I am an evaluator from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, about to start a year-long contract in India. I started this blog as a way to share my experiences with capacity building, doing evaluation work in India, and living in a new and very different culture. I will also be writing about my time travelling during this year… I share my contract with another Canadian (an evaluator from the Ottawa region), which means I work just over half of the year, and get three periods of vacation of about 6 weeks each. The first one I will spend in Southeast Asia, the second is yet to be decided, and the third will home in Canada enjoying the summer without the daily 9 to 5 grind. My main man Jeff will be meeting up with me in time for my first vacation – in early December – so he has a few months to finish renovating (well, finish some of it anyway), and save some dough.
My position in India is based in Delhi. I will be helping to build evaluation capacity with members of the Department of Elementary Education of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT). Building capacity within this arms-length government organization is one objective of a comprehensive government scheme started in 2002 to improve access and quality of education for those 6 to 14 – see Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), http://ssa.nic.in/.
The aspect I work for specifically is the Technical Cooperation Fund, an agency funded by the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom – see http://www.ssatcfund.org/index/programme. In addition to the evaluation component that I am a part of, the agency also supports building capacity of the NCERT to do standardized testing, or learning assessment systems.
I worked in Delhi before in this same job for about 2 months, from September to November 2010. I came back pretty shell shocked, due to both the vast difference of the culture and the stress of the work to be done. This year should also be challenging, but not to the same extent. More details on that in later posts.
If all goes well, I will be leaving on September 16th – just over one week! However, I am currently waiting with bated breath for my passport to be sent to me with my business visa for India so my flight has not yet been booked(!). It’s my first full day at home since finishing my job and returning from a few days away visiting my family and friends in Edmonton and Kinuso… so I have to start organizing and packing! Jeff and I will be renting out rooms in our house to various friends through the year, including our own bedroom possibly, so in addition to getting ready for the year abroad I’ll have to make sure my stuff is out of the way in our bedroom. Good thing I just spent a few hours getting this blog set up 😉