Alumni Spotlight: Raina Zantout – MEAL Expert and Regional Representative, WASH for Life – Beirut, Lebanon

Since my time at the University of Florida (MDP graduate 2014, Cohort 3), I have been working primarily in Monitoring and Evaluation in both development and humanitarian response. I currently work as a MEAL (Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning) Expert and Regional Representative for WASH for Life (, a global consortium of WASH (Water and Sanitation Hygiene) professionals. My role is to design tools and methodologies and conduct evaluations of WASH programs in the Middle East, North Africa and Francophone Africa.

I am based out of Beirut, Lebanon, although lately I am working elsewhere or traveling. My work has focused primarily on the Syrian emergency refugee response, post-Ebola recovery, and WASH/health development projects. The MDP program with a Global Health focus helped me achieve success by teaching about the development context: types of successful and sustainable interventions; project failures over the years; terminology and approaches in global health; and best practices in data collection and management.

I spent two years working as a field-based MEAL Manager for iNGOs in emergency and post-emergency settings. It was my job to follow through on all tasks related to Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Learning. I gained tremendous experience through monitoring programs for challenges, gaps, impact, and relevance; I better understand the relationships between donors, partners and beneficiaries. I encourage beneficiary accountability through participatory program planning and a constant, monitored feedback loop.

My professional interests since my time at UF have remained roughly the same. I enjoyed my role as a cash distribution program manager, yet I lean towards WASH and health programming: safe wastewater reuse, sanitation/water infrastructure (hardware), hygiene outreach (software), and diarrheal and water-borne disease prevention. These days, I better understand the shifting role over time of iNGOs, the UN and other organizations, and I float between emergency and post-emergency programs.


MDP Alumni

Six cohorts–a total of 52 students–have now graduated from the University of Florida MDP program. Many Alumni have successfully secured jobs in the development field–NGO, government, private sector, 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.

Position TitleOrganizationLocation
Director of ResearchRoyal Hawaiian OrchardsOahu, Hawaii
MEAL Expert and Regional RepresentativeWASH for LifeLebanon
Program CoordinatorFundación RunaPeru
Project CoordinatorUniversity of Florida International Center - Water and Livelihoods Initiative in Northern AfricaGainesville, FL
Project ManagerCatholic Relief Services (CRS)Guatemala
Lead Community Health Worker for State of FloridaUnited HealthcareGainesville, FL
Program Manager, Women in AgricultureUniversity of MarylandCollege Park, MD
Operations ConsultantMission GuatemalaGuatemala
Senior Manager of Search and SelectionEchoing GreenNew York City
Assistant Director of DevelopmentUniversity of Florida FoundationGainesville, FL
Associate LecturerSokoine University of Agriculture in the Department of Forest EconomicsTanzania
Consultant in Participatory Measurement Reporting and Verification (PMRV) Research ProjectCenter for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)West Kalimantan, Indonesia
Project OfficerDevelopment Alternatives Inc. (DAI)Washington, DC
Program OfficerSalvation ArmyWashington, DC
Program Coordinator, Youth Action NetInternational Youth FoundationBaltimore, MD
Uganda Country LiaisonChildren of the NationsOrlando, FL

MDP Alumni