So my dear friend Margaret pointed out I have yet to write AT ALL about my job and what it is I am doing here in Bangkok. I think Margaret has an incredibly valid point. :)
Currently, I am working as a DLI Program Economist (Junior Officer) for the USAID/RDMA GDO office. What that's not clear? I can start by breaking down that title a little. I know I have gone on at length about what the DLI program is, but as a refresher the Development Leadership Initiative was started by Henrietta Ford under Condeleezza Rice as a mechanisms to restaff a dwindling USAID Foreign Service workforce. All of the new hires for the past 3 years are under this funding mechanism.
Next Junior Officer. There are two types of DLIs Mid-Level and Junior Officers. Essentially when determining your starting level USAID looks at your background and education. Considering I only had 3 years of work experience, I was classified as Junior. That matters here in the mission too because it shapes my opportunities to participate on other teams and visit other USAID missions "to enhance my learning."
Program Economist: This is the sticky one. It could mean lots of things. The program economist can do a lot for the mission. Essentially they act as the economist on staff who can provide support to project design, project monitoring and evaluation. Program Economists attempt to support all the offices, from health to education with possible analytics on the sector or cost-benefit analysis on a project. Also, they can assist in managing the economic growth portfolio. That is to to say they can lead/manage contracts on Economic Growth or even Food Security.
RDMA: The mission in Thailand is called the Regional Development Mission for Asia. Unlike some of my economist friends in other missions, my job is regional. As part of the USAID/Forward initiative regional missions have regionally based programs, but in addition to that, support the bilateral missions in their region. Officially RDMA supports Burma, China, Laos, Papua New Guinea and a little bit Thailand with programming out of this office. However, and more so now, the technical staff supports the bilateral missions in the region (Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Cambodia..to name a few). This means...a lot of travel for me!
GDO: I am currently sitting in the General Development Office, which handles...general development projects :) This includes food security, support to regional secretariats, and public-private partnership building. Through this office I am currently assisting on a food security and being trained to work in "monitor and evaluation" for other projects. I am hoping in the long-term to build a more solid portfolio.
As a bonus RDMA has brought in a Senior Program Economist who works a little differently. From what I understand, I will also be working to support his projects and shadowing him to learn everything I can.
As a DLI JO I will spend a lot of time in trainings and rotating around not only Asia, but the different jobs to learn more about how USAID functions.
More on my job as interesting things come up :)