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Wednesday, September 4
 

9:00am

Pre-Workshop: Spatial Statistics (Separate registration cost!)
From simple methods for summarizing and describing spatial patterns to advanced machine learning clustering techniques, this workshop will introduce you to the power of spatial statistics and equip you with the knowledge needed to get started exploring your data in new and useful ways. Concepts covered include describing your data’s shape and spatial distribution; comparing datasets in meaningful defensible ways; identifying spatial clusters; and mining for multivariate patterns. We will discuss how the tools work and provide examples to demonstrate the range of questions that can be answered.

Spatial Data Mining: Cluster Analysis and Space-time Pattern Mining

Whenever we look at a map, we naturally organize, group, differentiate, and cluster what we see to help us make better sense of it. This workshop will explore the powerful spatial statistics techniques designed to do just that in space and time: We’ll start with hot-spot analysis and cluster and outlier analysis. Through discussions and demonstrations, we will learn how these techniques work and how they can be used to identify significant patterns in our data. We will explore the types of questions each tool can answer, best practices for running the tools, and strategies for interpreting and sharing results. We will then present advanced techniques for analyzing your data in the context of both space and time, covering space-time pattern mining techniques including aggregating temporal data into a space-time cube, emerging hot spot analysis, local outlier analysis, best practices for visualizing your space-time cube, and strategies for interpreting and sharing your results.

Beyond Where: Modeling Spatial Relationships and Making Predictions

Once we’ve identified where patterns are present, the next logical question is “why?” This workshop will cover techniques for examining, modeling, and exploring our spatial data to uncover relationships and predict spatial outcomes. Application and use of generalized linear regression (GLR), geographically weighted regression (GWR), and Forest-based Classification and Regression (FBCR) will be demonstrated. You will learn how to build a model and how to effectively interpret the results and diagnostics.

You can register for any of our 4 pre-workshops at this link: http://merltech.org/merl-tech-dc-pre-workshops-2019/

Speakers
avatar for Alberto Nieto

Alberto Nieto

Solution Engineer, Esri
Alberto Nieto is a geographer, python developer, and spatial analyst who helps GIS users find innovative solutions to important spatial problems.Prior to joining Esri, Alberto accumulated nearly a decade of experience that includes working at the Census Bureau, NOAA’s Office of... Read More →


Wednesday September 4, 2019 9:00am - 1:00pm
Open Gov Hub 1110 Vermont Avenue NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005
  • session type Pre-Workshop

9:00am

Pre-Workshop: Big Data and Program Evaluation (Separate registration cost!)
Does “big data” still seem like something that is out of reach for you and your organization? Join us for a one-day workshop where we will “demystify” big data for evaluators and program managers. We’ll show that there are a wide range of tools and techniques that can be incorporated into evaluations, and we’ll aim to advance discussions on how to build bridges between the evaluation and big data communities.

A core part of the workshop will be the presentation and discussion of case studies illustrating big data and data analytics tools and techniques that are already being used (or tested) in program evaluation, including:

-Satellites and drones
-Mobile phones and phone record analysis
-Economical methods for the collection and analysis of evaluation data that permit significant increases in sample size
-Social media analytics
-Predictive analytics
-Artificial intelligence
-Constructing integrated data bases

The workshop will conclude with a general discussion of the opportunities and challenges for integrating big data into program evaluation and some of the next steps.

You can register for any of our 4 pre-workshops at this link: http://merltech.org/merl-tech-dc-pre-workshops-2019/

Speakers
avatar for Michael Bamberger

Michael Bamberger

Independent Consultant, Independent Consultant
Michael Bamberger, jmichaelbamberger@gmail.com, Independent Evaluation Consultant. 40 years of experience conducting and teaching development evaluation in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East and Asia. Working for the past few years on the opportunities and challenges for integrating... Read More →
avatar for Peter York

Peter York

Chief Data Scientist, BCT Partners
Peter York is BCT Partner’s Chief Data Scientist. He has over 20 years of experience in research, evaluation and data analytics, as well as serving as a national spokesperson for social impact and impact measurement issues for the government, nonprofit and philanthropic sectors... Read More →
KB

Kecia Bertermann

Director, Learning and Impact, Luminate
Kecia Bertermann leads evaluation and learning at Luminate, part of the Omidyar Network. Kecia is a mixed-methods research and evaluator with a focus on the intersection of digital technologies and systems change. At Luminate, Kecia oversees the monitoring, evaluation and learning... Read More →
MP

