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  • MEDA
    try on the maid of honour dress she ordered for me There are things like birthday parties and illnesses and funerals that I regret missing Funnily enough I miss Canadian weather I ve been away from Canada for now nearly five years and now I daydream about those cold days when it s just snowed and everything is absolutely silent I think I m thinking about that now because it s never silent here you can hear traffic and people and the call to prayer and animals and everything almost all the time It s not bad but for me it s not ideal I love to travel but I wonder if I m just too far away for too long to be really happy here in the long term Not to worry I have another 3 months and 1 5 weeks before I m done and I m looking forward to it but part of my reason for coming here was to see if I wanted to work in the field fulltime and I m not sure now that I would be happy doing so I think a position where I could travel to the field a lot but come back to a home base in Canada or the US would be ideal for me right now Tags MEDA Interns 2012 Economic Opportunities Youth Impact Assessment Intern Internship Experience Continue reading Morocco 4847 Hits Wednesday 16 January 2013 What s the Attitude Lauren Brander Impact Assessment Intern Financial Services We went to Rabat on Saturday what amazed me after Casablanca was how clean it seemed There were still some parts that were less than beautiful but the streets the buildings and the tourist sites were all really well kept Casablanca has grown on me a little in the way that familiarity grows on you but it s definitely a city in progress trying to bridge that gap between community and progress trying to find its character The city itself is almost bipolar shantytowns aside clothing stores major fast fashion chains on palm lined boulevards only minutes from boarded up storefronts Africa s biggest destination mall in a city with crumbling infrastructure I m sure all of this is present in Rabat but it seemed less stark at least We saw workers maintaining palm trees the site of a new café on the waterfront The royal mausoleum where guards in full formal dress sat on horses An art gallery in the old casbah Work has been really great so far this week We have a contingent of people here from MEDA Waterloo and one of our staff from MEDA Egypt and we are doing a clinic on a training that MEDA is developing for creating youth financial products with MFIs and other financial institutions The idea is to teach staff how to effectively go through the product development cycle in order to offer targeted youth products which benefits both the youth in question as well as the institution I don t know much about training so this has been really interesting to me There are materials available from places like CGAP but MEDA adds value to these kinds of trainings by having in country networks experts and the focus on youth that many microfinance organizations lack Going through all the presentations both from the perspective of staff and the perspective of trainers and trainees has been really helpful for me in learning more about MEDA s actual programs which I know is going to help me do my job in impact assessment I ve really liked getting to know the team better Also it s been really nice to work in an English speaking environment for a few days Left The Royal Mausoleum Center French protectorate era achitecture Right The main boulevard I feel myself changing as I m here Parts of me keep chipping away I m not sure if it s a good thing yet because I don t know what will replace them but it s an intellectually interesting process I think it comes from being continually challenged by losing the context through which I had always defined myself In Canada and the States everything visible about me meant something to others defined my role My glasses my hair my gender my name my clothes all spoke to where I belonged to whom I belonged my friends and family my country my company Here those things are true too but in a completely different way here they mean outsider It s not a loss of internal identity so much as an absence of an external one which in turn is challenging my internal identity It s making me question how much of how I act was performative in North America done because that s how I thought it should be done and how much is integral to me as a person It s not that I think of myself as a fake sort of person actually I am hilariously transparent most of the time but I do think that knowing where your place is in a society affects how you behave In this case I don t have any idea of where my place is still so I m often at a loss Tags MEDA Interns 2012 Economic Opportunities Youth Impact Assessment Intern Internship Experience Continue reading Morocco 4969 Hits Wednesday 16 January 2013 Jet lag and culture shock Lauren Brander Impact Assessment Intern Financial Services I think I m finally recovering from my jet lag Knock on wood Now that I ve discovered white noise tracks that I can play on my iPod when I go to sleep to drown out the street noise below I m sleeping a lot better Today was a holiday so I slept in and took a nap I ll have to relate my laundry adventure another time suffice to say that the little portable washing machine here was not as intuitive as I initially assumed I m headed for another

