Dristy Shrestha

Dristy Shrestha

Country: Tanzania
Organization: BRAC Tanzania

DRISTY: "BRAC is the world’s largest non-governmental development organization measured by the number of employees and the number of people it has helped. It is dedicated to empowering people and communities living in poverty, illiteracy, disease and social injustice through its various programs in areas ranging from microfinance, agriculture and food security, education and more. It currently operates in 11 countries across the globe

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Nashwa Khali

Organization: Vodafone Farmers Club / Groupe Spécial Mobile (GSMA)
Country: Ghana

NASHWA: GSMA1, working with a wide range of mobile network operators and civil society organisations, is launching a series of nutrition-focused m-health and m-agriculture initiatives in South Asia and sub- Saharan Africa, called mNutrition. The objective of mNutrition in mAgri is to create and scale commercially sustainable mobile services enabling smallholder farmers to improve their nutrition, yields and incomes. The product to be delivered and evaluated is the Vodafone Farmers’ Club. The service is a bundled solution offering agricultural information in addition to voice and SMS services. In order to measure the causal impact of the Farmers’ Club product, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) will conduct an external impact evaluation of the mAgri programme in Ghana in November 2016. A randomized encouragement design will be implemented. Specifically, some communities will be randomly assigned to receive additional marketing and promotion of the Farmers’ Club product and some communities will not be assigned to the additional marketing and promotion. The additional marketing and promotion will consist of price discounts, advertisement scripts, and gender targeting.

Rationale for Intervention

The rapid expansion of mobile phone access to populations at the base of the income pyramid presents an unprecedented opportunity to expand coverage of nutrition and agriculture services to this previously overlooked segment of the mobile market. Mobile phones and computer centers are the most targeted channels to provide not only technical and scientific information on crop production and nutrition, but also to support the marketing of products that can help level the playing field between small producers and traders. Agricultural extension services delivered via mobile phones can in theory promote ‘nutrition-sensitive’ interventions by creating competent and efficient farmers who are able to increase productivity by making effective use of knowledge and information which is delivered to them.

Broadly speaking, nutrition-sensitive agriculture is aimed at improving the nutritional status of a population by maximizing the impact of food and of agricultural systems, while minimizing the potential for negative externalities regarding the sector’s economic and production-driven goals. In the last few years there has been a visible trend in agricultural policies and programs to become ‘nutrition-sensitive’ by leveraging agriculture to maximize nutrition impact. Yet there is an identified need to better understand the linkages between agriculture and nutrition, and to decipher the ways in which agriculture can contribute to improved nutrition. Despite the potential of mobile services coupled with agricultural change to improve nutrition and diet quality, very few studies exist that critically assess the application of mobile phone technology for nutrition in resource-poor settings.

Farmers’ Club

Farmers’ Club is a bundled solution offering farmers agricultural and nutrition information in addition to voice and SMS services. The target market Vodafone expects to attract is about 450,000 Farmer Club users by 2016/17 across 8 regions in Ghana: Eastern Region, Western Region, Ashanti Region, Central Region, Northern Region, Volta, Brong-Ahafo, and Greater Accra. Researchers from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) are conducting a rigorous mixed-methods evaluation to estimate the impact of mNutrition and to understand how the context and the components of the mNutrition intervention shape its impact. To estimate the casual impacts of the product on farmer’s behavior, knowledge, nutrition, yields and income, a randomized encouragement design is being implemented where some communities are randomly assigned to receive additional marketing and promotion of the Farmers’ Club product and some are not assigned to the additional marketing and promotion. The additional marketing and promotion will consist of price discounts, advertisement scripts, and gender targeting.

The goal of the impact evaluation is to measure the causal impact of Farmers’ club on behaviors and outcomes linked to nutrition and agriculture. But before a full scale impact evaluation is rolled out; which is resource and time intensive IFPRI decided to do a pilot, which is the leg of the project that I was brought on to do. Essentially the purpose of the pilot was to test the assumptions of the evaluation and related encouragements before they are rolled out for the study and to test willingness to pay for the Farmer club product. As soon as I landed in Ghana I had three priority areas to work on:

  1. Build relationships with potential implementing partners and all the involved stakeholders; including Vodafone, The University of Ghana, and ESOKO2

  2. Collaborate with Vodafone to do user feedback surveys for existing Farmers’ Club customers. This would help the research team at IFPRI understand the rates of take-up of the service as well as the perceived benefits of subscribing.

  3. Set up the IRB3 protocol, as well as pilot evaluation that would allow us to answer the following research questions:

    •   How effective is the Farmer Club at increasing the knowledge and changing the behavior of farmers?