Melissa Persaud

Director of New Business - Global Development, Fraym
Melissa Persaud, Director of New Business - Global Development at Fraym is an ICT4D enthusiast with experience in mobile data collection, mobile messaging, and data analytics.
JV

Jos Vaessen

Advisor, Independent Evaluation Group of the World Bank
Jos Vaessen joined the Independent Evaluation Group of the World Bank in 2016 as adviser on evaluation methods. Since 1998 he has been involved in evaluation research activities, first as an academic and consultant to bilateral and multilateral development organizations and from 2001... Read More →


Wednesday September 4, 2019 9:00am - 5:00pm
TBA World Bank 'I” Building, 1850 I St NW, Washington, DC 20006
  • session type Pre-Workshop

9:00am

Pre-Workshop: Text Analytics (Separate registration cost!)
At this workshop, we will introduce participants to the basic concepts, techniques, and approaches of natural language processing and text analytics used to get text ready for more in-depth analysis. Participants will learn about automated document summarization, automatic qualitative theme discovery, and clustering using unsupervised machine learning (topic modelling) and sentiment analysis.

After the workshop, the participants will:

-Have a basic understanding of natural language processing, and how to prepare text and documents for analysis and current constraints of practice.
-Have an understanding of concepts and approaches in text analytics and machine learning applied to text, including automated document summarization, topic modeling for theme/topic discovery and sentiment analysis.
-Be able to describe the place of text analytics in evaluation practice, and in their own work environment.

You can register for any of our 4 pre-workshops at this link: http://merltech.org/merl-tech-dc-pre-workshops-2019/

Speakers
avatar for Kerry Bruce

Kerry Bruce

Chief Executive Officer, Clear Outcomes
Kerry Bruce, DrPH, is the CEO and founder of of Clear Outcomes, a company that aims to draw on her 25+ years of experience working in the for-profit and non-profit sectors of development and more than 20 years of living in Asia and Africa. Kerry is a recognized global health expert... Read More →
avatar for Joris Vandelanotte

Joris Vandelanotte

Principal Consultant, Clear Outcomes
Dr. Joris Vandelanotte is a Medical Doctor and Specialist in Public Health Medicine with over 25 years’ experience in Sub-Saharan Africa in the fields of public health, health systems strengthening, primary health care, monitoring and evaluation, and operational research. Joris... Read More →


Wednesday September 4, 2019 9:00am - 5:00pm
TBA World Bank 'I” Building, 1850 I St NW, Washington, DC 20006
  • session type Pre-Workshop

9:00am

Pre-Workshop: Operationalizing Responsible Data (Separate registration cost!)
You’ve been hearing about Responsible Data for a few years now, but what does it actually mean for you and your organization? Should you have your own Responsible Data Policy and Procedures? What tools and templates can you adapt for your own purposes? What can you learn from others’ experiences about integrating Responsible Data practices at the organizational level?

Join us for a one-day session on Responsible Data for USAID implementing partners, development organizations, humanitarian agencies, foundations, and evaluators, where together we will address the following questions:

-What is Responsible Data and how can you get your organization up to speed? What practical steps can you take to integrate Responsible Data into your organization?
-Where can you find Responsible Data policies and standards to adapt for your purposes and context? What practical tools can help your organization understand and assess its data practices?
-How can organizations navigate data ethics, privacy, and data ownership issues when entering corporate partnerships or commercializing platforms or data services?
-What are the unique challenges of responsible data in humanitarian contexts, and how can we address difficult issues such as power and informed consent, for example when using biometric tracking systems?
-What are core challenges with digital data and new data sources when conducting MERL?

