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October 27, 2021 Courtney Carr No Comments

EvalYouth Voices: Spotlight on Antonina Rishko-Porcescu and Kaleem Ullah

Written by: Courtney Carr, Communications Specialist

The EnCompass Learning Center (ELC) is committed to strengthening communities and organizations through the use of evidence, learning, and leadership development. Our partnership with EvalYouth to provide scholarships for young and emerging evaluators is an important part of our Eval4Action commitments, and throughout this year we have been honored to feature some of the scholarship awardees. For this blog, we were pleased to catch up with two of our recent awardees: Antonina Rishko-Porcescu and Kaleem Ullah.

Antonina Rishko-Porcescu, PhD in Sociology, is a young evaluator with experience working with local, national, and international organizations on monitoring, evaluation, and learning support. She is enthusiastic about data visualization and meaningful youth participation in decision-making. Antonina is a founding member of the Ukrainian Evaluation Association, a founder and co-leader of EvalYouth ECA (Eastern Europe, Central Asia & South Caucasus), one of the former board members of Eurasian Alliance, former Vice-Chair of Global EvalYouth, and current member of EvalYouth Global Network and co-leader of the regional chapter.

Kaleem Ullah is a development professional with more than 4 years’ experience working in one of the most environmentally fragile and socioeconomically deprived parts of northern Pakistan. He has been working with the Aga Khan Rural Support Program in Gilgit-Baltistan, which is a pioneer in rural development with its vast network of community institutions represented and owned by the communities themselves. Over the years, he has worked with diverse donors including IFAD, the Government of Canada (GAC), UNFPA, WHO, European Commission, and others on a range of programs in areas such as food security, agriculture development, value chain, emergency response to COVID-19, sexual and reproductive health, family planning, women’s empowerment, skill development, and poverty alleviation. By working with diverse donors, he has acquired skills in project management, monitoring and evaluation, designing log frames, results frameworks, M&E systems, designing and rolling out surveys, and conducting evaluations for better implementation of projects to ensure value for money and effectiveness of interventions.

Antonina attended the Data Storytelling course with Andy Krackov, while Kaleem attended the Program Monitoring course with Kerry Bruce. They shared their experiences participating in the courses and how the ELC can help support their career goals.

How will participating in this ELC course support your career goals?

Antonina: I want to make the results of my evaluations usable and easy to comprehend, and I want to influence positive changes in communities.

Kaleem: Monitoring and evaluation is an integral part of the development sector, and with aid agencies learning and upgrading their systems to increase effectiveness, partner organizations are equally burdened to ensure funds are properly utilized and create an impact. This is where M&E comes in. My aim when I applied for this course was to acquaint myself with the necessary skills in M&E to ensure programs are effectively monitored and to ensure value for money and effectiveness at all levels. These skills are also relevant given the importance of monitoring both for the organizations I come from and for ensuring donor compliance. Moreover, through taking this course with the ELC, I met other M&E practitioners and learned from the vast experience they brought to the table, which will improve my own career progression. I appreciated being able to participate in this course while working in the field in Baltistan, one of the most remote and ecologically fragile regions in the world. The program monitoring skills I learned will be especially relevant to the region’s climate change and food security projects, which are vital given the anticipated effects of climate change on the region’s large glaciers.

Program Monitoring has additional relevance in the context which align specifically to projects on food security and climate change given the region’s situation at the foot of some of the largest glaciers outside the polar region, which are at the mercy of climate change.

Our participants love to learn from one another. What skill/perspective/experience did you bring to your course that may be helpful to others?

Antonina: I like visualizing data and working on a nice view of reports/analysis. Also, I am continuously trying to bring more big data analysis (or analysis with coding) to my reviews and analyses, but more should be done.

Kaleem: This ELC scholarship equipped me with necessary M&E tools and concepts. Such world-class mentoring is beyond imagination for someone sitting thousands of miles away in one of the remotest and harshest parts of the world. By employing what I learned, I can make a difference at the organizational level and at the personal level (with the satisfaction that I am growing and contributing my part to ensuring efficacy). This will also add value to my work where I can showcase my abilities to peers and donors and reflect the same in documenting evidence-based monitoring to ensure results.

Join the ELC community

We look forward to welcoming more young and emerging evaluators to our courses through this partnership with EvalYouth and the scholarship program. To hear about upcoming ELC courses, scholarships, and other news, please sign up for our ELC mailing list and look at our Course Catalog.

Courtney Carr

Communications Specialist Courtney Carr is EnCompass’ Communications Specialist, supporting the internal and external messaging and communications initiatives. She brings her knowledge and skills in writing, social media, video production, event planning and television news and radio production to the position. Before joining EnCompass, Ms. Carr worked at Community Science as a business development coordinator. She received her BA in Broadcast Journalism at Pennsylvania State University and holds a MA in Strategic Communication from American University.

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