Techchange Alumnus Zach Tilton reflects on why he enrolled in our M&E Diploma program and what he gained from the experience.
Q: Tell us about yourself.
A: I am a 13th-generation Floridian, a Returned Mormon Missionary (Las Vegas, 07-09) a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Morocco, 13-15), a Rotary Peace Fellow (Class XV, Bradford, UK, 16-17), a surfer, a skateboarder, a husband, and a father. My educational background and professional experience lie at the intersection of peacebuilding, evaluation, and technology. I am currently a Monitoring and Evaluation Fellow with the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) at the United Nations Foundation, where I support the generation of evidence for what works in ICT4D initiatives by implementing organizational M&E systems, facilitating internal learning exercises, and conducting landscape research on the impact technology has in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.
Q: How did you hear about TechChange?
A:Taking cues from what I learned in the Tech for M&E Diploma, I decided to turn to my personal data to answer this question through some crude process tracing using my emails and journals. The first instance of TechChange appearing in my inbox was 2013, and since that time there have been 10 emails, 4 years, 1 happy hour, and Skype 1 consultation that contributed to me ‘hearing’ about and ultimately enrolling with TechChange for the Tech for M&E Diploma in early 2017.
Q: Why did you decide to enroll in the Tech for M&E Diploma?
A: Throughout all the nudges mentioned in the previous answer, I was doing evaluative work in the development and peacebuilding sectors and participating in PeaceTech community, but found myself struggling to keep up with all the developments in the ICT4D/PeaceTech spaces. I knew I needed to get serious about investing time in coming up to speed with the role technology was playing this these spaces, so when I returned to school for my graduate work I made the decision to supplement my master’s with the Tech for M&E Diploma.
“The diploma grounded my graduate studies, enlarged my body of knowledge and technical proficiency, and not only exposed me to the work of my current employer, but gave me the confidence to submit my job application with an assurance that I was a competitive candidate. “
Q: How has the diploma impacted your work?
A: The Tech for M&E Diploma provided me a vantage point to develop a working proficiency with the concepts, tools, and resources practitioners use to enhance efforts for accountability and learning in the development and peacebuilding sectors. I was provided the space to explore, experiment, and in some cases, fail with new and emerging tools for data collection, analysis, and reporting. I had access to thought leaders and made connections with other professionals who brought their real-world M&E challenges to the diploma track for all of us to benefit from as developing case studies. The diploma grounded my graduate studies, enlarged my body of knowledge and technical proficiency, and not only exposed me to the work of my current employer, but gave me the confidence to submit my job application with an assurance that I was a competitive candidate.
Q: What would be an advice to other participants taking a TechChange Diploma program? How can they get the most out of it?
A: Enrolling in the TechChange Diploma program is just the first step. Make sure to set aside time each week to spend with the material, the webcasts, and doing the exercises. Take advantage of the great opportunity to network with other professionals among your fellow students. Finally, regardless of your status, student, employee, contractor, hobbyist, full-time or part-time, make the material applicable to a current project you are working on, or one you have wanted to work on. It made all the difference for me.
TechChange’s M&E Diploma Track is back this July. Find out more here. Register now to reserve your seat in our fall cohort and be one step closer to taking your M&E knowledge and project to the next level.