The Peace Corps Perspective: Data Collection and Survey Design Considerations

A few weeks ago, I visually recorded a guest expert session for TechChange‘s 211 course on Technology for Data Collection and Survey Design. Gabe Krieshok, the ICT4D Advisor at Peace Corps, spoke about the challenges and considerations PCVs face when it comes to data collection and survey design in the field. Take a look at the highlights from the session below:
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USAID LEARN presents CLA in Practice: Putting Communities at the Heart of Learning and Adapting

On February 11, 2016, I had the pleasure of attending a USAID presentation that sought to highlight the successful uses of CLA in the field and share lessons learned widely across the development sector to promote learning. Emily Janoch, Senior Technical Advisor for Knowledge Management and Learning at CARE, led a session on, “Putting Communities at the Heart of Learning and Adapting.” She spoke about how CARE is utilizing a Participatory Performance Tracker (PPT) to work together with communities to adapt programs and get better results.

The tool itself allows communities to sit down and talk through what activities they are and are not doing across different areas of their work. Unlike standard M&E practices, the PPT is housed by the community where it is being used and presents a powerful opportunity for reflection and group cohesion. The PPT is a unique data collection tool because in addition to collecting valuable data, it also provides a space for community members to hold one another accountable, offer support and assistance, and air their thoughts or ideas about what is or is not working about a particular project. Take a look at my visual recap of Emily’s brilliant session below:
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Real-Time M&E for Ebola Crisis Response

I recently helped out as a course facilitator for TechChange’s TC111 course: Technology for Monitoring and Evaluation and learned a tremendous amount about the different options and tools that can be used for mobile data collection and analysis. Take a look at the visual notes from a session led by Amanda Berman, Senior Research Data Analyst at Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, about M&E tech for the Ebola crisis response.

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M&E Tech: A Conversation with Samir Doshi and Joshua Kaufman

Happy Wednesday, friends! I recently helped out as a course facilitator for TechChange’s Technology for Monitoring and Evaluation course. Samir Doshi and Joshua Kaufman shared some interesting points about M&E practices at USAID’s Global Development Lab. The Lab is a new entity within USAID that brings together a diverse set of partners to discover, test, and scale breakthrough solutions with the goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030. Take a look at the notes below to get a sense of what was covered.
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AlterConf DC: Increasing Diversity in the Tech Industry

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in AlterConfDC, a conference organized by AlterConf, that brought together an eclectic, brilliant, and passionate group of people to talk about inclusion and diversity in the tech and gaming industries. By highlighting the powerful voices and positive initiates of organizations and individuals in the DC area, the conference strengthened our community’s resolve to create safer, healthier spaces for all. I learned a tremendous amount from the presenters and participants and had many personal “aha” moments of my own. Take a look at the notes below to get a sense of what was covered:
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Visualizing the City: How to Build Base Maps for M&E

Hello friends! Recently I had the opportunity to participate both as a visual notetaker and as a course facilitator in TechChange‘s 311 course on Technology for Data Visualization. The notes below are from Sara Dean‘s session on using mapping and dataviz software to visualize infrastructure for M&E projects. Sara spoke about her fascinating work at Stamen, as well as all of the benefits of using maps (that you can create yourself through Stamen’s resources!) for your data collection and analysis projects. Take a look at the highlights below:

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Technology for Data Visualization: Explanatory and Exploratory Uses of Excel

Happy 2016! I hope you all had a very happy and healthy New Year. Before the holidays, I participated in a session from TechChange’s course on Technology for Data Visualization, featuring the ever-wise Ann K. Emery. During the session, Ann explained how Excel can be used for both exploratory and explanatory purposes. Knowing the difference will save you a lot of time and energy! Excel is an exploratory tool because it allows you to explore different ways of looking at your data and can help you see trends or patterns that you may not have seen otherwise. Essentially, you can use Excel as an analysis tool and also for playing with your data. Excel can also be used as an explanatory tool because it allows you to use the charts or graphs you create to explain your message to your target audience. Ann outlines tips for using Excel for both exploratory and explanatory purposes below. To learn more about Ann and her data viz genius, be sure to check out her site. Until next time, friends. I hope your year is off to a great start!

 
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TechChange 111: Real-Time Monitoring & Evaluation

Happy Monday evaluators! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. A few days ago, I participated in TechChange’s TC111 session with Dr. Kerry Bruce, Chief Measurement and Impact Evaluation Officer at the Global Fund to End Slavery. In her presentation on “real-time M&E,” Kerry introduced the concept of a “data product” and advocated for the use of both real-time and traditional forms of data to inform organizational decision-making. For those of you who are interested in learning more about real-time data collection methods, take a look at this presentation by my brilliant colleague, Yuqi Wang: Real-Time Evaluation: Tips, Tools and Tricks of the Trade. Scroll down to see highlights from the TechChange course! KB1

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#FailFest2015: A Commitment to Failing Forward

Last night, I had the opportunity to attend the acclaimed 2015 Fail Fest in Washington, DC. Hosted by FHI360, Plan International, and TechChange, the event brought hundreds of international development practitioners together to share their failures in a fun and honest way. The biggest take away for me (aside from the fact that poop jokes apparently never stop being funny) was that #FailFestDC is an opportunity for us all to make a genuine commitment to failing forward. Being forthcoming about our individual and collective failures is an important first step, but turning failure into an opportunity to learn and grow is even more necessary. Now that we’ve opened the metaphorical can of worms and spilled the beans about our failures, what are we going to commit to do differently going forward? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Thank you to all of the brave souls who offered up their own failures last night (listed below). Scroll down and take a look at the visual notes from the conference!

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USAID Learning Lab: Moving the Needle 2015

Hello! I hope you are all having a wonderful week! On November 17, 2015 I had the pleasure of attending USAID Learning Lab‘s conference, “Moving the Needle: Better Development Programming Through Collaborating, Learning and Adapting.”  The conference brought together a select group of USAID staff and partners to discuss a shared understanding of CLA (collaborating, learning and adapting) and how to use CLA to improve development programming. The conference was interactive, engaging and well-organized. In addition to several creative exercises (skits, scenarios, voting boards, etc.), the conference also highlighted case studies of how CLA is being used in practice. I was particularly taken with USAID Uganda’s Mission of Leaders Program and the data use simulation to help partners move towards increased data use (see below). I had a great time geeking out over the intersection of M&E, institutional learning, and organizational decision-making with my fellow conference-goers. I would highly recommend looking at the phenomenal CLA tools created by the all-start team at USAID Learning Lab. Take a look at the pictures and highlights from the conference below:

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Below is a picture of me at the conference! Recognize the handwriting? :-)

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