Our ‘60 Seconds with…’ blogs are designed to provide a quick run down of what our staff do here at Itad. Here is what Vishal had to say…
What’s your job here at Itad?
I am a consultant in the social protection and rural livelihoods thematic area.
What does that involve?
Working on projects providing technical guidance and support. This can involve conceptualising a design of a methodology, be it for a monitoring or evaluation project. It also involves supporting a team, both based in a country project overseas and elsewhere, to implement the project with guidance and support from Itad. At the moment I am helping to develop a portfolio of projects that fit closely in the thematic area that I work in and have prior experience in.
How did you get into the field?
A dose of determination, patience and luck! After finishing my Masters at SOAS I was lucky enough to get an opportunity to work on a DFID livelihoods and extreme poverty reduction project in Bangladesh. I was recruited as a ‘Young Professional’ to work in the Dhaka based project office, and my role later evolved into an M&E Advisor role. The opportunity gave me the chance to travel to some very remote rural communities and talk to people about their lives from which I learnt a great deal about the complexities of extreme poverty as described by people living in that particular condition – a very humbling experience! I worked in Bangladesh for 3 years and left after feeling I had fulfilled as much as I could in that particular capacity and shortly found an opportunity at Itad.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy being exposed to a variety of new methods and approaches to monitoring and evaluating that I’ve never heard of! I’m also excited by the scope to develop a portfolio of diverse projects that are interesting to me. I’m keen to learn how different development projects are implemented in different contexts, countries and with different donors/clients.
What new methods have you noticed in your sector?
I’ve come across a lot of new methods mentioned at Itad that I’ve never previously heard of including the cryptic ‘realist evaluation’. Process evaluation, as a specific sub-set of an evaluative methodology is also new to me. Additionally whilst I’m aware of the DCED standard of monitoring for (primarily) M4P projects, it’s also an unfamiliar monitoring method which I’ve had some chance to work with. Of innovations that I am familiar with – adaptive programming. I worked on a monitoring tool in Bangladesh that utilised smart phones for real-time monitoring of livelihoods projects designed as a management tool to empower project implementing staff with up-to-date information on all of their beneficiaries. In fact I have written up a piece which has been published in the IDS Bulletin!
Recent job wins?
Still waiting to hear back from a couple of key bids! Fingers crossed!
Most interesting question you have been asked recently?
I always get asked ‘what was it like living in Dhaka?’ And that’s always an interesting question to me because I never seem to have the same answer to give!
Favourite place you have visited as part of your job?
Prior to Itad – every single nook and cranny of Bangladesh. Within my short time at Itad – I’ve visited Ghana twice.
Vishal Gadhavi, May 2015