All over the world, inequalities exist. In the US, the typical white family has 20 times the wealth of the median black family. People like Troy Davis face the death penalty even when facts are hazy. Where Nuru works in Kenya, people can still go to bed hungry, children do not always go to school, women and girls can walk more than two hours each day to fetch water for their families.
In working with Nuru for 7 months as an M&E Fellow, I don’t often think about these inequalities amidst the day-to-day shuffle. I work in our offices with a youthful, light-hearted team who often chat about topics such as who won the latest Manchester United soccer match. We talk about babies being born or make jokes about our work in M&E. Despite the general positive atmosphere among the Nuru Kenya staff and different people I have interacted with throughout my time here, underlying difficulties do persist – people have been robbed, have gone missing, have gotten malaria, and have died.
I’ve witnessed the Nuru model in action – when farmers grow with Nuru, they can save. Once farmers save, they can afford to pay school fees and healthcare costs. Then children can go to school and people stay healthy and life improves. But, M&E doesn’t quite have the numbers to show these interconnected interactions yet.
So far, we have used logic models for each individual program area to separately look at activities, outputs and outcomes of Agriculture, CED, Education, Healthcare, Leadership and Water and Sanitation individually. But what happens when one outcome of an Agriculture intervention loops back around to affect an output or outcome of the CED program? For example, John makes extra cash from selling his maize yield to Nuru and can thus save to buy a plow cow with the CED program because of this extra cash. How can we capture these interactions? As this overlapping of programs could be overlooked in individually assessing each program, we really need to identify how the Nuru model is integrated – which parts push and pull at one another and which parts inhibit other parts from reaching their capacity.
Even though I’m heading back to the states soon and a new M&E Fellow – the amazing David Brown – will take on my position, the M&E team will continue moving forward to challenge these complexities and unique interactions within Nuru’s model. Although inequalities will continue, our M&E team can begin to understand how Nuru’s programming works together to affect such differences.