The field work for the MPAT has been completed. It is amazing to say that! We conducted surveys in over 450 households in two of the sub-locations where we plan to scale in the fall. Alasdair is working on what will end up being a very thorough and interesting report of all the results, and we will analyze them over the coming months. We will also use the results to plan how we will scale to these two new sub-locations in Kenya.

This is really a turning point for us as an organization. We have always believed in the power of good data and objective analysis of it as a means to make decisions about our interventions, but this is really the best data we have had so far to do this. We have done a lot of work in this area, and even had some very hard working consultants come in and conduct an evaluation for us back in 2009, but our metrics system was not good enough as a framework to guide us towards the collection of good data.

The MPAT is a good system. It is well-researched and vetted, has been piloted in other countries, and really worked for us as an off-the-shelf system from the beginning. All we had to do was pick the communities where we wanted to collect data, make a sampling frame, hire some folks to conduct the surveys, translate the surveys into the languages we wanted to use, and get it done (I guess that’s a lot of work, but it didn’t take that much TIME…just a month or two).

Anyway, much more on the results of our data collection, compilation, and analysis to come in the next couple of months.

I wanted to fill you in on other news from the M&E team: last week we had a gathering of all the full-time employees of Nuru in one of our unofficial “hubs” of operation, San Clemente, California. It was an amazing week. As I believe most of you know, we are basically a virtual organization. All of us employees, other than the staff deployed in Kenya, work from our homes. Those homes are all over the U.S.A. I am in Cincinnati, there are folks all around the Bay Area, we have an employee in West Virginia, one in Georgia, a couple in Texas, one in Manhattan, a few in and around Chicago, and a few in San Clemente. We have experienced a lot of growth in the past year, so when we all got together last week, a good number of us met for the first time. It was great to put in-person personalities to faces and names. 🙂 A stupendous week in countless ways.

The first half of the week was spent with the international team focusing on, you guessed it, international issues. Most of our issues are international, yes, but there are some big domestic ones too, like fundraising. We made a few big decisions about the M&E team during those first couple of days that I will share with you as they solidify over the next couple of months. Both Jamie Frederick (our current fellow) and David Brown (the fellow who will start work with us in the fall) were present, so we had a good little group for team discussions. Plenty to talk about! If any of you readers have any suggestions or thoughts about conducting Needs Assessments in developing countries, I’m all ears (and eyes, since I’ll probably really be reading your input rather than hearing it).

Next week I’ll fill you in on a couple of other topics that we discussed during our week together. Until then, Happy 4th of July!