Meet PEAT, the Project Evaluation and Assessment Team. PEAT is a joint-internship program between the Sociology Department and International Development Minor in the Kennedy Center for International Studies. Created in 2009, PEAT was designed to facilitate "real world," evaluation-based internships for talented students and to provide them a platform for experiential learning.
PEAT trains students in evaluation and assessment techniques and then contracts their services to NGOs (non-governmental organizations) across the globe. Some of the hard skills interns are trained in include quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis, impact and needs assessment, logic modeling, professional writing and editing, and training for statistical software. Interns can also anticipate training in skills ranging from GIS mapping, advanced statistical analysis, and program management based on the specific needs of their partner organization. PEAT's emphasis on immersive training and specialized skill development lets interns gain marketable skills in project management and data conceptualization, and gives NGOs access to professional grade evaluation services.
After a semester of basic skills training in the fall, interns spend a winter semester working in concert with their organization and developing their project. The specialized skill training that stems from this coordination is a critical step in PEAT's success quantifying programs' impact, developing stronger programs, and informing critical decision making with organizations across the world.
To date, PEAT has provided approximately 54 interns to over 19 organizations operating in countries across the world.
For more information, you can find us on our Kennedy Center Portal.
For applications, specific questions, and other information, future interns and NGO's can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you soon!
Chelsea Gould and Macie Bayer went to Malawi to evaluate Nu Skin's agricultural school, SAFI (School of Agriculture for Family Independence). This is the second evaluation PEAT has done for this program, the first being Summer 2013. Nu Skin has been very receptive to these evaluations and wants this program to be the most effective it can be. Although the summer had just recently began, Macie already had this to say about her experience: "I am participating in an internship that I hope will help me develop useful skills and am so excited to learn about a beautiful and interesting culture. I hope to grow and learn and fail and have the courage to keep trying. I know that if anyone's life is changing, it is mine...I have already learned some things that have filled pages and pages in my journal."
PEAT gives BYU students opportunities to apply and develop their sociology skills in the real world. In the summer of 2010, sociology major Keaton Robertson and his partner Jaren Meldrum conducted an evaluation of the Kaberamaido Cooperative and the Asayo's Wish Foundation, organizations that work together in Kaberamaido, Uganda to help widows and orphans that have been left destitute after decades of civil war, disease, and poverty. In their evaluation, the interns created a way to track the progress of the widows and orphans each year and subsequently help the founders as they make decisions to grow and expand their organizations. They trained the in-country staff of both organizations to conduct semi-structured interviews and, with their help, oversaw 200 interviews and compiled, analyzed, and presented the resulting data to the staff and founders. The interns found areas where both organizations could better meet the needs of the widows and orphans and offered solutions specific to each organization's needs. The students benefited just as much as the organizations they served. Keaton says, "My experience with PEAT was awesome! The skills I learned through this internship are irreplaceable and will significantly help me as I apply for graduate school and other internships.
Rachel Fisher, BYU sociology major, highly values her PEAT internship experience in Kiev, Ukraine: "My experience with PEAT was an amazing opportunity. This kind of work is extremely rewarding. I was able to learn about real social issues while simultaneously taking action by helping the organization, Courage to Hope, improve their efforts combating domestic violence. I gained real practical skills that will greatly benefit my future career and education goals." Rachel and her partner, Rilee Buttars, conducted a needs assessment for Courage to Hope by interviewing many relevant stakeholders from ministry officials to victims, professors to psychologists working with the issue of domestic violence. They feel that they were able to gather substantial data that will not only inform the organization's future decision-making, but add to the understanding of how evaluation can help NGOs and the development field as a whole. Rachel also loved the level of independence she felt in doing something really worthwhile. "My research partner and I created and led the evaluation ourselves," she says. "We weren't babysat or doing grunt work. This internship truly is a great opportunity to begin the transition from student to professional."
Kyle Nelson conducted an evaluation of HELP's partnerships in Hyderabad, India. Kyle's research with HELP's local Indian partners will lead to the NGO's growth and success in the complicated development context of India. Kyle also had the chance to look in depth at some of the projects that these partnerships have already produced in the past, including soilets (a new latrine technology), community water wells, and public health campaign for rural women. His findings allowed HELP and its partners to more thoroughly understand how to adapt these technologies to the local beneficiaries' needs, which in turn allowed HELP to successfully construct over 30 more soilets and dig 12 more community wells in Hyderabad's urban slums. When asked what he learned from his PEAT internship, Kyle responded, "Wow. Everything." From critical thinking to working together with vastly different people to conducting professional research and evaluation, Kyle values the "real-world, practical experience" and learning he gained through his PEAT internship.
Bronwen Dromey and Chloe Litchfield
Bronwen helped a cohort of NGOs that provided a shadow report on the status of women for the UN. The shadow report is meant to check the accuracy of the government's initial report. Bronwen and Chloe partnered with an international lawyer, as well as multiple local organizations, in order to create this report. They evaluated the effectiveness and accuracy of the first report done with a focus on domestic violence. Speaking about her project, Bronwen said, "It is no exaggeration to say that my participation in this project has changed my career goals, perception of the world, and my hopes for the future... Easily my favorite part of my summer in Cambodia was the project itself. I genuinely loved going to work every day and conducting interviews with leaders of local NGO's to find out what the major issues facing women in Cambodia are today. I do feel incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to use the skills that I have learned throughout my undergraduate degree in Sociology and minor in International Development to contribute to something worthy of recognition from people who are in a position to make decisions that will have real implications for the population of women in Cambodia."