Alright, alright…last week we had a guest blogger (thank you, Stephanie), and the two weeks prior to that I posted some stuff about coal mining, hurricanes, innovation, and tobacco. Each post was very fun to write, but I realize it has been a while since I’ve given an update as to what we’re actually doing here on the Research Team. 

The answer is a lot and a wide variety of things. Here is a list:

  • Our lovely PR Director, Laura Changala, has been guiding me through the completion of a project I started several months ago, revisited this summer with one of my interns, Lindsay Ewy, and have been working on for the last couple of weeks. It is an extra long blog post that we’ll put up here as the story of Nuru’s Measurement and Evaluation process. It’s a tragedy; it’s a comedy; it’s engrossing. It will read like a David Foster Wallace essay. You’ll love it.
  • Janine Brown has been hard at work researching Community Health Worker (CHW) models of other organizations so we can decide upon and define our model with precision, thoroughness, and research to back it up! Next week she is heading to a conference with one of the organizations she’s researching to get some curriculum ideas. The week after that, I will head down to Georgia to work with her in-person as she gets into development of her final deliverable
  • Stephanie told you last week about the MPAT. We are moving along in the process of our metrics overhaul quite nicely. We’re in discussions internally about whether to incorporate the MPAT into our work with metrics. This decision is still very up in the air based on a lot of things including resources. We’re still on the path, though, to deciding on which program metrics we will work with in each of our target areas. It is exciting work!
  • I had a final meeting today with Nathalie Collins, our Kuria-based intern, on her recommendations to us on our phone-based data gathering system, the Poverty Intelligence Network (PIN). It was great to catch up with her a tad and talk about all the great work she did for us this summer on this wonderful project. We are still very much in a piloting stage of this project, but it is very good and has a lot of potential. We are alongside a lot of other organizations who are just beginning to implement systems like this as well, which is also exciting.
  • Lindsay Ewy helped me this summer with the process I use to manage volunteers here on the research team. Now, I am implementing the recommendations she made! The process is improving, slowly but surely, and we are working to better meet all the needs of both our field and domestic staff in terms of research. It is pretty cool! One new thing that has started to happen is that volunteers are getting assigned directly to staff members for longer-term work than our typical two-week turnaround research requests. It is a great way for volunteers to be more intertwined with all the work that happens at Nuru and for the staffers to give more direct guidance to the folks who are helping them out.

…and then some! Those are the major things I wanted to take the time to report on. We are busy, things are good, and I’m so happy about all the innovation that is occurring in the organization!