Welcome to my blog

This week I am saying goodbye to family and friends as I prepare to live in Nairobi, Kenya for 8 months. Like many people who choose to leave home for an extended period of time, I’m learning how difficult it can be to summarize what I expect from my experience in a single conversation. I’m fairly introverted, and so I usually wait for people to ask me about my future plans, only to be disappointed at the end of the exchange because I didn’t get to express what I wanted. So it’s a good thing I’m starting a blog. I express myself best in writing, and for the next 8 months, I think I’ll have lots to say.

My name is Marc Lombardo and I am a fourth year undergraduate student at the University of Toronto Scarborough. I study International Development and Socio-Cultural Anthropology. I’m thrilled to say that in one week, I will be arriving in Nairobi, Kenya to begin an 8-month internship with the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) a Canadian NGO that partners with an organization called Windle Trust Kenya (WTK) to provide education for refugees.

I will have the privilege of working as a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Assistant with the Kenya Equity in Education Project (KEEP), a three-year initiative that WUSC and WTK are implementing under the UK’s Girl’s Education Challenge. (Sorry for the acronym overload…but welcome to the world of international development). While there, I will be supporting efforts to collect, organize, and analyze information on KEEP’s progress and provide project feedback. To get a sense of what all this entails, I’ll list here a few questions that I’ll be asking myself while on the job: How can we use qualitative and quantitative data to represent an organization’s impact on a group of people? What research methods are most appropriate for understanding a person’s lived experiences in relation to a development intervention, and how can these methods be employed ethically? And then, how can we take all this information and relay it to different audiences?

Before leaving Canada, I am doing my best to read about refugee life in East Africa and keep up with current events in Kenya. As I prepare, I realize more how little I understand as a Canadian entering a foreign context. My goal is to be humble and maintain an open mind as best as I can. This certainly will be a rewarding learning experience as I live, work, travel, and meet new people in this beautiful country, and so I’m delighted to be starting this new chapter of my life.

I’ll post an update after I arrive in Nairobi next week. Hopefully my writing style doesn’t prevent you from returning to read another post (I’m best at writing essays, not blogs!).

Until then,

Marc

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The views expressed in this blog are entirely my own and do not represent the views or opinions of the World University Service of Canada, the Kenya Equity in Education Project, or Windle Trust Kenya.