One of our summer interns, Nathalie, leaves tomorrow for the field. I tell her she is the second ever Research Team field staff member. The hard part will be ensuring that her allegiance remains with the pajama-wearing domestic-staff warriors here in the States and doesn’t waiver towards the international staff. I hope she doesn’t get a case of Stockholm Syndrome. I’ll just have to watch from afar if that happens.

I kid, I kid. But I will be watching her.

The last thing I discussed with her during our final domestic Skype meeting was the difference between what will eventually constitute the PIN and what will eventually constitute the M&E system.

As a reminder, the M&E system is a tool that we plan to use to measure poverty levels according to our five target areas. That’s about it in a sentence. We built one a couple of years ago, refined it last year, put it to use last year, and saw that it was very broken and flawed through that process. Many a lesson-learned there. So, there’s a Metrics 1.0, and we’re working on a Metrics 2.0.

Metrics 2.0 V1 will be ready for use by the end of 2010, according to our current plan. We just made the decision that we’ll not be heading to any additional countries next year, so that takes a bit of stress out of our Metrics revision process. We’ll only use this system in Kenya next year.

And also as a reminder, the PIN (Poverty Intelligence Network) is a network of data that is being gathered with phones in the field. If you look around this website, you can see a lot of information about our wonderful PIN. It was developed in the springtime, and it’s already being used in some great ways now! Our agriculture program area, for instance, is using it to decide upon order amounts for farmers of fertilizer and seed according to acreage amounts collected and compiled via the phones.

I like to say that the PIN can be anything related to data. It is any information that Nuru finds of use to gather and compile via phones.

We think….we are not sure, but we think….that there will end up being some overlap amongst the data that will be in the PIN and the data that will be part of the M&E system.

An example could possibly be this: we could decide that, according to an agreed-upon and general definition of extreme health poverty, the incidence rate of infant mortality must decrease by a certain percentage in a community over the time that the U.S.-based staff of Nuru does work in the field in order to define the community as one that is no longer living in extreme poverty. The monitoring of that particular metric every year by a third-party evaluation team would constitute the work of M&E System.

In addition, infant mortality rate, most likely, will be something that is gathered and compiled within the context of our PIN. Nuru staff members will gather this information from members of the communities where we work on a much more regular basis than once a year. More like once a week or once a month.

So, will there be data overlap? I think so.

Here are some decisions we have to make: can data gathered in the PIN be used for our M&E system? If so, how can we really call it third-party data? Can we certify it? It becomes longitudinal data then, though, right? Is that appropriate as part of an M&E system as we’ve conceptualized said system?

Decisions to be made. Not now, though. Over time.