In this program, practicum students will partner with Dignitas, an education-focused NGO working in nonformal communities in Nairobi, Kenya, to conduct a program evaluation on the organization’s new model. About to enter its 10th year of work in building the capacity of teachers and school leaders in nonformal community schools, Dignitas will be rolling out a newly refined program model designed for scale in early 2019. They are moving from working with a small group of 40 schools to expanding the organization’s impact to the education system more broadly. The practicum students will support the organization in thinking about how to meaningfully evaluate system-wide impact, will have an opportunity to design a wide-scale impact evaluation, and along the way, will learn about the social, political and economic dimensions of educational development efforts in Nairobi.
- Tenative On-Campus Meetings
- Students will meet on-campus several times prior to departure and 1-2 times after traveling on-campus.
- Dates Abroad
- Exact dates to be determined. The practicum group will spend approximatly 8 days in Nairobi, Kenya in mid-June 2019.
Students will be required to pay a program fee. The program fee covers in-country transportation, some meals, housing and excursions.
All students are responsible for 3 credits AU tuition, international airfare, visa fees, in-country transportation outside of program, most meals and immunizations.
Nairobi is an ideal place to study these issues, as the community school context is very robust in the nonformal communities. Dignitas’ new programmatic focus on system-wide impact is well-timed, and would situate students to be exposed to and prepared to engage with a cutting-edge issue in international educational development. Indeed, community schools (especially for-profit community schools) are a growing global phenomenon of great interest to international development practitioners, educators, community activists, scholars, corporations, and economists. Nairobi is a rich context within which to understand and explore the ways to measure the impact of educational NGOs on local public systems. This is an opportunity for students to build their understanding of the complex social, organizational and political landscape shaping education in Nairobi.
The practicum will consist of two projects:
- Developing and pilot testing a qualitative evaluation toolkit to track the results of the partner organization, Dignitas', extensive teacher leadership development program. In Nairobi, practicum participants will work with Dignitas and its local community partners to gather data to inform the development of these metrics, pilot testing of evaluation tools as appropriate. Based on the results of the pilot tests, practicum participants will produce a final evaluation toolkit along with an associated handbook for the organization to launch at its fall training institute.
- Developing a communications strategy and engaging in content creation for Dignitas. Participants will assess how Dignitas can effectively and responsively share the organization's work and impact, developing appropriate messaging for a donor audience.
Upon completion of the practicum, students will have gained important skills in the fields of program evaluation, communications strategy and content creation, intercultural awareness and research, and consulting.
While all graduate students meeting the practicum prerequisites are welcome to apply to this program, special consideration will be given to students with interest, coursework, and experience in international education, leadership development, community development, experience in the Americas and intercultural relations and communication. All students should have some prior experience with or coursework in qualitative data analysis; project or program evaluation skills and coursework are particularly helpful.