Center of Development Consulting
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Patrick Patton is interning at the Center of Development Consulting (CDC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The CDC is an organization committed to providing need based research, advising, training, and management services in the areas of sustainable human development, good governance practices, and economic growth. The CDC assists governments, private sectors, non-governmental organizations, and multi-lateral and bilateral aid agencies in developing innovative, yet workable, solutions to multifaceted problems. While at the CDC, Patrick has been doing research, writing portions of proposals, and working on projects in a variety of fields including peace and security, capacity building of civil society organizations, poverty and livelihood, governance and public sector reform, economic and social development, education, and health. Patrick hopes to use this experience to improve cross cultural awareness, further international relations, and practice international law. Patrick received his BA from the University of Miami, Coral Gables, with a major in International Finance and Marketing and a minor in Music Business and Entertainment Industries.
Journal Entry 1
The CDC was extremely helpful in assisting me to get acclimated in a country and culture I was completely unfamiliar with. They helped to arrange transport from the airport, accommodations, and even took me out after work to get a local perspective on Addis Ababa. Even though I went to the wrong hotel on my first night here, due to the fact there was a person holding a sign with my first name and flight number meant for someone else, they were quick to rectify the situation and assisted me with the transfer over to the proper bed and breakfast.
The environment at the CDC is very relaxed and the lawyer I have been working with, Yohannes, has had me review, write, and edit proposals for the various contracts they have, as well as write profiles for various personnel they contract with before integrating them into the proposals. Although I have only been here for a short time thus far, Yohannes has gone above and beyond to assure I get acclimated to the culture of the CDC. Some of the proposals I have been reviewing are for contracts that range from Non-Governmental Organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to governmental organizations dealing with Ethiopian social and economic development programs, as well as international humanitarian organizations including UNICEF, the UN World Food Program (WFP), and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
Although the CDC is based in Ethiopia, they have contracts with organizations from around the world, and these contracts take the CDC throughout Africa. The work I have been doing is very interesting because it exposes me to various public interest foundations in Africa, as well as rewarding because it gives me the opportunity to explore a wide diaspora of humanitarian fields. The time I have spent with the CDC has enlightened me to the amount of aid and social work currently needed in African nations, while simultaneously humbling me to the generosity of the world.
Journal Entry 2
The time I have spent at the CDC has been a great learning experience. Not only have I worked in a professional environment different than any I have experienced before, but I have learned a great deal about the various types of public interest works that take place in Ethiopia. Some of the work that really interested me was various contracts the CDC had with different UN organizations.
The proposal I remember the most was a two part, technical and financial, proposal for the UN World Food Program about chickpeas. It stood out to me because I was enlightened to the various nutritional benefits of chickpeas and how programs have been previously implemented in other countries using chickpeas to fight starvation. I integrated past experiences of the UN World Food Program with past successes of the CDC to demonstrate how the CDC previously used various techniques to fight starvation throughout Ethiopia. While interning at the CDC I also had the opportunity to meet various lawyers that worked for the UN.
My boss put me in contact with a lawyer name Fasil, who took time off from his firm in New York to do a two year contract with the UN, while concurrently teaching at Addis Ababa University. I was fortunate enough to have my boss allow to me take time off from work to attend one of Fasil’s classes. It was a small class of about 12 students at the graduate level and the student teacher dynamic was very interesting. Having studied at Harvard Law, Fasil’s method of teaching felt very similar to some teaching approaches at Seattle U. From my understanding, the students in Ethiopia are not used to the Socratic teaching method but they handled it very well, not seeming flustered or embarrassed. The classroom environment was one of the most humbling experiences because it clarified everything we take for granted at law schools in the USA. Not only did none of the students have computers, but also there were no projectors, the classroom to teach the class had not been designated before the professor arrived, and the room itself was in pretty poor condition with rickety desks, holes in the walls, and broken windows. However, the classroom experience was unforgettable.
My overall Ethiopian experience was amazing. Not only did I make contacts that will last me a lifetime, but I had a rewarding internship because I continuously learned in and out of the workplace. If I am fortunate enough to have a legal experience abroad again I am sure I will embrace it.