    Original URL path: http://meda.org/intern-blogs-yc/blogger/lauren-brander (2016-02-17)
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  • What is it that you do, exactly? - MEDA
    umbrella Though some development firms only include M E as required by the terms of reference in their government contracts many are moving toward more rigorous in house methods in order to track and improve program effects Since the 2008 recession government agencies like CIDA DFID and USAID are also requiring better M E from bidders on grants and contracts since M E can improve program efficiency How can you tell if something s working Well in my case data analysis is an essential part of impact assessment The project I m working on right now is an evaluation study of MEDA Maroc s training programs These programs most notably the 100 Hours to Success training course are meant to improve youth access to financial services In September last year about a year into the program they gave surveys to clients who had participated in training programs asking about a range of topics the programs had covered such as savings loans and employment They also asked about how the clients and their families had changed in the last year for example had they bought a refrigerator A car Had their monthly household income increased This kind of data can tell us a lot about possible program effects A lot of it is descriptive statistics anyone who s ever taken a research method course knows the drill on that one But you have to be smart about what you run you can t just describe a couple of variables and get useful information One of MEDA s particular focuses for example is gender when you ask What did people think about this program you also want to know What did girls think about this program and Compared to boys how did girls perceive this factor You want to know what girls in urban areas thought versus girls in rural areas you want to disaggregate the data as much as possible so that you know as much as possible Part of data analysis is turning over rocks in the data set looking for results that are unexpected or interesting If you re super nerdy like me that s the fun part Other than making beautiful graphs in Excel Numbers can tell you a lot but you also need the other side of the coin qualitative data in the form of open ended questions focus groups and case studies It s really important to get as much depth as possible although I believe in the power of quantitative data for giving a big picture overview of a population I also think that letting clients speak for themselves and offer suggestions and solutions that work for their lives is an integral part of delivering sustainable development solutions Mistakes aren t always as clean cut as delivering spoiled food to a refugee population sometimes experience shows us that minor tweaks or additions can have a lasting impact on program effectiveness Anyway that s a little bit about my job When we talk about statistics just

    Original URL path: http://meda.org/intern-blogs-yc/entry/what-is-it-that-you-do-exactly (2016-02-17)
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  • MEDA
    hospital was to treating patients holistically Some examples 95 women return to their previous lives after fistula surgery however the remaining 5 are persuaded to undergo a second and much more life altering surgery The surgery changes them to excrete externally into a bag that they must carry with them at all times As women cannot return to their villages the hospital permanently hires them as nurses I saw at least seven nurses working industriously their bags discretely hidden beneath their neat red aprons Surgery and treatment is entirely free for patients This improves the likelihood of women traveling from extreme rural locations to Addis Ababa Occupational therapy and group discussions are used to lift the stigma and shame women are burdened with prior to surgery At the craft shop I purchased several hand woven baskets that pay directly to the patient who made the item A midwifery education program is in its fourth year The program trains rural midwives who will live in far reaching communities to permanently strengthen maternal health To symbolize restored dignity women that have completed recovery are given a new dress and paid transport home One woman I saw on our walk hobbled past us with an awkward gait aggressively swinging her left leg forward every second step Sisay commented that she had been abandoned in a shed for three years before arriving at Hamlin suffering severe physiological injuries to her legs and feet She had occupied Hamlin for the past three years and would eventually move on to their long term rehabilitation centre Her story is included in the bestseller Half the Sky Katy highly recommends it I guess one of the strangest and sobering realizations is the knowledge that if Katy or I ever bear a child and have complications we will never have to suffer from fistula Fistula can be prevented Fistula was eradicated from the