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Meet Our 2015 International Development Design Summit Monitoring & Evaluation Fellows

Monday, June 15, 2015
Lauren McKown

Meet our summer monitoring and evaluation fellows: Jimena Espinosa on the left and Laura Lehman on the right.

With just one week until our first International Development Design Summit of the year begins, the IDIN team is gearing up for a busy summer! This year, we’re thrilled to have two Monitoring and Evaluation Fellows on board to help us track, measure, and learn from this year’s design summits.

Recently, we chatted with those fellows—Jimena Espinosa and Laura Lehman, two Master of Public Administration in Development Practice students at Columbia University—to learn more about their role at the summits as well as what they would build if they had infinite resources and skills.


We’re so excited to have you on board! Which summit will you be attending and what is your role there?

Jimena: I am a monitoring and evaluation fellow for the IDDS Aarogyam summit in India.

Laura: And I’m a monitoring and evaluation fellow for IDDS Zero Waste in Colombia and IDDS D’Kar in Botswana.



What are you most interested to learn, explore, or discover about IDDS in the monitoring and evaluation process?

Jimena: For me, the most interesting thing about the process will be seeing how different people from different backgrounds work together in a very different environment than what they’re used to working in, and also a very different process to what they are used to in design or making of a prototype. I also want to see how the different teams work together and how their dynamics evolve during the summit and after the summit.

And then how does each summit translate into a learning experience for IDIN? How does what we learn make IDIN grow, change, and evolve.

Laura: I am very interested in IDDS’s approach to teaching and learning in a hands-on and grassroots way, bringing together community members with people around the world. I’m also very interested in the topics of the summits that I’m going to. The zero waste topic is very relevant and important to me. In terms of monitoring and evaluation, I’m very interested to see how participant evolve from beginning to end, especially community members.


On a personal level, what part of IDDS are you most excited about?

Jimena: I’m very excited about getting to know all the people who will be there. And also, I’m interested in how the project cycle management (used in our master in development practice program) maps onto the design cycle at IDDS. I’m very interested in hands-on experience—the problem appraisal, the design, the implementation and the monitoring and evaluation from the IDIN side of things.

Laura: I’m very excited to be going to two countries that I’ve never been to, and to be meeting such a vast array of people who are so motivated and so excited and have put so much work into this on a volunteer basis. I’m excited to be around such a diverse group of people. I also used to work in a community organizing capacity, and this is reminiscent of that in its own way, so I’m excited to get back into that mode for a while.


If you could build anything, what would it be?

Jimena: If I had no constraints, I'd build a quality, dignified, accessible for all public transportation system for Mexico City. Ambitious! But it would make millions of incredible people much more happy, relaxed and owners of their own time.

Laura: I would build a completely self-sustaining house. I read about these things called “earthships” that they’re building in Arizona and places like that. They reuse their own water multiple times. It would be amazing to have a house that wouldn’t be on the grid, or a house that was just partly on the grid. You see these in more rural areas, but it would cool if they were even in cities.