Too many anecdotes to list, but I think the most important insights from it are two-fold: the first is that it is impossible to predict what information will prove useful, and why, so best to soak everything up. Some of the sessions which seemed of greatest practical use didn’t end up having a role in the work I did in Tajikistan, while other lessons came back to me in surprising ways. The second insight is how valuable the friendships are that you form in that one month – it doesn’t feel like a lot of time, but the intensity of it brings you together with your fellow Fellows, ensuring that you’ve got a network of fellow Fellows to compare notes with while on your Fellowship.
Ensuring that I had sufficient reading material!
Hot, dusty, dramatic, beautiful, and perhaps somewhat strange. Everything seems a little strange after getting off a plane at 5AM on the other side of the world.
I tried many things that were new to me, but my favourite was Tajik naan. When it’s fresh from the oven, it is a revelation. I can (and did) eat endless amounts of it, enjoying it with almost every meal of the day.
I worked with Mountain Societies Development Support Programme, based in Khorog, Tajikistan. I had a variety of roles, centred around project management and monitoring and evaluation. That encompassed a very wide range of activities, including drafting annual or semi-annual progress updates on particular projects, measuring results against established metrics, developing organizational monitoring and evaluation frameworks, and contributing to new grant proposals.
Go with an open mind, and be prepared to learn a lot! Learn from those around you, and get involved with the things that interest you most. Learning opportunities are always there to be seized, and those eight months will go by surprisingly quickly.
I’m currently working as a policy analyst with Natural Resources Canada’s International Energy Division.