You can register for any of our 4 pre-workshops at this link: http://merltech.org/merl-tech-dc-pre-workshops-2019/

Speakers
avatar for Linda Raftree

Linda Raftree

Organizer & Independent Consultant, MERL Tech
Linda Raftree supports strategy, program design, research, and technology in international development initiatives. She co-founded MERLTech in 2014 and also works as an independent consultant. Linda advises Girl Effect on digital safety, security and privacy and supports the organization... Read More →
avatar for Alexandra Robinson

Alexandra Robinson

Director of Evidence, Learning, and Impact, Moonshot Global
Alexandra (Alex) Robinson, specializes in evaluation, learning, responsible data and technology ethics, with a particular focus on supporting strategies that leverage digital technology and open innovation to address complex development and human rights challenges. She has advised... Read More →
avatar for Kelly Church

Kelly Church

Director of Digital Impact, CARE
Kelly Church is the Director of Digital Impact at CARE where she leads CARE’s responsible data work which includes developing policies for if and how they partner with the private sector and developing values, policies and processes for increasing responsible data across CARE’s... Read More →
avatar for Rebecca Saxton-Fox

Rebecca Saxton-Fox

ICT Policy Advisor, USAID
Rebecca Saxton-Fox is an ICT Policy Advisor on the Development Informatics team at USAID. She works on advancing the appropriate use of data and digital technologies in USAID programs, with a particular focus in the past few years on development and promotion of responsible data practices... Read More →
avatar for Lynn Yoshikawa

Lynn Yoshikawa

Regional Representative for CaLP Americas, Cash Learning Partnership
Lynn Yoshikawa joined CaLP in December 2017, bringing 15 years of humanitarian experience to her role as Regional Representative for CaLP Americas. Her career includes extensive experience in the field (Afghanistan, Middle East, and Southeast Asia) and headquarter offices, where she... Read More →
avatar for Gigi Gatti

Gigi Gatti

Technology for Development Director, Grameen Foundation USA
Gigi Gatti is Grameen Foundation USA’s Technology for Development Director and leads Grameen’s technology innovation team. Formerly, Grameen’s Regional Director, Asia. Gigi has over 25 years work experience in the IT, , development, banking, insurance and microfinance industries... Read More →
avatar for Amos Doornbos

Amos Doornbos

Disaster Management Systems Director, World Vision International
Amos Doornbos is the Disaster Management Strategy & Systems Director for World Vision International and a member of the Identity for All Council, the Guardianship working group, and the global policy working group of the Sovrin Foundation. He has lead the turnaround of last mile digital... Read More →
avatar for Anindya Sharma

Anindya Sharma

Data Scientist, Simprints
Anindya Sharma is a data scientist at Simprints, a non-profit startup in Cambridge that aims to transform the way the world fights poverty by building biometrics for identification in developing countries. Originally from India, Anindya completed a Mathematics undergraduate and a Systems Biology postgraduate degree from the University... Read More →
avatar for Richard Tighe

Richard Tighe

Global Advisor - ICT in Programmes, Oxfam GB
Ric Tighe works as a Global Advisor within Oxfam GB’s ICT in Programmes team. He leads on Oxfam’s use of digital beneficiary registrations and distribution tracking in humanitarian programmes (including e-vouchers & cash distributions) and is involved with a number of Digital... Read More →
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Sara Baker

Research and Learning Lead, The Engine Room
Sara Baker is the Research and Learning Lead at The Engine Room, an international organisation that helps activists and organisations use data and technology for social change. Sara leads projects related to responsible data, including the digital identity portfolio, and works with... Read More →
avatar for Laura Walker McDonald

Laura Walker McDonald

Senior Director for Insights & Impact, Digital Impact Alliance
Laura Walker McDonald is a technologist, lawyer and strategist with more than 12 years of global experience in the aid and development space. Laura’s career has focused on helping social change organizations all over the world use technology in principled and impactful ways to support... Read More →
avatar for Adeline Sibanda

Adeline Sibanda

Managing Consultant, South to South Evaluation Partnership
Adeline Sibanda is the Founder and Managing Director of ADESIM Developments (formerly Troparg Consultancy Services). Adeline has 27 years’ experience in strategy, program design, planning, monitoring and evaluation, research, gender and development. She is passionate about professional... Read More →
avatar for Jo Kaybryn

Jo Kaybryn

Senior Leader, IOD PARC
Jo Kaybryn directs technical assistance to UN agencies, governments, development partners, and NGOs. She work's in evaluation, research and mainstreaming approaches across health, gender and economic development sectors. She specializes in evaluation quality assurance systems, ethical... Read More →
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Samuel Scarpino

Chief Strategy Officer, Dharma Platform
Samuel V. Scarpino, PhD, is the Chief Strategy Officer at Dharma Platform and holds academic appointments in the Network Science Institute at Northeastern University and the ISI Foundation in Turin Italy. Dr. Scarpino has 10+ years of experience translating research into public health... Read More →


