Farrah Moos

The rain-water harvesting system on top of the latrines we built were used to make a hand-washing station.
Farrah helped to build a rain-water harvesting system on top of the latrines that was then used to make a hand-washing station.

Major: Political Economy

Year of Graduation: Spring 2012

Location and date of Field Experience: Tanzania, Summer 2011

Organization: African Immigrant Social and Cultural Services

Project Description: Initiate the planning, preparation, and implementation of a bread oven in the region.

Hometown: New Delhi, India and Anahiem Hills, CA

Current Location: Berkeley, CA

Quote: I knew that I wanted to work on global poverty issues for my whole life, so when I heard about the minor, I thought, “Cool, this is an opportunity to get some academic training in this area I’m passionate about!”

Could you describe your practice experience?
I went to Tanzania specifically to work on a bread oven project, but things totally changed when I got there. We ended up working on large rainwater harvesting tins, latrines, we built a chicken coop and made a children’s gymnastics dome-type structure… That was one of the most important things I learned: what you sign up for isn’t necessarily what you’re going to get. I think that’s probably something really common in global development– it’s not really something you can teach, you more so have to experience it.

What was one significant challenge you faced?
I’d say that my “narrow vision” was a problem I frequently had to deal with. Even having grown up partly in a developing country, there were still a lot of things that I forgot and took for granted. My eyes were opened… I was shocked when I had a side conversation with a woman who asked me about contraception. She was a mother of 10 and didn’t want to have any more children. Before that conversation, I had known she was a mother of 10 but hadn’t really thought much about it. In that moment I realized, “Oh my God, if she had any control over the situation, she would probably not have 10 children…” There are so many intertwining issues that I had never thought about– so many things that were daily life challenges that I had to be beaten over the head with before I really understood.

Describe one interesting and/or inspirational person you encountered.
The founder of the organization, Christine Chacha, was a Swahili professor born and raised in the village area we were working in. She actually passed away a few months ago from cancer, but she was the reason I was attracted to the organization. She understood both foreign and local cultures and could bridge the gap between the two by using what both sides had to offer. She was so full of life and so amazing in her ability to work with and get cooperation from people of all types in the village. She would shame lazy workers, but then hug any small child around. She would sing and dance around the house. Even though she was sick, she was such a force of life. It was an honor to be around her and I am so grateful to have had that time with her.

How has the GPP minor influenced your plans for the future?
I am now forced to question the structure within which I’m working– especially now that I’m working from a grant-giving side. I’ll be critical of the criteria we’re using to evaluate things: Is this the most efficient way to accomplish something? How was it conceived and organized?

Becoming really critical has become my greatest gift from the minor and I hope that stays with me forever. It has changed me so much in terms of how I think about how the world got to be the way it is, which I think is really important to be conscious of if you want to be a part of changing the world into something else.

More Articles

Ingrid Xhafa and Greg Berger in Rwanda (all photos courtesy of them)

One Size Doesn’t Fit All: How MDevEng Students Ingrid Xhafa and Greg Berger Investigated the Efficacy of Outsider-Supported, Off-Grid Power Systems in Remote Rwandan Health Clinics

Xhafa has worked in the development sector for a decade and graduated from the Master of Development Engineering program last December with a focus on energy and environment. The intersection of healthcare and energy was also the focus of another recent MDevEng graduate, Greg Berger. Together, Berger and Xhafa, both in the program’s Energy, Water, and the Environment track, examined the energy needs of healthcare clinics in one sub-Saharan country, Rwanda, as their MDevEng capstone project. 

Read More »

Warm Visit Week Welcome for Admitted M.DevEng Students

In early April, the first cohort of accepted students in the Blum Center’s inaugural Masters of Development Engineering program (M.DevEng) heard from award-winning faculty, social entrepreneurs, and student researchers and innovators, and also toured labs, Blum Hall, and iconic Berkeley landmarks – all virtually – in anticipation of reuniting in person on campus this fall.

Read More »

Host and Fellow Responsibilities

Host Organizations

  • Identify staff supervisor to manage I&E Climate Action Fellow
  • Submit fellowship description and tasks
  • Engage in the matching process
  • Mentor and advise students
  • Communicate with Berkeley program director and give feedback on the program.

Berkeley Program Director​

  • Communicate with host organizations, students, and other university departments to ensure smooth program operations

Student Fellows

  • Complete application and cohort activities
  • Communicate with staff and host organizations
  • Successfully complete assignments from host organization during summer practicum
  • Summarize and report summer experience activities post-fellowship