Four cohorts–a total of 38 students–have now graduated from the University of Florida MDP program. Many Alumni have successfully secured jobs in the development field–NGO, government, and research positions–while others have opted to continue in higher education, successfully gaining admittance to PhD programs related to international research and development. Although the following list of UF MDP alumni placements is not comprehensive, it gives an idea of what kinds of professional and academic positions one can expect to attain after completing the MDP program.
|Country Director||Water is Life International||Ethiopia|
|Program Coordinator||Fundacion Runa||Peru|
|Project Coordinator||University of Florida International Center - Water and Livelihoods Initiative in Northern Africa||Gainesville, FL|
|NGO Director, Research Coordinator of Program Evaluations||University of Florida, Department of Agriculture Education and Communication||Gainesville, FL; Kenya|
|Project Manager||Catholic Relief Services (CRS)||Guatemala City, Guatemala|
|Operations Consultant||Mission Guatemala||Guatemala|
|Executive Assistant||Echoing Green||New York City|
|Grant Researcher||Meridian, Inc.||Gainesville, FL|
|Associate Lecturer||Sokoine University of Agriculture in the Department of Forest Economics||Tanzania|
|Consultant in Participatory Measurement Reporting and Verification (PMRV) Research Project||Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)||West Kalimantan, Indonesia|
|Gender Research Intern||University of Florida||Gainesville, FL|
|PhD Student||Wageningen University||Holland|
|PhD Student||University of Florida, Department of Geography||Gainesville, FL|
|PhD Student||University of South Carolina, Department of Sociology||South Carolina, Senegal|
Alumni Spotlight: Stephenie Chatfield – Country Director, Water is Life International – Ethiopia
Stephenie Chatfield (UF MDP Cohort 2) is currently the Water and Sanitation (WASH) Coordinator for Water is Life International: an international NGO based in Orlando, FL whose mission it is to facilitate the provision of water, sanitation, and hygiene services to impoverished communities throughout Ethiopia. In her role as WASH Coordinator, she is responsible for the management of ongoing well-drilling and community-based sanitation projects, the implementation of the Sustainable Living Group initiative, communication between in-country partners and Water is Life staff, and the strategic development of WASH materials. She travels between rural project areas in southern Ethiopia to facilitate with community members and implementation staff, and Addis Ababa to meet and plan with key in-country partners. The purpose of this role is to ensure the fulfillment of Water is Life International’s mission and specific project objectives, to promote quality, sustainability, and respect in our projects, and to ensure that community members receive the most benefit from our work.
Stephenie says, “The MDP program prepared me in many ways for my current role with Water is Life International. More than anything, through the MDP program I garnered a more analytical mind in regards to development programs, and an appreciation for the value of participatory techniques and true sustainability. The MDP program prepared me practically for my current job by improving my writing skills specifically in regards to proposals and concept notes, by giving me the necessary tools to navigate cross-cultural communication and coordination, and allowing me the space to develop my own ethos and views on development topics and issues. I learned and grew through the MDP program more than I ever hoped, and I know it has directly benefited me in my current job.”
Alumni Spotlight: Erica Odera – Director of Rural Empowerment and Development Innovations, Inc. – Kenya
“As an MDP student and now graduate, my driving passion is to pursue work that improves the lives of those living in poverty in the developing world. Since 2010, I have been working on assisting a small-scale women’s business with my husband Levy, a Kenyan native and small business expert. Together, and through our nonprofit organization named Rural Empowerment and Development Innovations, Inc. we work directly with a women’s group located in western Kenya. Their name is Wakonyre, which in the Swahili languages means “we help ourselves,” and their group does just that. They took the initiative to contact us (Levy had worked with them previously a few years ago) and asked for our technical assistance to help them start a poultry farming business. We agreed, and last summer we took nearly one dozen UF students, recent graduates, and a team of students and faculty from students and faculty from Valdosta State University along with us to Katonde village, Kenya, located near Lake Victoria.
We hosted several hands on workshops covering the basics of business management and how to keep detailed logs of activities and costs. We are committed to working with the women long term and to see their business expand. In partnership with Valdosta State University’s ENACTUS student organization, a group of business students applying their skills to help small enterprises, we facilitated a small loan of $2,000 to the women’s group to begin their business. With that money they built a chicken coop and purchased 200 baby chicks in July. It has been nearly four months and the chickens have laid their first eggs. The women have done an excellent job caring for the chicks and only 6 chicks have died.
We are currently working on helping them plan for marketing and distribution of their new eggs.
My personal experience and education in MDP really prepared me to take on this new adventure, particularly my training in learning how to develop a business plan, how to run hands on workshops, and developing grant proposals. I actually wrote the initial proposal for this project while in Dr. Galloway’s Development Administration course. However and perhaps most importantly, my field practicum in Botswana really gave me confidence in how to work directly with a rural village community, how to work in a diverse team and how to learn to “go with the flow” when plans inevitably change!”