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Feb. 6, 2024

Student view: Making a global impact

Fahim Safi works for a nonprofit organization that implements United States Agency for International Development, or USAID, funded humanitarian and international development programs. While traveling around the world, Safi is also pursuing a graduate degree through MSU’s Program Evaluation online program.

Fahim Safi
Fahim Safi. Courtesy photo.

I have been working in the field of international development for several years. My focus is on various USAID funded development and humanitarian projects that are aimed at promoting sustainable development and social progress in underserved communities in Africa and Middle Eastern countries. 

Currently, I have been actively involved in projects specifically supporting teams in designing and conducting program evaluation, as well as building capacity in country local staffs to conduct monitoring and evaluation activities for the projects.

Program evaluation is the systematic process of assessing the design, implementation and outcomes of development programs to determine their effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability. It involves the rigorous collection and analysis of data to measure the impact of interventions, identify areas for improvement and inform evidence-based decision-making for future initiatives.

What I find most compelling about program evaluation is its capacity to provide meaningful insights into the effectiveness of development interventions. By utilizing various evaluation tools and methodologies, we can gain a comprehensive understanding of the impact of our work, identify successful strategies and implement data-driven improvements to create lasting and sustainable change in communities. 

Through my involvement in the USAID funded projects and my expertise in program evaluation, I have been able to contribute to the development and implementation of effective food security, agriculture, health, nutrition and WASH programs in various African and Middle Eastern countries. By leveraging data-driven insights and evidence-based recommendations, I have supported the design of initiatives that promote inclusive and equitable education, empowering individuals, and communities to thrive and achieve their full potential.

My passion for driving impactful change and my commitment to ensuring the effectiveness of development initiatives led me to pursue further education in program evaluation. I recognized the need for a comprehensive understanding of program evaluation methodologies, data analysis techniques and result-oriented approaches to accurately assess the impact of various projects and facilitate informed decision-making. 

My frequent travel commitments due to my job made it challenging to enroll in an in-person program. Opting for MSU's Program Evaluation online degree program enabled me to balance my academic pursuits with my professional job requirements. The program's flexible online structure provided me with the opportunity to engage in advanced learning without compromising my travel schedule. Additionally, MSU has renowned faculty who have extensive program evaluation experience in the field, it has comprehensive curriculum relevant to my job, and it emphasizes practical applications and real-world experiences. The program's focus on global perspectives and its alignment with my career aspirations in international development made it the ideal choice for advancing my skills and expertise in the field of program evaluation at MSU. 

Being part of the MSU Program Evaluation signifies my commitment to upholding the highest standards of evaluation practices and contributing to the advancement of global development initiatives. It represents an opportunity to collaborate with like-minded professionals, engage in critical discussions and contribute to the ongoing evolution of evaluation methodologies for sustainable impact. 

For individuals aspiring to make a global impact, I would encourage others to cultivate a strong understanding of the local context, engage with diverse stakeholders and prioritize community participation in the design and evaluation of development programs. Emphasizing the significance of data-driven decision-making and fostering sustainable partnerships can create a lasting and positive impact on the lives of individuals and communities worldwide. 

This story was adapted from an article on the Department of Psychology website.

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