Jonathan Poser: Policy Pitch Competition

September 12, 2018 0:04:29
Kaltura Video

Jonathan Poser (MPP/REES '18) talks about his internship in Bulgaria working with minority communities and how he works to fight systemic corruption and social inequity.


So my name is Jonathan Poser I'm
a 3rd year do a master's student

at the Center for Russian East European
integration studies and

the Ford school public policy I've been
fortunate enough to spend about 3 years

of the last 10 studying working and
travelling in Eastern Europe and.

What started as a kind of general interest
in Russian language courses led to a year

or a semester studying in Moscow 2 years
teaching English in Kiev Ukraine and

a season recruiting in Ukraine Moldova for

an international educational exchange
program it was during this last experience

in 2015 when I interviewed a number of
Ukrainian teenagers who had been displaced

by the conflict in the eastern part of the
country as I reflected on that experience.

I and the effects of things like systemic
corruption conflict and just deep seated

social inequity I understood that I wanted
to develop the policy skills necessary

to assist people in Eastern Europe that
to the capacity of that I'm able and

leaving leaving some of the the adverse
circumstances that they face.

So this summer I had
an internship at the Trust for

social achievement which is a nonprofit
in Sofia Bulgaria that services.

Minority communities in Bulgaria and

tries to integrate them into Bulgarian
society specifically they target the Roma

the Roma commonly known by the pejorative
term gypsies constitute about 5 to 10

percent of the country's population and
are on average the poorest people there.

The organization works to
alleviate some of the most.

Significant challenges that they face
in areas such as prenatal health care.

Infant of care Early Childhood Education
Workforce Development and you thought and

here is I'm the Roma have been
typically marginalized and denied

access to many of these areas of society
for centuries in many European cities.

So using a holistic approach
to poverty alleviation and

social integration the trust for

social achievement partners with
international and domestic organizations.

In all of these areas so at the trust I
had the opportunity to work on a number of

different projects but primarily I was
tasked with writing a policy brief

that is going to be used as
an advocacy tool to lobby for

the elimination of fees associated
with kindergarten attendance

basically making early education free for
every child in Bulgaria.

The core of this report was based
on a recently published World Bank

impact evaluation of
a year long national study

conducted by the World Bank and
the trust for social achievement in how to

most effectively increase participation
in early education from the communities.

I combined the results of this report
which basically said Make it free and kids

will attend and mixed in a little bit of
information about the long term benefits

of early childhood education including
Ypsilanti zone Perry Preschool Study and

then also made projections about the long
term positive impact both socially and

economically that early education
would have on Bulgarian society so

the opportunity was phenomenal for
a number of reasons of all of the projects

that were proposed would require the
direct application of skills like policy

writing research sadistical analysis and
program management

all of which I've been learning here at
the ford school and all of which I relied

upon during my time there I was
also eager to develop my experience

working with marginalised populations in
the Greater Eastern European region so

I came away from this experience
with one primary lesson was that

change is possible slow and incremental
and unsexy as though it may be.

Organizations like the trust for
social Cheeseman have moved the needle

on some really challenging issues it's
a very difficult political circumstances

I've also learned that poverty
is intersectional it's

there's no magic bullet there's no panacea
a multi-dimensional problem requires

a multi-dimensional set of solutions and
finally the opportunity to work for

the trust which shows that human has
renewed my desire to work in international

development and now I'm grateful
that I have this set of experiences

to draw from in the pursuit of that
ambition thanks very much thank.