    •   What are the impacts and cost-effectiveness of the Farmer Club product on household’s dietary diversity, agricultural income, and production?

    •   Does targeting women increase impacts over and beyond the impacts of a non-targeted Farmer Club product?

  What is farmer’s willingness to pay for Farmer’s club?

The preliminary data gathered while I was in Ghana evidenced that Farmers’ Club positively enhanced the livelihoods and quality of life of smallholder farmers by improving access to information, financial services and supply chain solutions, delivered via mobile phone. Furthermore the mNutrition component of the intervention promoted behaviour change around key farming decisions and practices via mobile nutrition content.

Ananth Ganesa

Ananth Ganesa

Country: Sudan
Organization: World Food Programme

Ananth's internship was with the Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (VAM) unit in Khartoum, Sudan. VAM collects and analyses data from thousands of households every year – particularly in rural, poor and food insecure populations – to provide WFP program managers and the broader humanitarian community with information, analysis and advice.

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Fumi Tataki

Fumi Tataki

Country: Rwanda
Organization: African Entrepreneur Collective (AEC)

Fumi: "The purpose of my summer internship is to earn an experience of working in Africa to find approaches to achieve economic development through business. By working as a mentor and consultant for clients of African Entrepreneur Collective (AEC) in Rwanda, I developed strong interest in working in human capital development for small medium enterprises (SMEs) in the future.  

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Justin Sullivan

Justin Sullivan

Country: Rwanda
Organization: African Entrepreneur Collective (AEC)
 

Justin travelled to Kigali, Rwanda as a Global Business Mentor for African Entrepreneur Collective (AEC) at Inkomoko, AEC’s pilot program. AEC’s model has already helped create more than 700 jobs, while contributing to the country’s economic and social development.  

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Nathaniel Rosenblum

Nathaniel Rosenblum

Country: Rwanda
Organization: African Entrepreneur Collective (AEC), Inkomoko

Nathaniel spent the summer working for Inkomoko, a business acceleratory run by the African Entrepreneur Collective (AEC) based in Kigali, Rwanda. AEC through Inkomoko works with hundreds of entrepreneurs in Rwanda to help them move from start up to fully‐fledged business. They are not specialized in a particular field, and rather reflect the growth spaces of the Rwandan economy

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Braden Weinstock

Braden Weinstock

Country: South Africa

Organization: Endeavor South Africa

Braden Weinstock’s consulting project was with Endeavor South Africa. Endeavor is a leading non-profit accelerator with offices in about 20 emerging markets. He had three objectives for his summer experience – to learn about South Africa, to test his skills at supporting entrepreneurs, and to develop himself as a leader.

Braden: “My experience in South Africa was very enriching on both perofessional and personal fronts. Professionally, working in a non-profit I got to experience the culture and struggles which are both very different from a Fortune 500 firm. On a personal front, I learned I would love living in South Africa, and am pursuing career opportunities there now.”

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Owen M. Sanderson

Owen M. Sanderson

Country: Kenya

Organization: Ushahidi

Owen M. Sanderson worked in one of the fastest-crowing tech centers in the world: Nairobi, Kenya. He focused his summer on two objectives: supporting Ushahidi’s business development team as they think through their current business model and conducting several in-depth training seminars for a small cohort of young African entrepreneurs at Nairobi’s celebrated iHub.

Owen: “After two months in East Africa, I left feeling every optimistic about its future. I embarked upon my summer with the goal of investigating the unique link between technology and development. My summer in Nairobi underscored the widespread allure of technology and its potential to uplift millions.”

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Heather Lemunyon

Heather Lemunyon

Country: Rwanda

Organization: AEC (The African Entrepreneur Collective

Heather Lemunyon’s role at AEC (The African Entrepreneur Collective) was to serve as a Global Business Mentor, or and entrepreneurship consultant who worked one-on 0one with AEC’s clients in business planning financial planning, developing strategies for growth, market and sales analysis, and and strategic vision.

Heather: “In every way possible, my time as a Global Business Mentor with AEC was outstanding. Not only did I fulfill all of my personal goals for my internship experience, I was allowed great opportunities to directly and positively impact the growth of East African companies that I hope will continue to grow, increase employment, and continue to develop this region of the world with such large opportunities and potential.”

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Anisha Baghudana

Anisha Baghudana

Country: Kenya

Organization: MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth / Institute of Business in the Global Context.

Anisha Baghudana completed a research fellowship with the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth and Institute of Business in the Global Context (IBGC) at the Fletcher School. MasterCard and IBGC piloted a new initiative for Fletcher graduate students this year to support original research touching upon the themes of private sector innovation to promote inclusive development in emerging and frontier markets.

