Recap of the Summer and Trip to Esfuerzo

In my previous post, I described the four protocols written before the trip to guide our field research in Esfuerzo de Paraíso, Dominican Republic. The JdV Inclusivity, Road, Electrification, and Health protocols each had goals and outlined methods to achieve them. In this post, I will describe how the trip went and how we were able to accomplish the goals we set out, even when things didn’t go as planned.

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Writing the Protocols to Guide Our Field Research in Esfuerzo

I had trouble posting this while I was in the Dominican Republic, so I had to wait until we got back to post this blog. The final summary will be coming soon!

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Calling all map nerds!

A month into my fellowship at CERSGIS in Accra, Ghana, we are hitting the ground running. We are beginning to lead professional trainings in GIS (Geographic Information Systems) at the National Development Planning Commission, which will be the main focus of the rest of our time here in Accra. GIS is a digital system that allows the user to perform advanced spatial analysis and ultimately create maps that make what otherwise might be overwhelmingly complicated data more accessible to policymakers, planners, researchers, or consumers.

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The U-report team goes to Karamoja

One of the highlights of my time in Uganda was hosting a conference with the U-report team to introduce district government and civil society organizations to crowdsourced data. It took a full day’s drive to reach Moroto, in Karamoja (the northeastern region of Uganda). Though it was known for a history of violence, the area is now experiencing peace and growth. The leaders we met from Abim and Moroto districts were very receptive to incorporating U-report data into their decision-making processes.

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Organizations of all sizes making an impact in Uganda

One question I’ve pondered frequently is the tradeoff between working with smaller vs. larger organizations. While being a member of a small team allows you to have greater autonomy and responsibility, you may find your capacity and influence limited. The bureaucratic structure of big organizations may lead to inefficiency, though the weight and experience of a large institution can help you accomplish larger projects. Luckily, this summer, I didn’t have to choose: as an AidData Summer Fellow placed at UNICEF Uganda, I gained valuable experience working in an international NGO’s large country office while being supported by a small team at AidData in Williamsburg and Development Gateway in D.C.

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