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fall 2013

Literacy and Empowerment - Rubia (Fall 2013)

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Literacy and Empowerment - Rubia (Fall 2013)

Client Profile

Rubia promotes women’s empowerment through literacy, education and income generation from the sale of their heritage handwork. An American scholar started Rubia as a grassroots embroidery project in Pakistan in the year 2000 when desperate Afghan refugees asked her to help them find a means to earn income.  These impoverished embroiderers, who belong to the minority Pashai tribe, continued selling their handwork through Rubia when they returned to their homes in Eastern Afghanistan when the Taliban was overthrown after September 11, 2001.  Over the past 14 years, Rubia’s literacy and embroidery projects have grown, in spite of worsening poverty, increasing insecurity, and a rise in Islamic fundamentalism.  All aspects of the development and implementation of Rubia’s programs are rooted in local culture, using community members at all levels to help build the economy and capacity in their home region. Most recently, 600 Afghan women participated in “Threads of Change,” a curriculum that integrates health, human rights and literacy with handwork.  In 2007, Rubia spread to Manchester, New Hampshire in response to the needs of impoverished refugees from Central African who had fled the genocide and were trying to rebuild their lives in the US. “Sewing Confidence,” Rubia’s American program, has expanded over the past five years to include financial literacy and entrepreneurship. Rubia is considering expanding its work to other countries, including Mali.

See all Development Advisory Team projects with Rubi

Definition of Problem

Mali is undergoing a painful transition, after it imploded when a 2012 rebellion of Islamists and Tuaregs in the north interrupted a decade of peace and democratic rule. The August 2013 election of Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who ran his Presidential campaign on a pledge to restore Mali’s dignity, offers a hopeful moment for this battered West African nation. This project offers an opportunity to assess whether the Rubia model combining income generation with education that was developed for women displaced by conflict in Afghanistan and New Hampshire literacy is relevant to post-conflict Mali.  With Mali’s rich tradition of making beautiful textiles, especially its world-renown mud cloth (bogolan), there may be opportunities for Rubia to engage in Mali at this critical moment in its history.

Initial Steps and Options

Rubia has tested its integrated model of women’s empowerment through a combination of literacy, handwork, and income generation in two sites.  A DAT can assist Rubia to determine if there is a demand for a similar approach among women surviving conflict and displacement in Mali.  The DAT would start with an analysis of Mali’s political, economic, and socio-cultural environment. Specifically, it would seek to answer the questions:

  1. What contextual factors would favor the adoption of the Rubia model to Mali?
  2. What contextual factors may inhibit the adoption of the Rubia model to Mali?
  3. In light of the your response to Question 2, what interventions would you as development practitioners recommend to mitigate these inhibiting forces?
  4. What aspects(if any) of the Rubia model— income generation, literacy, health education, or preservation of heritage textiles— do Malian women need the most and which would you start with? (They are not mutually exclusive.) 

The team would also explore possible partner organizations that may be currently working with Malian women on education and income generating, preferably through the sale of their traditional textiles.  Some team member or members should be able to work in French.

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Communicating for Impact - Inter-American Development Bank (Fall 2013)

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Communicating for Impact - Inter-American Development Bank (Fall 2013)

Client Profile

Established in 1959, the Inter-American Development Bank is the leading source of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean, with a strong commitment to achieve measurable results, increased integrity, transparency, and accountability. The IDB has an evolving reform agenda that seeks to increase our development impact in the region.

While the IDB is a regular bank in many ways, it is also unique in some key respects. Besides loans, the IDB also provides grants, technical assistance and does research. The IDB has shareholders, 48 member countries, including 26 Latin American and Caribbean borrowing members, who have a majority ownership of the IDB.

See all Development Advisory Team projects with Inter-American Development Bank

Definition of Problem

Education is a priority area for the IDB, and there is a new strategy for the education for the bank, following a IDB reorganization six years ago. A key area for the IBD and its educational division is effectively communicating to policy makers, educators, academics, and other stakeholders about its work.

Initial Steps and Options

Students look at the most effective ways to communicate about the priorities of the IDB educational sector framework to policy makers, academics, NGOS, and other interested audiences in the region. The students might look at what other organizations (such as the World Bank, Ashoka, Gates Foundation, Save the Children, among other possibilities) have done in terms of a communication strategies, as well as, possibly, do focus group research with some particular group of actors or in a particular location.  

