This will probably be the only time I talk about my role because it’s not near as fascinating as the clients’ stories. All of you know I just finished graduate school where I studied community counseling, a program that’s mainly focused on learning how to do therapy. And to my surprise my first opportunity out of grad school is in program development and statistics as a social worker. Haha! They’re using a outcome measure for the first time (for all 2009 labourers) and it’s my responsibility to enter all the data, analyze it, and provide a report for the purpose of program development. Instead of creating a project based off what I THINK the department needs I want to wait for the results of these outcome measures and take a outcome-directed approach. For example, so far health/hygiene is the lowest scoring section for the labourers. If after entering all the data, health and hygiene comes out on top as a an area that is significantly lower than others, then as a department we should evaluate the content of our trainings and home visits pertaining to health/hygiene. Another part of my job is to compare assessments (i.e., pretest-posttest measure, strengths assessment, functional assessment, and successful outcome measure) for consistency in topic, scale, and objectivity. And I already told you that Alex and I assist the case managers with their caseload. This is my role for now, but I have to keep reminding myself of the fact that IJM is a developing NGO— and for that reason, we could be asked to do all sorts of different tasks in the weeks to come; my role is subject to change depending on the evolving needs of the department.
As fellows, we function mostly as consultants to International Justice Mission. It’s really a dream job in so many ways. Isn’t it irritating to see areas of needed improvement in your workplace and to feel as if you can’t say anything because it will offend someone or it won’t be welcomed? Wouldn’t you want to be in a job setting that allows you to present your ideas to people who aren’t so bogged down with following a monotonous routine because of funding or lack of flexibility? How often is that the case? Not very often from what I can tell. Most people have to wait and build relationships with staff before offering new ideas- without promise of if they’ll be taken into consideration (I accept this as the norm though and reasonably so). This is the sort of window of opportunity I have with IJM. They expect us to come in and take an innovative and creative stance as we think about how we want to contribute to their work. Without reservation they’re OPEN to hearing me out and discussing my ideas. What a positive experience for a novice counselor!