United States in 1880 It is a condition from history If I have an obstructed labour there will be doctors surrounding me and a c section performed immediately Fistula is a reality that I will never know For this reason and the positively radiant tour of Hamlin I contributed to their deserving hospital You can learn more at their website hamlinfistula org Photos are courtesy of Hamlin website Tags MEDA Interns 2012 Private Sector Development Agriculture Rural Microfinance Intern Country Culture Continue reading Ethiopia 5690 Hits Wednesday 16 January 2013 Building Resilient Livelihoods Devon Krainer Program Manager Evaluation In the rural areas of Amhara rice farmers live a hand to mouth existence Having enough money to afford inputs for farming school and household expenditures particularly before harvest time is a significant challenge Farmers are often forced to sell rice during harvest season when prices are low which endangers their livelihood and hinders their income potential As farmers are without savings habits any surplus income earned following harvest is squandered at the local Saturday market on drinks This was the previous experience of thirteen rice farmers who with the assistance of Mennonite Economic Development Associates MEDA formed a group known as Addis Alem Village Savings and Loan Association VSLA MEDA s Intervention In 2011 Gizaw pictured left a rice farmer received MEDA s training on the benefits of saving and how to form a VSLA within his community The training covered topics on saving credit managing risk and resolving conflict MEDA also provided Gizaw with the necessary materials to start saving which included a savings box with two locks thirteen passbooks four plastic plates and a bookkeeping ledger Tags MEDA Interns 2012 Private Sector Development Agriculture Rural Microfinance Intern MEDA Projects Continue reading Ethiopia 5313 Hits Wednesday 16 January 2013 Memorable Meskel Devon Krainer Program Manager Evaluation Here are my brightest memories of Meskel Tags MEDA Interns 2012 Private Sector Development Agriculture Rural Microfinance Intern National Holiday Experience Continue reading Ethiopia 5530 Hits Wednesday 16 January 2013 Business Plans in Bahir Dar Devon Krainer Program Manager Evaluation Last week I had the fortunate opportunity to travel to the orderly and refreshing Bahir Dar The sweet Lake Tana air and busy Bajajs welcomed me on my drive to the Summerland Hotel Desset restaurant on Lake Tana Tags MEDA Interns 2012 Private Sector Development Agriculture Rural Microfinance Intern Internship Experience Recent comment in this post Guest Bharathi Baskar B Thanks For Your valuable posting it was very informative Am working in Cloud Erp In India Friday 13 March 2015 09 24 Continue reading Ethiopia 6357 Hits Wednesday 16 January 2013 Village Savings in Action Devon Krainer Program Manager Evaluation Working with MEDA has been a busy unpredictable but mostly informative first month I am interning at the main office for the EDGET project which stands for Ethiopians Driving Growth Entrepreneurship and Trade also meaning progress in Amharic EDGET is a pro poor five year project funded by the Canadian government with the objective of raising the incomes of 10 000 weavers and rice farmers Theoretically speaking raising income is a strategy to improve food security We hope rural Ethiopians will become more resilient against famines and less dependent on food aid programs as a result of EDGET interventions There are many different facets to such an ambitious project and I am primarily focused on financial services Financial services supports EDGET s objective by employing financial interventions like the Village Savings and Lending Associations VSLAs Tags MEDA Interns 2012 Private Sector Development Agriculture Rural Microfinance Intern MEDA Projects Continue reading Ethiopia 11169 Hits Wednesday 16 January 2013 Happy New Year Devon Krainer Program Manager Evaluation The Ethiopian New Year is marked on September 11 Ethiopians follow a calendar that is slightly different so the year is now 2005 Melkam Addis Amet I was fortunate enough to arrive at such an opportune time and experienced a few of the special customs they celebrate Tags MEDA Interns 2012 Private Sector Development Agriculture Rural Microfinance Intern National Holiday Experience Continue reading Ethiopia 6227 Hits Wednesday 16 January 2013 The 5 Cs of Credit

    Original URL path: http://meda.org/intern-blogs-yc/blogger/devon-krainer (2016-02-17)
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  • Impressions of Addis - MEDA
