I am in Palo Alto this week and last to meet with Jake and the rest of the Senior Leadership Team and to work with FT8, the newest group of folks who are heading to Kenya to work at the project site. This group consists of all new people, which is a first for us (other than FT1 way back in 2008). Everyone is a new-hire heading to the field for the first time and becoming part of the larger Nuru team for the first time.

I think it is a great dynamic because almost all relationships are brand new ones (there is one married couple…so that one is not so new). The way the team shapes up and ends up working together will be organic and there will not be one or two members of the team to whom the rest of the members turn to figure out answers to questions about Nuru and its ropes.

Aerie and his team have been working on evolving the nature of the makeup of the teams, and I think that this one will be pretty great. There is a dedicated team leader and there are fellows for each of our current programs.

I need to get used to the fact that M&E is no longer the new kid on the block in the field, and has not been for a long time. A couple of years ago, I made the case for having someone from M&E on each foundation team, and it was frankly an easy sell. Since then, we have always hired someone or gotten a current team member to go on each rotation. Also since then, we have hired our wonderful Kenyan staff, which makes us unbelievably more productive in the field.

The M&E fellow on this next rotation will be Kelly Gannon. Kelly has already been working with Nuru for the last two months or so. She knows her way around our organization. She knows the things we are struggling with and the things we have under control, and later today Jamie and I will have a conversation with her about what we hope to be her main areas of focus when she does this 13-month rotation. Nuru overall, and the M&E program in particular, is in a very good position at this point to really improve upon our work.

We have gathered baseline data for all of the impact programs, and our contractors, Derek Yankoff and Troy Hickerson, are hard at work developing a database to house all of the baseline and impact data that we are gathering for all programs. We have nailed down some draft indicators for our new Leadership program, and we will put them to use in the field soon.

Today when Jamie and I meet with Kelly to discuss her goals, we’ll talk about what to do next. She will focus on continuing to develop our Kenyan staff and hire new people if necessary, She will also focus on continuing to gather data when necessary, but most importantly, she will be working on analyzing the data we already have with the field staff. She will play a very important role in a very transitional and growth-filled time for Nuru. We are so excited about this new team!