 

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Maternal and Child Health - Ford Family Program (Fall 2013)

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Maternal and Child Health - Ford Family Program (Fall 2013)

Client Profile

Dandora (Nairobi, Kenya) is one of the largest urban squatter settlements in the world. The Holy Cross Congregation has had been working for more than 50 years in Dandora. The Kellogg Institute’s Ford Family Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity works closely with the community in Dandora to explore different opportunities for social, community and health development. The Parish and community have expressed a long-term interest in establishing a maternity ward, and donors have also expressed interest in providing support.  We would like this to be a ward that incorporates research, focusing on serving a population for which high quality, cutting edge care maternal and child health care is often out of reach.

See all Development Advisory Team projects with the Ford Family Program

Definition of Problem

The Ford Family Program would like a group of students, ideally with at least one premedical or global/public health student, to investigate strategies to improve the services available at the community level by harnessing mobile technology.

Initial Steps and Options

Investigate potential models that use mobile technology to improve the provision of maternal, pre-natal and post-natal care to women in resource-poor settings in East Africa.  The final product should include:

1)    Identify at least 4 -5 separate models, programs or initiatives that use mobile technology that improves (or attempt to improve) maternal health in the developing world.

  1. At least 1 of these examples should involve the use of a handset-based application to guide the interaction of community health workers and community members.
  2. At least 1 of these examples should involve the use of a handset-based application to monitor maternal health indicators.
  3. At least 1 of the examples should involve the use of mobile communications (e.g., text messaging or mobile phone communication) for community health workers to interact directly with community members.
  4. At least 1 of the examples should involve the use of a mobile money transfer platform.  Potential examples may use the platform to deliver subsidized care to targeted participants, provide unconditional cash transfers, improve service delivery at the facility level, or some other purpose.

2)    The final product should evaluate the potential models based on the following criteria, and identify the single program or strategy expected to succeed:

  1. Cost effectiveness
  2. Ease of implementation
  3. Proven benefit or impact
  4. Potential ease of scalability
  5. Relevance for the local context

3)    The chosen model or program should include a budget, work plan, and timeline to fully understand the resources needed to implement a similar initiative in Kenya

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Child Nutrition and Development - Indian Institutes of Management (Fall 2013)

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Child Nutrition and Development - Indian Institutes of Management (Fall 2013)

Client Profile

Kerala, a state located in southwest India, is one of the lowest-income places in the world, but it has remarkably high levels of social development.  Nobel Prize winning economist Amartya Sen classified Kerala as one of the three models of places in the world with high quality of life indicators with low per capita income.  However, while Kerala has indicators that are considered exceptional, the Wayanad District in northeast Kerala is a pocket of incredible difficulty and deprivation, mainly due to challenges faced by the tribal population living in largely inaccessible forests and hill areas.

The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) are the most prestigious business schools in the country and IIM Kozhikode is located about 40 kilometers from Wayanad. In collaboration with Notre Dame, the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode, seeks to revitalize key children’s programs to be more effective, especially regarding issues related to children’s health and nutrition.

See all Development Advisory Team Projects with Indian Institutes of Management

Definition of Problem

There are currently 177 government run Integrated Children Development Services (ICDS) in the state of Wayanad, which is the largest interface with government and the community in the state. These ICDS provide health, nutrition and non-formal education opportunities for children up to the age of 6 plus interventions for adolescent girls and pregnant and lactating women. While extensive services exist, the community is not taking full advantage of the services. The Last Mile Project is working with the ICDS to help improve the status of people, particularly children, in the Wayanad district. In collaboration with Notre Dame, the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode, seeks to raise the profile of key children’s programs among community members, especially regarding issues related to children’s health and nutrition.

Initial Steps and Options

A team of IIM students will work with a team of Notre Dame’s DAT students to identify and highlight local and international examples where effective marketing and promotion have led to greater usage of available health, education and nutritional services targeting children.  A focus on successful interventions that have worked with marginalized indigenous populations (North American Indians, aboriginal populations in Australia and New Zealand for instance) will be of particular interest. The IIM, alongside Notre Dame, also seeks to link this promotion work to corporate social responsibility, and explore longer-term roles for academic institutions (particularly the IIM and Notre Dame) to contribute to this work.