    and tattered rags swerve left and right jumping to the discordant rhythm of traffic A child leaps forward giggling Her eyes joyfully fixed on a rubber tire she is rolling forward with a metal rod A row of small coal fires sizzle freshly husked corn wafting sweet charcoal smoke A barren plot of land where sixty sheep are lined up for slaughter A pile of heads already await market their opaque eyes glazed blue white The sultry aroma of dark roast Ethiopian coffee Macchiato brimming with bubbling foam Compounds with barbed wire fences the paint faded down the forbidding walls Stray dogs roam the alleys rabid abandoned or unloved Cool moist mornings Icy breath forms in front of faces The striking African Union building pierces the skyline Its sophisticated architecture dominating the disorganized clutter of corrugated tin roofs below A skinny man loosely holds a rifle beside the ATM Someone grabs my arm with an uncomfortably fierce grip I look up to see a small woman pulling me away from the aggressive rumble of an oncoming caravan Genuine smiles from locals Addis Ababa is sometimes called the City of Africa or New Flower My boss aptly named it One Big Village To me Addis Ababa is a city of juxtaposition Nothing is segregated everything mixed into one Poverty sits next to modernity Authenticity beside security Wintry mornings to sweaty afternoons Affluence and absence A rustic metropolis Tweet Tags MEDA Interns 2012 Private Sector Development Agriculture Rural Microfinance Intern Country Culture What is it that you do exactly Primer mes in Lima Peru First Impressions About the author Devon Krainer Program Manager Evaluation View author s profile More posts from author Devon Krainer is a program manager in evaluation with a focus on impact investment programs Her professional experience includes microfinance

    Original URL path: http://meda.org/intern-blogs-yc/entry/impressions-of-addis (2016-02-17)
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  • MEDA
    FOUND AN ANGEL I cannot express how thankful I am to her and to her lovely family THE HOLIDAYS I had planned to take advantage of the days off work and travel from Lima to Machu Picchu by land with a couple of friends However due to last minute changes my friends could not come down to Peru and thus I was left without plans for the holidays Without a place of my own and without X mas plans my boyfriend Patrice convinced me to head back home for the holidays Due to the circumstances Jessica understood and allowed me to leave a few days earlier to make most of my time in Canada 8 days later I was back to Montreal and it had never felt so good to be home SMALL REFLECTION AFTER 5 MONTHS OF WORK 18 days in Canada with family and friends has made admit it more difficult to be back in Lima I must admit Yet knowing that I only have 1 more month left working with the Techno Links project has also made me nostalgic I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with my field manager Jessica Villanueva She has constantly trusted me with new tasks encouraged and supported me along the way I have learned a great deal by her side not only about the project itself but also regarding the development field and career options in general Working with Jessica has made this internship experience all worth it Tags MEDA Interns 2012 Private Sector Development Agriculture Value Chain Development Intern Internship Experience Continue reading Peru 5224 Hits Wednesday 16 January 2013 Second Month It s all about Peruvian Gastronomy Monica Rodriguez Value Chain Development Intern Market Linkages When I mentioned to friends and family that I had the opportunity to live in Peru for 6 months the first and the most frequent comment I received was Be prepared to gain weight I am beginning to understand what they meant especially with the most delicious churros I have ever tried in my entire life and the worst of it all is that they are sold for only s 1 20 each Peruvian Gastronomy House Historical Center of Lima Peruvian gastronomy is a booming sector It has become a national symbol of pride and such that this gorgeous building which used to be National Post Telegraph building is now the Peruvian Gastronomy House Tags Agriculture Private Sector Development MEDA Interns 2012 Value Chain Development Intern Country Culture Continue reading Peru 5518 Hits Wednesday 09 January 2013 Primer mes in Lima Peru First Impressions Monica Rodriguez Value Chain Development Intern Market Linkages CLOUDY There is no sight of the sun ANYWHERE During this past month I have only seen the sun 3 times in total There is a blanket of clouds that extends across the Lima skies during the winter time The cloudy skies have even made an impression on Herman Melville the author of Moby Dick who referred

    Original URL path: http://meda.org/intern-blogs-yc/blogger/monica-rodriguez (2016-02-17)
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  • Primer mes in Lima, Peru - First Impressions - MEDA
    extent to calling it the saddest city however not seeing the sun has been THE hardest adjustment thus far Some Peruvians have reassured me that spring should be just around the corner TECHNO LINKS I am currently working as the value chain development intern supporting MEDA s Mennonite Economic Development Associates Techno Links project In a nutshell Techno Links is a competitive matching grant fund promoting and expanding the access of agricultural technologies for small size producers in Peru and Nicaragua It is an exciting and busy time for us here in Lima as the 16 winners of the grants will be announced shortly Pictured right My cozy office at the Techno Links office in Peru Did I mention that I live in the same building as the office Just 5 floors away It makes a huge difference especially those working days that go