Back in the Swing and Getting Ready for Ethiopia

However informative training is, it always leaves me (and I think all my Nuru colleagues) feeling like we sure do have a lot of work to do.

I am down in Southern California after three days up in the Bay Area where I attended a training session organized by Lindsay Cope and attended by a group of eight Nuru people. Thomas Hong, Matt Lee, myself, Jamie Frederick, Jake, Lindsay Cope, Chelsea Barabas, and Radhika Warrier were all trained for three days by Bonnie Kittle on Qualitative Research, Barrier Analysis, Focus Group Discussions, Key Informant Interviews, and a few other topics. Those are big topics to cover in such a short time, but Bonnie rolled with it and covered them all. She has been doing development work all over the world since the early seventies, so for every scenario we discussed, Bonnie had a first-hand example or story to share with us. That part of our training was incredibly helpful. It not only helped us further understand the concepts she was presenting, but made us feel like we could actually accomplish the complex tasks we were learning about. Bonnie gave us confidence.

We told her a lot about our model and what, indeed, we are trying to do. She recommended some ways to change the model and she pointed out a few ways that we will eventually have to change if we start getting some restricted funding. Overall, it was a very good three days. We have a lot of tools to go forward with.

The next big step is to decide exactly how to use those tools this year when we head to Ethiopia (pending a final round of funding that we are hoping for this month). The logistics of our travel to Ethiopia include Jake leaving in the spring to spend a few months there working with some of the people who will likely be our local staff and coordinating with government officials, some anthropologists we know in the area, and a few other stakeholders who are local including some NGOs we will likely partner with. His work during that time will be Situational Analysis. The M&E team will need to provide him with some specific requests for information. He’ll decide with whom to talk and where to research for that information.

The next thing that will happen is that Chelsea and Jamie will join Jake in Ethiopia in the summer to conduct M&E and Leadership work. The only things that we know for sure at this point are that the M&E work will include the conduct of a census and the baseline MPAT in the communities where we plan to work and that the Leadership work will include some recruiting. We need to decide which of the vital Needs Assessment activities that Bonnie taught us about this week will be conducted during that time and who will conduct them. We also need to decide whether we consider the MPAT part of a Needs Assessment. I just talked to Jamie about this today, and as the person who managed our last MPAT in Kenya, she expressed some concern about whether it can potentially serve that purpose. She and I will have to talk about this a lot over the next few weeks and develop a perspective on this matter.

The end-users, of course, of what we are able to gather in the context of whatever work we end up calling our Needs Assessment work, are the program advisors and program managers. Their input into whatever we come up with will be vital and will determine the final nature of our needs assessment.

About Gabrielle Blocher

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