Sarah Merchant (TD' 17) plans to pursue a degree in Ethics, Politics, and Economics concentrating in international development. She is interested in exploring the effects of community-based health interventions in low-income settings in the Middle East. She became interested in global health after serving in the rural communities of Zhara, Yemen and Bella Vista, Honduras. She later collaborated with other students to conduct mixed-methods investigations exploring diabetes management and pediatric malnutrition in Santa Elena, Ecuador. On campus, Sarah serves as the Assistant Director of Student Partnerships for Global Health to help interdisciplinary student teams organize community-based research and education initiatives in Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Malawi. She also works with Yale UNICEF and Partners in Health Engage to raise funding and awareness for child and maternal health and health systems building.
I worked with the Strategic Support Unit at the UNDP office in Colombia in order to develop a strategy to strengthen their monitoring and evaluation protocol of UNDP projects in Colombia. I interviewed project staff across the four major programmatic areas (governance, peace, poverty, and sustainable development) to identify mechanisms to improve monitoring accountability towards UNDP goals. I also developed a standardized field visit report and territorial monitoring report to address concerns that had been raised in a recent UNDP audit. This internship allowed me to understand the structure and function of different UN entities in a Latin American context. I also had an opportunity to witness the historic UN-facilitated peace negotiations ending a 50 yearlong internal armed conflict in the Colombia countryside.