Anisha: “I am indebted to the Blakeley Foundation for providing me the opportunity to pursue my career interests and am hugely thankful to Jerry Blakeley for giving me the flexibility to do a research project instead of a traditional internship”

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Jennie Vader

Jennie Vader

Country: Kenya

Organization: Vera Solutions

Jennie Vader began her internship with Vera Solutions by designing and conducting two assessments of the company’s overall effectiveness and client satisfaction. She contributed to blog posts, information templates, and provided internal knowledge of DM&E processes. She also had the opportunity to assist on a client project, developing theory of change, indicators and assessment tools for Generation Citizen, a nonprofit dedicated to introducing action citizenship into US schools.

Jennie: “I learned so much more than technical skills; I learned a lot about myself, the state of the field, and where I want to head on my career path! Thank you so much for this unique opportunity and for continuing to support Fletcher student. We appreciate all you do!”

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Keith Mangam

Keith Mangam

Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Organization: FINCA International

Keith Mangam’s worked as part of FINCA’s Client Research Fellows Program, helping FINCA to measure and manage its social performance throughout the world. His main task was to act as the Survey Manager, leading a comprehensive survey of 439 households throughout the DRC branches. He helped to recruit and train local surveyors and staff in the use of smartphones as a tool for facilitating data collection.

Keith : “I believe that this experience has given me first hand experiences with cultures in conflict and has given me a more realistic expectations of how societies react in post-conflict settings. I gained good insights into the world of micro-finance, both the perspectives of those offering the services as well as the beneficiaries of those services.”

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Julia Leis

Julia Leis

Country: Burkina Faso
Organization: Millennium Challenge Corporation

Julia Leis was selected to work on the Diversified Agriculture Activity, a $30 million project of the $490 million Millennium Challenge Compact with Burkina Faso, designed to increase rural incomes and employment and to enhance the competitiveness of the rural economies in the Sourou Valley and the Comoe Basin. She completed an extensive value chain analysis of the project’s deliverables, synthesizing different activities along the supply chain within certain sectors, providing insight on the multitude of interventions taking place in the regions over the past few years.

Julia: “Working with MCC and Burkinabé colleagues was an incredible experience. I gained an understanding of the complexity of contract management and program implementation in the field. While I have studied international development during my undergraduate years and now graduate school, it was incredibly valuable to see how complex projects are managed and implemented on the ground, and learn about the importance of partnerships with local communities. I now feel more prepared and committed to pursuing a career in development in West Africa and I’m very grateful to have had this opportunity.”

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Chuck Dokmo

Chuck Dokmo

Country: Chad
Organization: Enterprise for Vocational Development (ENVODEV)

Chuck Dokmo acted as a market researcher, networker, strategist, project Designer & Manager for ENVODEV, a small start-up NGO with vocational and energy projects in southern Chad. He was responsible for growing a network of contacts within N’Djamena, conducting market research on charcoal in the region and assessing the sustainability and scalability of ENVODEV’s charcoal project. His findings helped to determine the course of ENVODEV’s future strategies for meeting urban demand.

Chuck also led a team of 5 to develop two new models of clean, efficient cookstoves, and worked with the International Director to explore several new partnerships.

Chuck: “This internship was a landmark experience in my life. It pushed me well outside of my comfort zone, and I enjoyed the numerous challenges we faced. Most of all, I thoroughly enjoyed the people with whom I worked.”

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Dhriti Bhatta

Dhriti Bhatta

Country: Uganda
Organization: FIT-Uganda Pvt. Ltd: an agro-consulting firm in Kampala

Dhriti Bhatta worked as a member of the consulting team at FIT, developing a rollout strategy for FIT’s latest product, FARMIS (Farmer’s Record Management System). She conducted value chain analysis for the coffee sub-sector, wrote proposals for consultancy projects, and conducted analysis for FIT’s trademark product, the Market Analysis Report (MAR) 2013, a comprehensive collection of price information of over 40 commodities from over 35 markets in Uganda.

Dhriti: “This experience was important for me, as I got a a sense of how rural Uganda still is and how difficult it is to operate businesses there. I was pleasantly surprised by the farmers’ groups we came across there. The leaders of these organizations seemed quite entrepreneurial and were excited to test out a product like FARMIS. Overall, my experience in FIT Uganda was quite important to my academic and intellectual interests. I learnt a lot more about how the agriculture sector works, specifically in East Africa. Also visiting a growing East African country gave me a sense of how those markets are expanding and increasingly becoming more important globally.”

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