 

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Sustainable Housing Projects - Engineering2Empower (Fall 2013)

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Sustainable Housing Projects - Engineering2Empower (Fall 2013)

Client Profile

Engineering2Empower (E2E) seeks to overcome the challenges of establishing safe and affordable permanent housing in the developing world. Limited financial resources, the absence of codes and standards, and poor quality control currently govern these housing sectors. E2E’s current focus is on Haiti, where more than three years after the devastating 2010 earthquake, the majority of displaced families are still in transitional shelters, looking for permanent housing they can call “home”. Forced evictions have disbanded many of the camp settlements, leaving most to vie on their own for housing.

E2E has formulated an innovative approach to navigate the aforementioned constraints, and ultimately support self-financed recovery in the residential housing sector. The E2E model fundamentally shifts the structural system used in residential construction from the established masonry system toward a frame and panel system. Through this approach, the limited resources available to Haitian families are engineered into a U.S. code compliant concrete frame (“skeleton” of structure), while lightweight concrete panels are then introduced to simply enclose and partition the home (“skin” of the structure). The level of safety against earthquakes and hurricanes is drastically increased, but the cost, materials, and skill sets required remain exactly the same as the current model.

Through other innovations, such as customizable payment plans, prefabricated components, and standardized designs, E2E is additionally able to deliver the model through locally operated businesses. Unlike other developing world housing solutions, E2E is able to supply safe, affordable homes in a culturally appropriate and financially sustainable way, solely dependent on existing skill sets and locally available materials.

See all Development Advisory Team projects with Engineering2Empower

Definition of Problem

A cornerstone of E2E’s approach is leveraging personal savings for financing the purchase of a home. An effective way to do this in other parts of the world, and for other purposes, is through savings groups. These savings groups not only leverage personal savings, but also combined group savings, to provide individuals with the capital they need to make important, impactful purchases. However, there are many intricacies to the operation and structure of these groups. Who collects, manages, and bears liability for the funds are all key questions, along with determining the order by which members of the groups receive the aggregated funds. The success of E2E is dependent on making these savings groups function effectively and efficiently, and ultimately making them a trustworthy institution to the community.

Initial Steps and Options

Given the importance of the organizational structure of the savings groups, E2E has a few vital questions that could be explored:

  1. How are participants for a savings group chosen, and what is the method by which they are grouped together?
  2. Once in a savings group, who manages the group? How is that person(s) chosen? Does it have to be a member of the group, or can/should it be an outside party (e.g., an E2E employee)?
  3. How does money actually flow through the group? Who collects it? How often is it collected? Who/where is the money stored before it is disbursed? Who disburses the money?
  4. How is the money disbursed back to the individual group members? Does it have to be, or can it flow right to E2E? How is the order of recipients chosen within the group?
  5. What are the repercussions or incentive structures used to ensure that participants contribute regularly and on time?
  6. Are there examples in other countries of successful housing policies that support just these models for individual savings initiatives?

An interesting approach to this project might be to survey the answers to the questions throughout other organizations and locations, and then work to propose a small-scale pilot program that E2E can test. This pilot would include a small number of savings groups/participants, with the goal of savings towards an item that could be purchased within a few months (with a year being the maximum). The selection of this item would also be an important aspect of the pilot (as E2E would not want to pilot an entire home because of the duration it would take to finish).

 

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From Aid to Accompaniment - Partners in Health (Fall 2013)

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From Aid to Accompaniment - Partners in Health (Fall 2013)

Client Profile

Partners in Health (PIH) is an NGO that was founded in 1987 in Boston. The organization originally developed as a community health project in Haiti, and since then has expanded with multiple other sites in Haiti as well as sites in a dozen other countries. The main goals of the organization are: providing health care and education to those most in need, working to alleviate the causes of disease, and sharing the ideas and lessons learned from experiences with other countries and NGOs. PIH also trains members of the community and partners with public health systems to involve local people in their initiatives.

See all Development Advisory Team projects with Partners in Health

Definition of Problem

One of PIH’s principal ideas is the approach to service through accompaniment. The accompaniment approach to aid delivery is based on pragmatic solidarity with the poor.  It proposes to build a different long-term relationship between partners and mandates walking side by side rather than leading.

This model informs all that PIH does, including the way in which PIH uses funds to invest in the local community and meets the needs identified by local people. PIH believes that this idea — “from aid to accompaniment” – needs to become a much great part of the dialogue on international development. We hope to build awareness of this idea, and see how it can be integrated into the work of other organizations.

