My name is Connor Taylor, and I am the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Intern stationed in Jordan for MEDA’s Jordan Valley Links (JVL) project. I began my assignment in January 2019 and will be in Jordan until July 2019. My educational background is in Middle East History and my dream is to serve people around the world by supporting international development initiatives.
This experience has been life-changing. Living on my own in Amman as well as working alongside the JVL team has given me ample time to reflect and delve deeper into my own aspirations. While I have always been driven to serve others, I never truly believe I had the power, or the ability create sustainable change.
Living in Jordan has shown me the power of lifting others up and building their confidence. It has pushed me out of comfort zone. Most importantly, it has shown me how privileged I am. I have MEDA to thank for these revelations.
So far, I can say with confidence that my time here with the JVL team has exceeded my expectations. Assisting the M&E team has given me practical experience that I never would have obtained in the classroom. It has ignited my desire to involve myself in international development pursuits and has reignited my passion for Middle East history and culture. It almost saddens me that I am only here for a couple more months. Time has flown!
One of the ways this job has impacted me is getting to collecting stories from the women that have participated in the JVL project. They are inspiring and reaffirm the importance of considering the experiences of women in international development projects.
In Jordan, low economic participation coupled with high inflation and national debt have contributed to widespread unemployment. Encouraging women to start and run their own businesses not only helps their local communities, it also contributes to Jordan’s economic growth. JVL and its partners have not only contributed to this end but have also aided in building up the self-confidence and entrepreneurial capacity of women across the Kingdom.
While my time here has been an amazing opportunity for professional development, it has also imparted in me a few life lessons that I would be hard pressed to forget. As I have travelled throughout Amman and into the surrounding countryside, I have witnessed the incredible economic potential of this great country. There is an enormous amount of potential for Jordan to become a major development hub in the Middle East and to serve as an example for a peaceful and just society.