MDP Summer Field Practicum


A core element of the Arizona MDP program is its summer field practicum. The purpose of the field practicum is to create a structured opportunity for field-tested learning on a closely mentored, individual basis. The effective practicum experience engages the student in an on-going specific development practice activity; utilizes cross-disciplinary skills; provides a concrete methodological experience; involves collaboration and field interaction with local colleagues; and has a specific, measurable learning outcome. Please note: The summer practicum consists of 2-6 credits that must be completed during the summer months.

The most common practicum pathway that students choose is to design their own practicum in consultation with MDP staff and faculty and based on their substantive and geographic areas of concentration. For example, students have worked on monitoring and evaluations projects in Myanmar, on a gender equality project in Zambia, on implementation of children’s deworming project in the Dominican Republic, and with Central American migrants in Mexico. Students can use their existing contacts to create a practicum that fits their needs and career goals. In addition, the faculty of the MDP program have numerous connections around the world and we can work with students who have a desire to go to a particular location or work on a particular issue. 

The MDP Program also has a close partnership with TANGO International, an internationally recognized, Tucson-based development firm which provides technical assistance to NGOs and other development donors and agencies. TANGO International works in over three dozen countries and is continuously engaged in a range of field activities, such as livelihood and vulnerability assessments; monitoring and evaluation baselines and end-of-project surveys (quantitative and qualitative); development project designs (eg, Multiyear Operational Plans); and program/project evaluations (eg, school feeding impact evaluations).


Below: a word cloud based on the practicum descriptions prepared by members of the MDP class of 2021.

Examples of Past Practicums by Arizona MDP Students


Practicum Partner

Practicum topic

TANGO International

"The Missing Piece of World Food Program’s Strategic Plan: Cambodia as Illustration of WFP’s Need to Lead and Collaborate in Addressing the World Obesity Epidemic"

"A Theory of Change:Climate Variability and Livelihoods in Chiang Mai and Nan Provinces, Northern Thailand"

Humane Society of the United States

"The Integration of More Plant-Based Foods in Our Diet: Reformulating our Assumptions about Consumption"


"Considering the Gendered Nature of Post-Harvest Losses in the Barotse Floodplain, Western Province Zambia"

"Social and Gender Analysis Key Findings: Barotse Hub, Western Province, Zambia"


"Addressing Farmer Health Initiatives in Rwanda"


"Youth Decision Making in Agricultural Adaptations to Climate Change An Analysis in East Africa"

University of Parakou (Benin)


"At the Interface of Science and Decision-making: Environmental Governance and Natural Resource Management in Sub-Saharan Africa"

Conserve Swaziland/CANGO


"Wildlife Conservation in the Kingdom of Swaziland: Challenges and Prospects" 

JustHope (Nicaragua)

"Perceptions of Education in Chacraseca: Where to Target Education Projects to Improve Quality and Equity"

"Undoing Internalized Oppression: Addressing Gender and Development Disparities through Formal Education Systems"

AMOS Health and Hope (Nicaragua)


"Aiming for Behavioral Change: The Looming Zika Epidemic as a Springboard to Better Community Health"



"The Role of Technology and Innovation in Development: Lessons Learned from UNICEF's Innovation Initiatives"

UMWAD (Philippines)


"Poverty Alleviation Through Collaborative Development"

Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) (Bangladesh)


"Assessing the Right to Information Act in Bangladesh"


"A Retrospective Analysis of Participatory Action Research for Youth Development in Cite-Soleil, Haiti"

Swaziland National Trust Commission

"Conservation and Development in Mhlumeni, Swaziland: A Community Needs Assessment Completed on Behalf of the Swaziland National Trust Commission"

UA Institute for the Environment 

"Climate Services and Vulnerability: Challenges of Jamaican Farmers"

Dadaab Refugee Camp, Kenya 

"Refugee Income Inclusion: From Humanitarian Aid to Economic Self-Sufficiency"

International Center of Maize and Wheat Improvement (CIMMYT),  Mexico

"Information and Communication Technology for Food Security and Environmental Stewardship in Mexico: Regionalization of Agricultural Activities to Inform Decision-Making and Repackaging of Data for Higher Utility"

World Vision, Romania

"Child Protection in the Wider Black Sea Region: Implementation of a Child Protection Index " 

Africa Rice (CGIAR) + Monterey Institute for International Studies, Benin 


"Evaluating the Impact of Entrepreneurial Education on Poverty and Well-Being Among 18-30 Year Olds in Benin"

Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR),  Indonesia 

"REDD+ and Fuelwood Use: Policy Implications of Informal Market Energy Demands"

Migrant Shelters in Mexico

"Organized Insecurity and Migrant Experiences: Structural Violence, and the Construction of Spaces of Manipulation of Central American Migrants in Southern Mexico"

"Las Mujeres Luchandoras: Central American females speak out on the migrant trail in Oaxaca, Mexico"

International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Laos 

"Hydrological impacts of land use/land cover change and options for best management practices:Case studies of two micro-catchments in Thailand and Vietnam" 

Winrock International, Myanmar

"Permaculture Design Systems for Refugee Camps: Building resilience and community in areas of resource scarcity"

Good Neighbors, Dominican Republic

"Report on NGO Community Development Projects in Rural and Urban Dominican Republic; Health, Sanitation, and Poverty Alleviation Programs of the Caribbean"

International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Uganda

"Climate Change and Smallholder Farmers in Rural Uganda 

Pima County Development Services, Arizona

"IIntegrating Community and Participatory Approaches to Neighborhood Development Strategies"

University Research Co. LLC, Cambodia

"Health Equity Funds: An Innovation in Health Care Financing in Cambodia"

Universidade Estadual de Maranhao, Brazil

"Rich Waters, Poor fishermen: The Enigma of the Fishery of Raposa"



Student Testimonials:



"For my summer practicum I spent nine weeks in Myanmar working on monitoring and evaluation of Farmer-to-Farmer programs conducted by Winrock International. It was a great experience to see extension agents from the United States donating their time to work with small-scale fishery managers, coffee growers, and organic farmers in both urban and rural areas. I am still volunteering part-time with Winrock during my second year of the MDP." - Chantel Welch, MDP student (2015)


“Haiti's prison system remains overcrowded in conditions that are inhumane and even unimaginable.  During my Summer Practicum, I found from interviews with current and former detainees that the vast majority of them had no actual charges and were victims of summary arrests. I’m now supporting local community efforts to monitor and advocate for their friends, neighbors, and family members, so that there is some hope that detainees will not be lost in a system that is broken and corrupt.”  --- Deborah Dimmett (MDP 2019)


“On my Summer Practicum, I worked in collaboration with farmers from two villages in Western Kenya on how they view, manage, and problem-solve growing issues within sustainable land management. Understanding how farmers make decisions regarding their land and how the dynamics of the small farming communities function is a way to bring light to policy and supportive programs that will be beneficial for both humans and natural resources.” – Anna Jackson (MDP 2019)


“I worked with the NGO WorldFish on my Summer Practicum in Sierra Leone, where daily life is a struggle for most people. By providing technical knowledge and inputs for small-scale fish farming to sustenance farmers in the district, WorldFish is helping people provide their families with more varied diets and much-needed extra income that can be used to improve and, hopefully, sustain their livelihoods for years to come.” – Joseph Stewart (MDP 2019)