I would say to people that Monitoring & Evaluation was handed to me, or I just found myself in Monitoring and Evaluation. I remember finding it hard to get along with work, working as a Research Assistant, transitioning to M&E without prior knowledge, and having no mentor or anyone to speak to. I had to teach myself and learn on the job.
You see, it’s one thing to learn on the job, and it’s another to have someone who has been on the job longer than you vet and validate what you do or have been doing. Hence, I decided to embark on an internship, but I wasn’t sure where to look- luckily, a friend sent me the Cloneshouse African Internship Program (CAIP), which I have now been on for 4 going on 5 months.
In this piece, I want to share my experience during the internship, lessons learned, milestones achieved, and important points to help. I hope that by sharing my experience, prospective interns or individuals new to the M&E space can benefit from the insights gained.
This was my personal experience between January to May 2023, and I urge you to read it all the way down.
Before embarking on this internship journey, I had worked as an M&E officer for a while, so I already had some sort of experience, but I wasn’t sure of what I knew or if what I was doing was absolutely on the right track, I was determined to learn and improve myself.
- Data Collection: I took courses while doing the internship, the first course was the Online Basic Monitoring and Evaluation course by Cloneshouse. This course taught basic principles that you would need to know while starting, you see it’s important to know when, how, and why to collect data, how to analyze it, and how to present it, especially because in presenting data, you need to be able to write and explain what you have done which is a key skill to have.
- Ability to research: Researching is such a big deal when it comes to M&E, you would need to find out information in your line of work, no one writes without referencing, for example, and so your ability to research not just research but find the right form of information is a key skill to have as well. This is why you would have to take the Online Results-Based Monitoring and Evaluation Course as an intern, now referred to as the Virtual Impact Evaluation Course. As an intern, these courses are available to you at NO COST, with the option of doing it at your pace during the subsistence of your internship. With this course, I struggled in the first few weeks, it was overwhelming because it had so much information, rich and relevant topics that one would have to learn in a short time span, and mentorship sessions where things were adequately discussed- but the beauty of it was the fact that resources (presentation and books) were provided to better aid learning. This course was deeper than the basic one, I also had to submit assignments making the experience all the more intense, that way, you would learn and show what you have learned.
- Believing in Yourself: One critical skill I discovered during the internship was the importance of believing in oneself and one’s abilities. You see, I would always do this assignment and doubt that I had done it right, whereas every time, I would look at my workings and see that I was on the right track and had done exactly what was needed.
This internship experience improved my skills and showed me that I have the skills, I have the ability, I am doing great, and most importantly strengthened my resolve to continue on this M&E journey because, fun fact, I was looking to run away and move to another career path because I wasn’t sure of my abilities. One of the many things I particularly loved on this journey was the Brown Bag sessions, where I met with other M&E professionals while addressing important topics regarding monitoring and evaluation, the feedback received during these sessions helped me identify areas for improvement and provided real-life experiences to learn from. Additionally, working on a proposal for a new project alongside my team members allowed me to apply my knowledge and collaborate with colleagues, creating a supportive work family.
If I could successfully complete this internship and grow my skills, you can!!! The experience at Cloneshouse has been invaluable, allowing me to enhance my M&E skills, gain confidence, and build meaningful connections within the field. I encourage aspiring M&E professionals to pursue internships and continue on this fulfilling personal and professional growth journey.
About the Author
Temitope Monyeh is a skilled professional in Monitoring and Evaluation, Data Analysis, Data Entry, Business Intelligence, and Statistics. With a passion for utilizing data-driven approaches to inform decision-making and drive organizational growth, Temitope has developed strong M&E and data management expertise.