Meet The "M.E.A.L" Team
Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning
"My name is Gia Hernandez and I am one of the M.E.A.L Interns at ADRA Bahamas. I currently reside in Southern California and am a second year Global Health student at Loma Linda University pursuing my Master’s in Public Health. I previously worked with ADRA Ecuador as part of the evaluation team for activities in disaster risk reduction and emergency education. For the past 2.5 years I have worked with a non-profit organization in Southern California that provides recuperative medical care services and transitional housing for homeless persons. I am passionate about public service and humanitarian aid and I hope to pursue a position in monitoring and evaluation in public health programs and services upon graduation this spring (2021).
When I first heard about ADRA I was inspired by the various types of relief efforts they support and their vast global reach. I have always had an interest in working with an international organization as I am passionate about global health and international humanitarian aid. This past summer I had the opportunity to work with ADRA International and ADRA Ecuador on an evaluation for their disaster risk reduction activities in various provinces in the Ecuador region. Having the opportunity to see the work ADRA is doing first hand and learning more about their mission to provide international humanitarian aid grew my desire to work with them.
While I did not know much about the ADRA Bahamas team going into this internship, I was interested in being a part of the disaster risk reduction and education activities of the project. I was also interested in learning more about MEAL and gaining more of the skills involved with MEAL activities. Additionally, I felt working with ADRA Bahamas was a great opportunity for me to learn and see how relief activities are conducted.
MEAL is a vital aspect to any humanitarian aid work. It is an important component as it focuses on the impact of project activities by tracking goods and services that are provided. This is particularly important for the post-disaster type work being done in The Bahamas as there are always multiple factors to address in a disaster situation. Thus, it becomes important to ensure the voices of the community and beneficiaries are heard throughout the process so that those activities and items that are being provided are being used effectively and donors can be made aware of the impact of their contributions."
"As I completed my Global Health MPH program, I
knew I wanted to work in a nonprofit organization, and knew that I wanted to further understand the planning and implementation that goes behind the scenes of a humanitarian organization.
I looked into different humanitarian organizations, but having prior knowledge of the Adventist
Development and Relief Agency, my mind kept coming back and seeking for any opportunity to work with ADRA.
Besides the prior knowledge of the organization, the other reason for wanting to work with ADRA was my vision of public health aligned with the organization’s purpose: To serve humanity so all may live as God intended. In addition, the idea to not only put the learned public health skills into practice but as well as to share those skills collaboratively was essentially what I was hoping to experience as I completed my postgraduate degree.
The opportunity came when ADRA Bahamas was needing an intern for the area of Monitoring,
Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL). This opportunity provided to mainly focus in the Education in Emergencies project, which its goal is to provide education humanitarian
assistance to students and educators. Previously working in the education sector by conducting
research, I knew I could not pass the opportunity. I wanted to continue to work in the education
sector while also put into practice public health skills.
Working as a MEAL intern for ADRA Bahamas has been a truly gratifying experience so far. And although the work has been remotely and with its challenges, it has been the perfect space for growth, collaborative work, leadership opportunities, and community empowerment.
The other discovery in working as a MEAL intern is how important this area of work is for the
communities around us. MEAL is an important area of work in public health because the data
collected can help us understand communities better. And even more so, MEAL is important in
humanitarian work because through data you see the impact of the provided relief and
development assistance. The impact then tells us where to improve, what programs of benefit
we can implement and how to build sustainability for local capacity. "
Meet The Education In Emergencies Project Officers
My name is Alexis Coleby. I am 21 years old.
I am a recent graduate of Redeemer University which is located in Hamilton Ontario, Canada. I graduated with a Bachelor of Art's degree in Applied Social Science (Sociology and Social Work) with a minor in Missions and Ministries.
I heard about ADRA from some of my church members. I enjoy having meaningful conversations with people who are different than me. I think that by being a volunteer at ADRA, I will be able to engage in conversations and learn from people who are different than I am.
My goal is to eventually go back to school for a Master's of Divinity in Christian Counselling so that I can pursue a career in counselling in the near future."
Antoinette Dean our Program Officer on Abaco is a native Abaconian. She is blessed with 3 beautiful children whom she loves and is thankful for everyday.
She is a proud Graduate of The College of The Bahamas and Nova Southeastern University. Most of her career has been spent in the Financial Services sector. In her new role with ADRA, she has received a unique opportunity to help others in her community in a tangible way.
In spite of the challenges she may face, she rises to meet them with a belief that "everything has a purpose, we just have take a breath and calmly trust the process."