Developing a New Lens to Understand the World of International Development

Chelsea Segal

September 5, 2018

I am originally from Miami, Florida. I did my graduation in sociology and social work in California. Then I moved to the Peace Corps, which is a U.S. government agency project, where they send volunteers to other countries for two to three years. While working in Panama for three years in the development sector, my main aim was on gaining leadership and life skills. During my time there, I was teaching sex education and reproductive health to the youth in Panama. I have also taught English and trained teachers on how to improve their teaching methodologies.

I am studying public administration, in the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, but the focus is definitely on the international development realm. So a lot of my classes are focused on globalization and how organizations should work in the world that we live in which is kind of how I found my way into this program. I have my experience mostly in Latin America, and I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. I needed to have a new lens on the development and to understand how different NGOs work around the world and if this is a field I’m really going to get into, I should have a context of how the field of development works in different areas around the world.

For this project, we had an idea of reusable cloth pads. The main aim was to make it more affordable than other disposable pads. Apart from being cheaper, they are also environment-friendly. Along with this, the project aimed at training, capacity building and awareness building for women and men of the community. An NGO that we are working with is Mahan Seva Sansthan, in Bhakoomba. They have an artisan store as a part of their organization. The long-term goal of the project is to make women more aware about the reusable cloth pads and their usage so that they can start producing enough to sell to the women’s artisan group of the NGO and start on this business venture.

I think it’s an experience that a lot of people should take advantage of because you really learn a lot about yourself and how you work in different atmospheres.

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MYgrateU is a medium for sharing the experiences of the students who have been part of IIMU’s ‘Summer School for Future Leaders in Development’ program. Under the program, students from various foreign and Indian universities and early career development professionals come to IIM Udaipur for a six-week course organized by the Center for Development Policy and Management, IIM Udaipur and the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, USA.