from 9 am to 7ish SECURITY Another advantage is security I do not have to take public transportation carrying my laptop and allows me to stay a bit later at work when needed However one should not be too confident Last week I had a minor security incident After work a security guard followed me to my apartment and began an extremely inappropriate conversation Thankfully I received full support and guidance from the MEDA staff and the appropriate actions were taken in response I share this story because I want to encourage all my fellow intern colleagues to please report any security incident even as small as you may considered it to be As Jennifer MEDA HR told me even if you are physically OK any incident could also have a psychological impact As a result if something happens to you please talk to someone about it Tweet Tags MEDA Interns 2012 Private Sector Development Agriculture

    Original URL path: http://meda.org/intern-blogs-yc/entry/primer-mes-in-lima-peru-first-impressions (2016-02-17)
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  • MEDA
    between Essaouira and Agadir is famous for its waves ideal for surfing and windsailing Sunday morning we went on a short drive through the Argan tree groves to the small community of Sidi Kaouki We managed to photograph some of the goats that eat the argan fruit the source of the oil that is so popular in Morocco for cosmetics and cooking We also hiked up a gravel road to a hill overlooking the ocean and beach We met some children who were watching their cows and camels when we went back to the car The area was fairly quiet but quite rocky Stopping at the Sidi Kaouki beach for lunch and a chance to dip our feet in the ocean swimming was not recommended with the 3 metre high waves was fantastic There were some tourists about but very few people at this time of year even though it was above 20 degrees Reflections The abundance of agriculture from Sidi Kaouki all the way back to Casablanca was very evident Verdant lush fields hugged the highway once we left the mountainous area that was filled with argan trees goats and sheep Often we passed individuals walking along the road or waiting for a grand taxi It was difficult to figure out where they had come from as most often they were far from buildings in any direction Although I grew up in the country I can t imagine the isolation that a rural youth would feel in one of the tiny communities we passed through Illiteracy in rural areas especially among women is quite high in Morocco in 2010 only 57 of women 15 years old and over were illiterate source UNESCO with approximately 80 90 of rural women being illiterate The related challenges would be staggering You realize how much you have to be thankful for as a Canadian Tags MEDA Interns 2012 Economic Opportunities Youth Communication Development Intern Sightseeing Continue reading Morocco 5408 Hits Wednesday 16 January 2013 Communications consultants and customer service Caitlin MacDougall Communication Development Intern Financial Services Time for an update about what I ve been doing as the Communication Development Intern at MEDA Maroc Things have been constantly changing for the past couple months here at MEDA Maroc with 5 employees leaving our small office of 10 and new staff being hired on gradually YouthInvest in Morocco and Egypt also changed its primary strategy in the past year and things are finally really starting to move in that respect Rather than focusing on mostly training youth about financial education business creation and savings we are turning to the microfinance institutions MFIs and banks in Morocco to provide them with a suite of trainings on how to Improve customer service for youth clients and attract youth Develop financial products that appeal to youth Manage risk specific to youth Since about July 2012 staff in North America have been working alongside staff here in the MENA Middle East North Africa region to develop these training programs We worked specifically on the Product Development training in September when several MEDA staff from Waterloo and Washington visited Casablanca and lately I have been working with Casablanca staff to improve the customer service training modules Customer Service Training For the past month I have been working on a team to streamline add content and images and otherwise improve the existing customer service training We have tested out the training with a Moroccan bank through a current partnership and we have had extremely positive feedback from those evaluations but we are trying to tighten up the training to maximize the value financial institution staff will get out of it This is starting to wrap up but it has been an ongoing project since mid November Consultants Database Since October I have been in the process of creating a database of consultants with microfinance experience in MENA so that MEDA has a go to list when searching for trainers to provide the trainings mentioned above the plan is to gradually expand to each MENA region country to offer these trainings so we need trainers with experience in these countries It will also be useful for the Technical Assistance MEDA will provide to financial institutions