2011 Blakeley Fellows
Elana Fiekowsky worked as an impact evaluation specialist at VinaCapital Foundation the summer of 2011. VinaCapital Foundation (VCF) is the corporate foundation for VinaCapital, the largest Vietnamese investment firm. VCF focuses on providing heart surgery to children who would not be able to afford them otherwise, HeartBeat Vietnam, and improving the cardiac healthcare system in Vietnam. VCF also provides a seven year scholarship to ethnic minority girls to ensure that these girls can go finish high school and college, and go on to become role models within their communities’, Brighter Path program.
As an impact evaluation specialist, Elana designed, implemented and analyzed evaluations for their HeartBeat Vietnam and Brighter Path project. To do this work, Elana worked with the program teams to learn what indicators to measure and helped train the team to run and then understand the findings after the evaluations were done. Additionally, Elana helped design program changes in order to increase the rigor and information gathering for these projects.
Michelle worked with two Kiva microfinance partners, BRAC Uganda and Pearl Microfinance Limited. Her goal as a Fellow was to ensure that each institution accurately represented Kiva and was utilizing Kiva funds efficiently. She saw how Kiva’s mission came together in the field and had significant involvement with top management at both MFIs.
The Fellowship reiterated my previously held belief that microfinance alone cannot solve problems in development, and that access to health systems, education, and good governance among other things, is needed for change to be sustainable.
Evelyn conducted field research with World Health Partners in rural India, in support of the social franchise’s efforts to improve access to healthcare using local market forces and cutting-edge technology. Her work in Bihar focused on understanding the organic network of Bihari health providers before the WHP network was to be started. She conducted a baseline survey of existing providers to find out how they were connected to one another, including doctors, pathological labs, pharmaceutical distributors and supply chain components. The goal was to see what gaps, bottlenecks or roadblocks existed. Data included referral practices, impact on patient in terms of cost and patient travel time, cost to patient for four priority diseases so that WHP’s franchise could be as efficient and effective as possible.
Arielle worked at Population and Community Development Association (PDA) in Bangkok, Thailand where she designed a Community Development Program to target the specific needs of migrants in Thailand. This entailed creating assessment guidelines, conducting numerous interviews and researching the social, political, and economic factors at play in these communities in order to improve Thai-migrant relations.
Elisabeth worked for MicroEnsure, a subsidiary of Opportunity International, on a health microinsurance project for poor, small shareholder coffee farmers in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. She assisted the NGO with marketing and communications.
Meghan conducted the Program Evaluation of a microcredit and sustainable agriculture program in Leon, Nicaragua for SosteNica, a U.S.-based nonprofit that funds sustainable agriculture and development initiatives in rural Nicaragua . As the Evaluation Consultant, Meghan developed and conducted an assessment of the socio-economic and environmental impact of this pilot program on its participants.
Countries: Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala
Sebastián spent ten weeks working for Catholic Relief Services in Central America under the Agriculture for Needs (A4N) project, implemented in Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. During this time, he traveled through these countries, interviewing farmers and women in savings groups, as well as local partners’ Staff. As a result of his work, CRS adapted a set of guidelines to be applied regionally for A4N. These guidelines set clear rules for local partners to implement the project and how to work wit the beneficiaries in delivering tangible and intangible inputs for agricultural production, small business, savings groups and large investments in productive infrastructures. Sebastián experienced firsthand the powerful effect that savings groups have in women’s lives and the challenges faced by rural households in the most impoverished areas in Central America.
Jenya worked at Kompanion, a Microfinance Company established by Mercy Corps. She worked on monitoring and evaluating agricultural extension programs that Kompanion carries out as part of its development mission and also provided recommendations on how to develop a social performance management system for the company.
Country: Catholic Relief Services
Jocelyn worked with Catholic Relief Services-Rwanda (CRS-Rw) to analyze how male and female farmers benefit differently from CRS’ agricultural and value-added production programs. She designed focus group surveys to meet with coffee, sweet potato, and cassava farmer’s groups. Her research was shared with the CRS-Rw livelihoods team to improve future agricultural and gender programming.