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Panel discusses aspects of working with development agencies

On Friday, Oct. 26, a four-member panel discussed the various aspects and types of work that Ohio University has done with development agencies throughout the United States and around the world.

Panel members included Yusuf Kalyango, director of the Institute for International Journalism; Rafael Obregon, Chief of the Communication for Development Unit at UNICEF; Lauren Brown Vulanovic, a graduate of the Communication and Development Studies program and an employee at Pan American Health Organization, and visiting professor Karen Greiner.

David Mould introduces the panel.

Kalyango first discussed the evolution of the Institute of International Journalism since 2008, the year he became director.

Today, he explained, the IIJ has enough money to fund student employees, international conferences and trainings, the publishing and production of research, foreign correspondence internships, and travel scholarships for students to present research around the world.

According to Kalyango, that was all possible primarily because of partnerships he worked to establish at the university level and beyond, including one with the Communication and Development Studies program.

According to Greiner, there are many windows of opportunity for various research projects as long as graduate students know where to look and what to do.

In the Communication and Development Studies program, she explained that a group she is part of has started to organize a database of past grant proposals that successfully acquired funded.

Greiner encouraged students interested in consultation or grants, quite simply, to ask about them. When pitching an organization, Greiner emphasized that students should be specific and ready to prove they have done their homework.

She suggested that students should consider proposing research fellowships rather than internships because many organizations do not conduct their own research. She also said students should work to self-finance via grants and funding so the organization will not have to worry about paying them much, if at all.

Vulanovic, who graduated in 2008, gave advice about some of the things she said she wished she had learned in college.

In addition to knowing methodology and research, Vulanovic said students should learn finance skills such as grant writing, budget planning and evaluation skills. Regarding the latter, she said many people are not able to write appropriate indicators for what they are trying to measure, and explained that having that skill would therefore give students an edge.

During internships, Vulanovic said students should not be afraid to be aggressive, especially if they feel as though they are not being challenged enough or are being ignored.

Vulanovic added that communication and development skills are important, too, including the use of social networks.

posted in: Communication and Development Studies, Institute for International Journalism, Ohio University
November 5, 2012

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