MSU’s Program Evaluation Student Has Global Impact

January 30, 2024 - Shelly DeJong

Fahim Safi working as a program evaluator in Yemen.

Fahim Safi works for a nonprofit organization that implements United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded humanitarian and international development programs. Through his travels around the world, Fahim is also pursuing a graduate degree through MSU’s Program Evaluation online program. Hear from his own words about the impact he’s having in the world, why he chose program evaluation, and what advice he would give to people looking to make a difference in the world. 


Can you share a bit about your background and current work? 

I have been working in the field of international development for several years, focusing on various USAID funded development and humanitarian projects aimed at promoting sustainable development and social progress in underserved communities in Africa and Middle Eastern countries.  

Currently, I have been actively involved in USAID-funded projects specifically supporting project teams in designing and conducting program evaluation, building capacity in country local staffs to conduct monitoring and evaluation activities for the projects. Through my involvement in the USAID funded projects and my expertise in program evaluation, I have been able to contribute to the development and implementation of effective food security, agriculture, health, nutrition, and WASH programs in various African and Middle Eastern countries. By leveraging data-driven insights and evidence-based recommendations, I have supported the design of initiatives that promote inclusive and equitable education, empowering individuals, and communities to thrive and achieve their full potential. 


A photo of Fahim SafiHow do you define program evaluation to others? 

Because I work for a nonprofit organization implementing programs in international development, program evaluation is the systematic process of assessing the design, implementation, and outcomes of development programs to determine their effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability. It involves the rigorous collection and analysis of data to measure the impact of interventions, identify areas for improvement, and inform evidence-based decision-making for future initiatives. 


What do you like about program evaluation? 

What I find most compelling about program evaluation is its capacity to provide meaningful insights into the effectiveness of development interventions. By utilizing various evaluation tools and methodologies, we can gain a comprehensive understanding of the impact of our work, identify successful strategies, and implement data-driven improvements to create lasting and sustainable change in communities. 


What led you to pursue further education in program evaluation? 

I have been working in the field program evaluation since 2009, particularly in social program evaluation for USAID funded humanitarian and international development programs. My passion for driving impactful change and my commitment to ensuring the effectiveness of development initiatives led me to pursue further education in program evaluation. I recognized the need for a comprehensive understanding of program evaluation methodologies, data analysis techniques, and result-oriented approaches to accurately assess the impact of various projects and facilitate informed decision-making. 

My frequent travel commitments due to my job made it challenging to enroll in an in-person program. Opting for MSU's Program Evaluation online degree program enabled me to balance my academic pursuits with my professional job requirements. The program's flexible online structure provided me with the opportunity to engage in advanced learning without compromising my travel schedule. Additionally, MSU has renowned faculty who have extensive program evaluation experience in the field, it has comprehensive curriculum relevant to my job, and its emphasis on practical application and real-world experiences. The program's focus on global perspectives and its alignment with my career aspirations in international development made it the ideal choice for advancing my skills and expertise in the field of program evaluation at MSU. 


How is MSU Program Evaluation impacting your work/life? 

The MSU Program Evaluation has significantly enhanced my ability to conduct comprehensive and robust evaluations, enabling me to apply advanced analytical techniques and innovative methodologies to my current projects. The program has equipped me with the necessary skills to develop evidence-based strategies and implement impactful interventions that create a tangible difference in the lives of individuals and communities. 

Being part of the MSU Program Evaluation signifies my commitment to upholding the highest standards of evaluation practices and contributing to the advancement of global development initiatives. It represents an opportunity to collaborate with like-minded professionals, engage in critical discussions, and contribute to the ongoing evolution of evaluation methodologies for sustainable impact. 


Any advice for others who want to have a global impact? 

For individuals aspiring to make a global impact, I would encourage others to cultivate a strong understanding of the local context, engage with diverse stakeholders, and prioritize community participation in the design and evaluation of development programs. Emphasizing the significance of data-driven decision-making and fostering sustainable partnerships can create a lasting and positive impact on the lives of individuals and communities worldwide. 



Curious about MSU’s Program Evaluation Master’ Degree or Certificate Program? Learn more here: