Before I came to Princeton, I worked with governments in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Saint Lucia on implementing policy reform, specifically in sanitation and education. Governments spend a lot of time on getting policy right but not nearly enough on the implementation of reforms. I was in an exciting space. The chief minister of a province or prime minister of a country was directly backing the work of the teams I was part of, which gave us the runway to translate policies into action and results.
I had memorable experiences in Punjab. We translated a solid waste management roadmap to cleaner cities. We spent time in the oddest of places that no one enjoys like landfill sites and composting facilities, monitoring trash cans, and working on the operational side of things. We were able to introduce data and innovative technologies for the management of cities to improve urban cleanliness, and we were fortunate to develop a rural waste management strategy that was piloted in Punjab, which is 65% rural. Residents attested that waste was picked from their villages for the first time in the history of Pakistan.
During these times, many reflections propelled me toward SPIA. Can I get the right results from perfect implementation if a policy is lacking? How should I accurately measure the impact of programs and policies?
Politics is important if we want to get anything done; how do we adequately work through it in policymaking and implementation? I didn’t get all my answers at Princeton, but I got closer.Zainab Amjad
My classes helped me learn impact measurement and how to navigate political realities. I also delved into urban policy and kept working on waste management with the Office of Sustainability. I’ve been lucky to learn from phenomenal instructors, peers, and work opportunities over the past two years. There is so much to do, so much to learn, and honest mistakes to make. I’m excited about the reinvention that has happened in graduate school, and I am excited to keep growing as I step out.