journey, enriched with knowledge and skills. The program stands out due to its unique approaches and methods employed to facilitate knowledge sharing and content delivery. Sessions always begin with what we already know and then proceed to build upon or amend it. This approach has created a sense of confidence and a spirit of knowledge sharing among us.

Such an approach has enabled us to gain practical MEL skills, introduce us to CLA, and learn more about USAID/Rwanda’s work in a conducive way. The MEL field in Rwanda is picking up the pace, which was a different story before. The recognition of the need for more MEL professionals led to the establishment of this fellowship. Being fellows under this program, knowing that our careers are being polished at a key juncture, is exciting.

We enjoy every part of the program with each aspect being unique and providing valuable knowledge and skills. Group assignments have consistently been particularly captivating. In a group assignment, the exchange of ideas and facts is constant, requiring considerable energy in terms of thinking and proving your ideas’ validity. This is especially true when it comes to tasks like data analysis and presenting the adopted approaches. Additionally, we enjoy being around the bright minds of the experienced personnel through regular mentorships sessions.

In conclusion, the program has not only met but exceeded our expectations by providing a rich and engaging learning experience. Realizing that our initial focus on data analysis was insufficient for a thriving MEL career has been pivotal. The introduction of innovative approaches such as CLA has added depth to our knowledge and increased our enthusiasm for the MEL field. As we look forward to applying these skills in the next phase of our journey, we are confident that this program has laid a solid foundation for our professional growth.

What an enjoyable ride. 

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