Last week I had the joy and pleasure of taking a little trip away from unendingly snowy Ohio over to the West Coast (Bay Area to be precise) to attend training for Foundation Team 6.

It was an almost perfect few days. On a personal note, the combination of Nuru being a virtual organization, us doing such unique and intense work, and me having been with Nuru for a little over two years now means that some of my closest friends are my work friends and they live very far away from me. So the trip was a pleasure personally for me because I got to spend some time with a few very important people to me.

On a professional note, I got to make some new friends! I met the team members who will make up Foundation Team 6. They are leaving for Kenya in a couple of weeks to continue and build on the work of their predecessors.  We will be working together a lot this year as the Research Team will continue to do research projects for staff members and the conduct of Evaluation 2 in May will entail me making another trek to the project site to work side-by-side with them. The Evaluation will involve prep work and after-action work as well.  More on that in a paragraph or two.

Stephanie and I administered two training sessions for the field staff, which was great. We trained on the structure of the research team,  the process for volunteer research project requests, and the wild and wacky world of Measurement and Evaluation as it currently stands. There was a lot of great interaction, and in the end I feel quite confident that we all understand one-another.

In this virtual world, my little trip to the coast is proof to me of the profound effect of a face-to-face meeting. Worth 1,000,000 words.

…and for a tad more on the big Evaluation. I was quite concerned that we were going to have a hard time finding Evaluators. That concern has been eradicated and replaced by concern about how we are going to choose from amongst the many qualified applicants I have been talking with over the last few days. In addition, there are about twelve organizations that Stephanie and I are contacting over the next couple of days to look for interest from. So, I believe this big push that we have conducted to try to find someone seems to have at least yielded a great number of interested parties. The next step, again, is picking someone and/or some organization. It is an exciting opportunity for anyone or any organization to be the first ever to implement the MPAT in Africa, so I shouldn’t be surprised that there is such interest.

I am so grateful that we believe in objective assessment of the poverty levels in the communities where we work!