to help them develop youth products and adapt their risk management to best serve youth The list is currently nearly 200 consultants but I have been contacting them to find out their interest in working with MEDA and not all have responded Personalizing the messages to each consultant and recording when emails were sent responses received cataloging CVs of interested people has meant that this is a time consuming but valuable database There is still lots of work to do on the database and we haven t even sent out a job offer yet Communications On the communications side we finally finished the November MEDA Maroc Newsletter for which I put together the English version alongside my coworker s Arabic version and sent it out to our partners and the global MEDA staff the first week of December I have also been assisting with the creation and translation of partnership agreements pamphlets client stories and the 2013 strategic communications plan We are planning to increase our reach through social media so we ve been working as a team on a renewed website too To supplement our communications materials and presentations I attended a YouthSavings information session on Thursday to take photos YouthSavings is a project we are carrying out in the Casablanca region where interns provide a 1 hour presentation on how and why youth should save money by creating a savings account The interns also provide the forms and help the youth open their own account Participation among youth is voluntary it is not during class time so you have to have animated interns to capture the students interest right in the beginning It was a very interesting experience even though it was in Darija a language of which I only understand about 20 words Tags MEDA Interns 2012 Economic Opportunities Youth Communication Development Intern Internship Experience Continue reading Morocco 5194 Hits Wednesday 16 January 2013 Marrakech the daughter of the desert Caitlin MacDougall Communication Development Intern Financial Services Last weekend Elena and I decided to make a day trip to Marrakech French spe lling the third largest city in Morocco but one that gets millions of visitors every year due to its mu ltiple att ractions and unique location at the edge of the Atlas mountains and the desert By train this w as a da y lo ng adventure trains run every 2 hours from the main Casablanca station and 2nd class tickets economy cost only 90 Dirhams one way about 10 CAD T he trip is about 3 and 1 4 hours long Want to play Sardines At the train station many travellers tourists and Moroccans alike were heading to Marrakech We d been warned that there is no limit to the number of 2nd class tickets sold s o it is always possible that you will have to spend the entire jo urney standing crammed into the small hallway th at edges the compartments in each train car It turns out that day was one such day W e crushed onto the train peered into already full compartments then resigned settled in for the long journey with l ittle air and nothing to si t on Despite trying to up grade to 1st class we were informed all the tickets there were sold out limited number of tickets if you re w illin g to pay more for the privilege I t was so busy because the folks that go home for Eid ad Adha return anytime over a period of a bout 2 w eeks surrounding the holiday Additionally the term vacation for students happened to coincide with our travel date Sigh Needless to say Elena and I w ere very hot and tired b y the time we reached Marra kech al though we saw some great scenery on the way there which we would have missed in a squi shed compartment the only advantage is sitting We also played a game of things that could be worse which light ened the mood and put things in pers pective ask me if you re curio us Majo relle Gardens We decided our first stop in Marrakech would be the Majorelle Gardens owned and renovated by Yves Saint Laurent Once we got a taxi to the gates we s at down and had lunch at a tren dy read tourist price y restaurant The chicken tagine was good but the servings and prices were steep compared to Casa One of the ne at things about Marrakech in general was the mass ive numbers of tourists present even this late into the fall Instead of being one of these things is not like the others we actually fit in Quite differe nt even from Rabat and Casa The gardens are beautiful Upon entering the peace and quiet of the walled gardens surrounds and was hes over you The winding paths past different types of palm tr ees ca cti and calm po nds transport you to a different place The birds welcome you with th eir melodies There is also a Berber museum within the gardens a cafe and an exhibit of all of the L OVE card designs YSL sent to his friend s and clients each new year Very pretty J em aa el Fnaa Decid ing we could easily walk to the Medina next was not a good idea Miscalculated that one by a couple kilometers But we e ventually found the Kouto ubia Mosque and the Jem aa el Fnaa square Originally the place w here public executions were held it has been a marketplace for hund reds of years In particular it has an overwhelming number of entertain ers musicians snake charmers mon keys in chains