Initial Steps and Options

  • Identify key principles of the concept “aid to accompaniment”: How might aid be invested on the local level to improve public services, accompany governments, create jobs, and directly empower the people?
  • Promote awareness of this concept on a wider scale.  How can other development organizations effectively be partners in promoting the idea of accompaniment? What are the most effective modalities to help build a “social movement” around this idea? What similar language/themes are used by other organization to convey similar concepts to accompaniment?
  • Focus on particular opportunities related to Notre Dame, that include the publication of a book in the early fall 2013 by Orbis Press called In the Company of the Poor: Conversations with Dr. Paul Farmer and Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez, possibility of a conference on the topic, engagement of faculty and staff.

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Impact of Volunteer Organizations - América Solidaria (Fall 2013)

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Impact of Volunteer Organizations - América Solidaria (Fall 2013)

Client Profile

América Solidaria aims to promote effective volunteer engagement among the countries of the Americas. The main objective of the organization is to promote regional and multilateral development between the different countries of the continent. América Solidaria aims to accomplish this through volunteer networks of young professionals who work with a sense of professionalism and social awareness to promote social integration and solidarity in the countries where they have been placed.  Founded in Chile, América Solidaria now works throughout South America and the Caribbean and would like to extend the scope of its work to include the United States.

See all Development Advisory Team projects with América Solidaria

Definition of Problem

Today there are volunteers coming from five different countries, but there is no consistent application, selection or support system across countries. This is an issue that needs to be addressed and remedied. Considering the first report and analysis by students of the “Development Advisory Teams” (spring 2013), America Solidaria would like to continue to deepen the analysis and the design of their volunteer programs, comparing their work with similar initiatives in the United States, especially as it relates to the application process, screening, selection and support Specifically, America Solidaria are interested in the following areas of analysis:

A. Models and Systems for Volunteer Nominations: A review of the application processes of organizations similar to American Solidaria (on timing of placement, phasing, duration, required documentation etc.) and tools used and how these tools allow them to streamline application processes.

B. Selection Process and Evaluation of Volunteers: Review of different models of selection of volunteers, stages, selection criteria and indicators of successful selection that includes looking at the impact that these volunteers make.

C. Volunteers Accompaniment Processes: Finally a review of the processes accompanying the volunteers once they start their work in their respective destinations.

Initial Steps and Options

América Solidaria would like a team of students to consider what other similar organizations have done when facing these challenges of identification, selection, placement, and measuring impact of their volunteers.  Organizations of particular interest include:

Students on this DAT project will also work together with computer science students from Notre Dame engineering Prof. Raul Santelices’ class on some more technical aspects of building a software system for recruitment and selection of volunteers.  Many of the materials are in Spanish, so it would be helpful if some team members have a knowledge of Spanish.

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Environmental Sustainability - Program on Conservation Innovation (Fall 2013)

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Environmental Sustainability - Program on Conservation Innovation (Fall 2013)

Client Profile

The mission of the Harvard Forest Program on Conservation Innovation (PCI) is to build knowledge about highly effective conservation science, education, governance, protection, and stewardship practices and to communicate that knowledge to conservation practitioners, decision makers, and citizens in the United States as well as across the globe.

The PCI has five overarching goals:

  1. to conduct research that informs advanced conservation practice and focuses attention on the outstanding innovation in the field
  2. to educate present-day and future conservation practitioners and involved citizenry regarding emerging approaches to conserving land, water, and biodiversity
  3. to award and recognize exemplary conservation initiatives
  4. to convene focused leadership dialogues on critical conservation challenges and inventive solutions commensurate with those challenges, and
  5. to broadly communicate with a global audience regarding important conservation innovations that may be commensurate with the complex challenges of our day.

See all Development Advisory Team projects with Program on Conversation Innovation

Definition of Problem

There are many opportunities for renewable energy (especially solar and wind) in Chile’s northern region just beginning to be explored.  Developing new power sources, of course, will also have an impact on the environment.  However, there is little analysis about the opportunities and trade-offs in sustainable energy development and its impact on the environment. In both the conservation and energy areas, there are increasing networks between the Chile and the US that lead to sharing the experience and expertise. Chile could serve as a model for alternative energy development, including in its energy siting regulations and the successful integration of biodiversity offsets on sites in which biodiversity habitat is compromised or damaged. (Explore how to use experience elsewhere to influence siting on energy sites so as to mitigate impact on the environment.)

Initial Steps and Options

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