A Plan in Action

Thursday, June 19, 2014

After a few weeks of doing odds and ends for ObservaCoop we have finally landed our first large assignment for the summer: geocoding a portfolio European Commission projects in Mexico and using ArcGIS to create maps and a final report for the European Union. It was really exciting and somewhat intimidating at first, since we found out that we, as Summer Fellows, would be largely responsible for the execution of this project. Since none of the Fellows at Observacoop, myself included, have any real experience managing such an endeavor, the best we could do was smile and say “ya lo hacemos!” After all, it was going to be a learning experience for all of us – it would be our first time managing a project and it would be the interns’, our primary geocoders, first time geocoding.

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Integrating Geographic Data

During my fifth, sixth, and seventh weeks of research, I investigated how to use my GeoNames data to eliminate and add locations.

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Poco a poco

Today marks the beginning of my third week in Mexico. When I came here two weeks ago, my bank PIN was rebelling, I was haphazardly thinking in three languages (English, Spanish, and Chinese), and I had a touch of altitude sickness. Within 48 hours of starting the job, my colleagues, Emily and Clay, and I put together a three-part geocoding training session in Spanish and then delivered it throughout the course of the week. We then read evaluations and improved the training program for our next session, which will be held a few weeks from now.

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Final Summary: Nutrition Tracking

Though I will be continuing this project throughout the coming semester, I have summarized my research from my work in-country and explained how it has impacted  my data analysis strategy thus far.

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Renewed Effort Against Child Hunger (REACH) and AidData

After coordinating and leading a GIS training at the Makerere University School of Public Health, I returned to focusing on nutrition mapping. I developed a concept note for the integration of AidData geocoding with the stakeholder mapping process, collaborated with contacts at MUSPH, the WFP, and the SUN secretariat on my planned methodology, and finally scored a meeting with the Uganda SUN focal person from the Office of the Prime Minister. I’ve come to learn that collaborating with government/UN agencies can be pretty hierarchical. After I pitched my concept note to the SUN focal person and received her approval and enthusiasm about moving forward, my work was taken more seriously at the WFP. She connected me with the REACH consultant who was working on the micro-level mapping I discussed in my last post. We worked together to edit the terms of reference for the mapping process and split the methodology into three sections: (1) Situation analysis (a review of nutrition indicators in Uganda) (2) Coverage map (AidData macro-mapping) and (3) Local context (REACH micro-mapping).

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