School of Public Health and Community Medicine

Student Profile

Kathryn Kirk
Internship in Master of International Public Health
Mode of study : 
Face-to-face, Full-time
Country : 
Australia
Previous Education : 
BInSt (Hons), BSS

I completed an Internship with the Fred Hollows Foundation – Sydney head office as part of my Master of International Public Health. The main reasons I enrolled in the internship was to put the knowledge and skills learnt in the degree into practice and establish networks in the field of International Public Health.

During my Internship I worked in the Global Programs team where I undertook a meta-evaluation of the organisations mid-term and final evaluations for projects implemented by country offices from 2011 – date. The purpose was to reflect, and look towards improving the quality of their monitoring and evaluation practices, and the subsequent learning across the organisation. The main areas of focus were quality, cross cutting themes including gender and disability, and utilization.

After reviewing key internationally recognised evaluation standards, I constructed a framework to undertake the meta-evaluation. A checklist was developed to cover key areas from the Terms of Reference, and a sample of evaluations were selected which represented a cross section of project types and regions. For qualitative information, I also interviewed key field staff in country offices and ran focus group discussions in Sydney.

The findings were presented to the Global Programs team, and at the regional meeting to country directors and regional coordinators. I also produced a report, which was circulated throughout the organisation, and key findings are currently being actioned across country offices.  

I really enjoyed the people I worked with and met through this experience who I found very inspiring and useful contacts to have. I felt very well supported by my supervisors both at Fred Hollows, and from SPHCM, which made the experience more enjoyable. I also enjoyed the challenge and the sense of achievement I had once I completed the meta-evaluation, and knowing the findings were very useful to improving their monitoring and evaluation practices.

My qualitative and qualitative research skills improved dramatically during my internship – including research, gathering and sorting through large quantities of information and data, analysing and then funnelling the information into a report and a presentation that was professional, readable and relevant.

I would definitely recommend the internship program to other students. I felt challenged, but well supported, and had the freedom to make the project my own. I also felt like the internship was rewarding, I gained exposure to a very important and growing part of international development (monitoring, evaluation and learning), the findings were used, and will continue to be used across the organisation to improve their monitoring and evaluation practices.