st or ytellers folks w earing traditional garb for photos etc We quickly bypassed the snake men and wandered through some of the narrowstreets of the souks T here are multiple souks specific to each t ype of good you are look ing for like olives spices carpets jew elry lanterns and many more but right a rou nd the square you can find a great variety of stalls The merchants are impressive polyglots too perhaps not perfectly fluent but they can shout their wares in French English Arabic Span ish even some Italian and German here and there After a wandering we followe d sound advice and found a hotel that had a roo ftop caf é overlooking the square where we took a break watched the sun set and the stalls in the square start to light up A bit of purpose ful shopping followed then we had the headac he of trying to find a taxi wi lling to use their meter required by law ahem to take us to the train station during rush hour No luck E nded up getting a grand taxi willing to take us for 30 D h It seems food prices aren t the only inflated things in Marrakech First Class best choice With only a few minutes to spare we decided on first class ti ckets for the return journey and some surprisingly speedy Mc D onald s take out from the train station It was a pleasant journey back to Casa sharing the compartment with a family and another young woman Tags MEDA Interns 2012 Economic Opportunities Youth Communication Development Intern Sightseeing Continue reading Morocco 5105 Hits Wednesday 16 January 2013 The Oriental Express 2 0 Caitlin MacDougall Communication Development Intern Financial Services I recently got to experience my f irst trip on the night tr ain to Oujda where the satellite office of MEDA Maroc is located It is a 10 hour overnight trip from Casablanca to Oujda by train which travels via Rabat Fe s and a few smaller s tops before reaching the end of the line in Ouj da a mere 15 kms from the Al gerian border and 60 kms f r om the Mediterranean B ecause it is the eastern most part of Morocco this region is referred to as the Oriental region hence the Oriental Express 2 0 title Not the origi nal but not in accurate Left A mural near the Moulay Slimane Foundation centre for sustaining traditional arts I set off o n my adventure in good company one of the other interns from our office was heading up to Oujda along with her YEN s upervisor who played a role in starting the impact assessment of the 100 hours to success program MEDA Maroc has successfully been running since 20 09 Other staff had already arrived in Oujda earlier in the we ek while we were at the YEN clin ic my co intern co organized and the pilot of the impact assessment study was starting the following mor ning We boarded the train in the dark E and I were lucky to be booked together into a compartment with a small c ouc h to sit on between the beds rather than the very tight bunk be d set up in the adjacent compartments Not to say there was a lot of room to stretch I tried to get a decent night s sleep but I found the noise and the motion and the foreign ness of the whole experience too distracting I think I mostly cat napped Tags MEDA Interns 2012 Economic Opportunities Youth Communication Development Intern Internship Experience Continue reading Morocco 5096 Hits Wednesday 16 January 2013 In the Field Meeting Clients Practising my German Caitlin MacDougall Communication Development Intern Financial Services The past two weeks have been a flurry of activities throughout MEDA Maroc s offices which was marked by visits from MEDA staff from Europe and Canada a Monitoring Evaluation Clinic organized by the two YEN interns in Morocco Elena and Rémi my fellow Canadians a field trip to Tiflet and Rabat to meet with beneficiaries and partners and a trip to our Oujda office for interviews and to observe the start of our impact assessment baseline survey I ll start with the trip to Tiflet and Rabat and write about the Oujda trip will be my next blog post Tiflet and Rabat with MEDA Europe Germans having lunch at Sqala a Moroccan restaurant To start off two weeks ago I spend Friday and Saturday assisting a small group of Germans engaged in MEDA activities in Europe tour Casablanca Rabat and Tiflet The group was led by the main MEDA Europe staffperson my Communications supervisor and a tour guide to translate from Arabic to German We hired a bus to take us around and late on Friday afternoon after stopping to ask a dozen people for directions we arrived at the Tiflet ARDI one of our partner organizations office where the group was introduced to over a dozen beneficiaries of one of our financial services training programs We then visited the bakery of one of the beneficiaries which he learned to better manage and thus make it more profitable before heading back to Rabat for supper and a good night s rest Saturday saw us heading back to Tiflet about 1 hour from Rabat further inland to visit the kindergarten and after school program another client created after his training The have approximately 50 kids benefiting from the program from pre school aged to high school aged children We also got a magic show from a beneficiary who animates events and birthday parties Our next stop was