Kathryn Evans Florida International University Masters of Public by klg10159


									Kathryn Evans
Florida International University
Masters of Public Health
International Orthodox Christian Charities Inc. - Romania

Stepping off the plane in Bucharest I was excited by the energy of a new city to explore
and a new challenge to undertake, an internship that would complete my Masters in
Public Health. That evening, watching the nightly news broadcast in a language I had
never heard, on a street where I had never been and in an apartment that was unfamiliar, I
saw the effects that an unusually rainy spring could have on a country that is home to the
great Danube River delta.

The Danube had collected excessive spring rain, and an usual spring melt throughout
Europe had deposited rushing waters throughout the Southern regions of Romania,
causing the river to rush over its bed and, in some areas, to flood large swaths of land 11
km wide. My third day in the country, I toured flooded areas I had seen on TV with two
International Orthodox Christian Charities Inc. Romania (IOCC) staff members talking
with flood refugees, assessing their unmet needs and documenting the extent of the
damage. The facts and stories that we collected on this day, together with information
gathered from other aid organizations in Romania, resulted in IOCC providing thousands
of hygiene kits and blankets to those displaced by the floodwaters.

Having gotten my first taste of the relief work done by IOCC, my internship
responsibilities shifted to IOCC’s largest project in Romania, “Strengthening
Community-Based Initiatives on HIV/AIDS and Family Violence in Romania”. This
project is an unique partnership between the Romanian Orthodox Church (ROC) and
IOCC, combining the influence of the ROC and the expertise of IOCC staff in order to
address social issues of great importance throughout the Romanian cities and villages.
Throughout my three months in the office, I had the opportunity to collaborate with
IOCC project staff on issues including the development of a communication strategy plan
to the synthesizing of results from a community-based survey and the development of a
Request for Grant Submission from local NGOs. The staff shared their collective
expertise and hands-on experience with me, and allowed me the opportunity to personally
contribute to the project.

In addition to the office-based work, I was in charge of conducting Stakeholder
Interviews with various project-related people and organizations. This work included
revising surveys, coordinating survey logistics (including translation and travel), and
developing a synthesized report to be used for the internal mid-project review. This
project was especially rewarding, affording me the opportunity to talk with project
stakeholders including field staff who implement the ideas and plans generated in the
office and stakeholders from other organizations working on similar issues. The input
from these stakeholders will continue to have tangible effects on the quality of project
activities and long-term sustainability.

My internship with IOCC was truly a capstone experience to my Masters in Public Health
degree. Throughout the classes in my master’s program I had the opportunity to discuss
theories of behavior modification and best practices for project sustainability, while my
internship with IOCC Romania allowed me to see these concepts in action.

                       Annemarie Gasser and Katie Evans at IOCC

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