And the Research Team keeps on growing! As of this week, another team member has joined us from within the ranks of Nuru… Janine Brown. Janine is actually one of the longest standing employees of Nuru. She was amongst the five original staff members of our illustrious organization, and she has a tremendous amount of experience working in the field. We are so excited to have her with us!

She as a person is exciting and wonderful to work with  – she is full of energy, enthusiasm, love for Nuru’s work and the people of Kuria.  And, the content she is producing is also exciting! She is managing the development of a model for Community Health Workers (CHWs) for Nuru.

Her research includes looking into what other organizations are doing in this area by contacting them, culling through open-source information about them, and perhaps visiting one or two organizations to do some shadowing. Once we have learned what we need to about these other organizations, we’ll do our best do develop our own model! Some portions of the model will probably come from the best practices and lessons learned from others, and some portions will be original ideas from within our walls. Ha! (We don’t have walls anywhere….)

As of yesterday, one of our Research Volunteers has joined Janine’s task force: Adam Terese. He will work with her each week to assist in finding out this open source information. Then, they will share research results and work together to come up with specific recommendations about Nuru’s new program.

This is great work and a perfect example of how our field staff can produce great things for Nuru when they are on their domestic rotations. We look forward to developing a final product for use in the field.

We have a few other independent long-term research projects going on here at Nuru, but one in particular that I will also mention is the work of Chelsea Barabas. She’s another field staffer on a domestic rotation, and she’s working on writing up some information about Nuru’s leadership model. Anyone who knows about Nuru knows that we have a very strong culture of service leadership here, and we work to instill it in domestic and international staff-members. Chelsea’s work is to define that culture and what it means, particularly for the staffers we hire from the communities we serve.

With my military and business school background, I can say I’ve had more conversations about how difficult it is to define leadership than I would care to count. With Chelsea, though, over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had some conversations unlike any that I have had in the past – We have been talking about how to measure effective leadership, both in hired staff members and potential staff members! There are a lot of resources out there, and we’ve been talking about some interesting stuff. Here is her favorite tool so far: The Leadership Practice Inventory. We have been discussing the possibility of using this inventory on Kenyan staffers with one little tweak: we want to measure the ability of a staffer to make critical decisions in the field with little input from U.S. staffers. We shall see…

Until next week, thanks for reading.