a carpet store where a brother and sister who took the training do some interesting business The brother creates contemporary carpet designs and sends them to women weavers in the area who produce the carpets The sister designs and makes clothing as well as household bamboo furniture The two also source traditional Berber carpets and sell them I was very tempted to buy something but I was too indecisive Left Beneficiaries at the Tiflet ARDI office Right Some of the carpet designs the young man created It was great to see what young people my contem poraries are able to do and how they have created innovative ways to support themselves and their families They re not rich but they re not unemployed unlike 30 of Moroccan youth aged 15 29 according to World Bank estimates and they re doing something that they enjoy and is productive that sounds like success The Germans were very interested in the youths businesses and asked tons of questions Unfortunately and I must say for the first time really since coming here I was the person who went around but understood very little the kids and partners would speak Arabic then the interpreter would directly translate into German Since I only know a handful of Arabic and I seem to have forgotten all the important words I once upon a time knew from two semesters in Herr Schmidt s class I mo stly just followed along and asked for explanations from my co worker when she was nearby Since I talk to everyone here in French I kept trying to ask the Germans questions in French but mostly they spoke English as a second language not French which again was confusing It felt very odd to be that person but the trip was very interesting and gave me a chance to meet youth who benefited from our trainings What I found really intriguing was the fact that of the group of 11 Germans several of the men had brought their teenaged children along In fact 4 of the 11 were under the age of 20 One of the dads explained to be on the first day that they had brought them along because they thought it would a good chance for their kids to learn about the lives of youth in

    Original URL path: http://meda.org/intern-blogs-yc/blogger/caitlin-macdougall (2016-02-17)
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  • First week adventures: cockroaches, communications and coordination - MEDA
    create a certain aroma They do collect it regularly and there are street cleaners but you appreciate your recycling and compost at home more when you don t have access to either there are feral cats This might seem obvious to some people but I ve seen dozens of cats all over the city Not house cats wild cats A mother cat even gave birth in the hall in our office building The kittens were adorable but sadly they had been displaced when we came in on Monday Pictured right I walked to the Hassan II Mosque one evening it is stunning Communication Development Internship The whole reason I am in Casablanca for six months is to work as the Communication Development Intern with MEDA Mennonite Economic Development Associates Maroc office I started on Monday and they ve been letting me get acclimatized but I did learn what my tasks will be for the duration of the internship and they sound both challenging and fun I ll be writing up financial success stories about youth that have participated in the YouthInvest program 3 per month which will involve monthly trips to Oujda where MEDA Maroc has a regional office to interview youth Did I mention it is a 10 hour train ride overnight to get there It will be a great opportunity to travel and see more of the country I ll also work on the English version of the newsletter help with a study they will be doing and help put together a document that details all of the financial services for youth in Morocco This will be the biggest job to take on I ll also help with additional communications work as needed and help do some knowledge management for MEDA Cockroaches Now you want to know why I put cockroaches in the title That s because having never seen any before arriving in Morocco I have now had to dispose of two of these intensely gross huge FAST bugs The first was pretty dopey so maybe it was on the way out anyways but I helped him out by tossing him out the window The second was much more creepy as I watched it race through our apartment living room and into the kitchen Then while I tried to figure out how to catch or kill it it raced to our bathroom Crouching under the sink with the cabinets open I managed to stun hit it several times with the dustpan before quickly scooping it up and flushing it down the toilet No one warned me about cockroaches before I arrived Shudder Coordination I am quickly getting settled in to life here in Morocco Having a roommate who is also an intern has been really helpful she arrived before me and has helped me learn and adapt quickly to the neighbourhood The apartment is furnished but for my own peace of mind I bought sheets and a new pillow for my bed I don t know where

    Original URL path: http://meda.org/intern-blogs-yc/entry/first-week-adventures-cockroaches-communications-and-coordination (2016-02-17)
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