Aid and Development Research at Kathmandu University

Hey everyone! My name is Sara Rock, and I am currently a junior at the College of William and Mary. I’m an International Relations and Chinese Double Major and have been interning at AidData Center for Development Policy for the last two semesters. I’m very excited to introduce our readers to AidData’s upcoming summer fellowship in Kathmandu, Nepal! To start off, I’ll explain what kind of research AidData produces. AidData is an initiative which helps create a bank of data which tracks international aid projects. This organization, which just this year received millions of dollars from the government, actually started as a research collaboration between a William and Mary student and professor a few years back. Today, AidData is a large network which collaborates with members from William and Mary, Brigham Young University, University of Texas and many other organizations in the field of development.

As an intern, I have participated in geocoding aid projects, which means taking the locations of development projects and coding them in a way which can be presented in a map format. This summer, I will be an AidData fellow at Kathmandu University, so my work is likely to get a lot more complicated. For this summer, me and three other AidData fellows will be working in Nepal. One of our first goals is to help install geospatial analysis software at Kathmandu University to allow students, teachers and staff to begin their own geocoding research. After we set up the necessary software, the fellows will focus on teaching methods of data collection and analysis for future research.

There is still a lot about geospatial analysis and GIS that I don’t understand, but the most exciting part of this program is the opportunity to learn these skills through good old-fashioned hands-on experience. I’m certain that us fellows will be learning so much more about these research methods as we collaborate with students and faculty of Kathmandu University to apply these methods to the field. While we are increasing our own skills and experience, we will also be working towards AidData’s greater goals of improving the transparency and effectiveness of international aid projects. This will undoubtedly be a challenging and exciting summer, and I’m looking forward to sharing this unique experience with you all!