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Week 1 at NCSC International

I’ve just completed my first work week at the National Center for State Courts, International Programs Division (NCSC International) in Arlington, Va. So far the work is very interesting and the employees are extremely passionate about what they do here.

I’ve begun to understand the process by which rule of law programs are designed and implemented. On day one, a senior program manager gave me some background reading so I could understand what the organization does. I read a request for proposals generated by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) seeking a contractor to design a justice reform project for Serbia. Serbia is seeking membership in the European Union, but must iron out some inefficiency and corruption problems in its court system before it can join. NCSC International wrote a proposal in response to USAID, called the “Judicial Reform and Government Accountability Work Plan,” and ultimately received the contract and will soon be implementing the program. Everyone in the office is excited about the upcoming project.

On my second day of work I went to the World Bank with the vice president of NCSC International and another member of the office. We attended a forum on methods of measuring effectiveness in justice reform projects. It turns out that measuring progress can be a difficult task, but several organizations, such as the American Bar Association and the World Bank, have come up with indicators that are beginning to tackle the problem.

Now that I understand the contours of rule of law work, I’m beginning to receive interesting assignments. Today I helped a senior program manager read through a request for proposals from USAID and begin the crucial research process that takes place before a proposal can be written and submitted. I think it’s going to be a challenging and exciting summer!