Wednesday September 4, 2019 9:00am - 5:00pm
Greeley Hall FHI 360 Conference Center, 1875 Connecticut Ave, 3rd Floor, Washington, DC, 20006
  • session type Pre-Workshop

12:00pm

Side Event: Open Source and Diversity Convening with GitHub (Separate Registration Required)
Representatives from GitHub and The Case Foundation will host a discussion around:
  • Diversity in Open Source
  • Effective open source education and onboarding tools for non-techies in the social sector
  • Enhancing the discoverability of open source tools and products for the social sector
  • Deep dive into data and privacy misconceptions the social sector has about open source
We’d like to hear from the community to better understand potential solutions to these challenges.
While anyone may sign up for the session, GitHub and The Case Foundation will issue final invitations. Participation must be in person in Washington DC. Limited honorariums to cover transport costs are available to a few especially qualified individuals. Please see the full invitation for more information and to submit your name for this session!

Who should attend?
  • Experts in the fields of tech for social good who have a strong familiarity with open source technologies
  • Experts in the field of open source for social good who are actively working in global communities outside the US and Europe
  • Open source developers, maintainers, M&E practitioners, data scientists, statisticians, designers
  • Grant makers or other philanthropic funders of tech for social good / open source for good
  • Those who feel there are limits to how nonprofits can engage with the open source ecosystem
  • Strong preference for those who have worked on the implementation and/or deployment of open source tools for social good

This session will take place at the Case Foundation offices and you must pre-register in order to attend.

Speakers
avatar for Mala Kumar

Mala Kumar

Program Manager, Open Source for Good, GitHub
Come talk to me about the GitHub MERL Tech repository we're creating to help the MERL community access open source products to help them do their work better!


Wednesday September 4, 2019 12:00pm - 5:00pm
Meeting Room Case Foundation, 1717 Rhode Island Avenue, NW, 7th Floor Washington, DC 20036
  • session type Discussion
 
Thursday, September 5
 

8:30am

Registration and Meet & Greet
Join us bright and early to grab a coffee or tea, get your name badge, and network with new colleagues and old friends!

Thursday September 5, 2019 8:30am - 9:00am
Reception Area FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Networking

9:00am

Welcome to MERL Tech
Welcome to MERL Tech! What is MERL Tech and why do we gather? What can you expect at this year's conference? What are plans for the space?

Speakers
avatar for Linda Raftree

Linda Raftree

Organizer & Independent Consultant, MERL Tech
Linda Raftree supports strategy, program design, research, and technology in international development initiatives. She co-founded MERLTech in 2014 and also works as an independent consultant. Linda advises Girl Effect on digital safety, security and privacy and supports the organization... Read More →


Thursday September 5, 2019 9:00am - 9:45am
Academy Hall FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Plenary Talk

9:45am

MERL Tech State of the Field
How has the role of technology changed since 2014? We'll share initail results from original research being conducted in 3 areas: Tech and Traditional MERL, Big Data, and Emerging Approaches in MERL.

Speakers
avatar for Linda Raftree

Linda Raftree

Organizer & Independent Consultant, MERL Tech
Linda Raftree supports strategy, program design, research, and technology in international development initiatives. She co-founded MERLTech in 2014 and also works as an independent consultant. Linda advises Girl Effect on digital safety, security and privacy and supports the organization... Read More →
avatar for Zach Tilton

Zach Tilton

Doctoral Research Associate / Evaluation Consultant, Western Michigan University / Digital Impact Alliance
Zach Tilton is a Doctoral Research Associate at the Interdisciplinary PhD in Evaluation Program at Western Michigan University where he is setting and pursuing an agenda for research on peacebuilding evaluation. He holds a BS in Peacebuilding and Business Management from Brigham Young... Read More →
avatar for Alexandra Robinson

Alexandra Robinson

Director of Evidence, Learning, and Impact, Moonshot Global
Alexandra (Alex) Robinson, specializes in evaluation, learning, responsible data and technology ethics, with a particular focus on supporting strategies that leverage digital technology and open innovation to address complex development and human rights challenges. She has advised... Read More →
avatar for Kerry Bruce

Kerry Bruce

Chief Executive Officer, Clear Outcomes
Kerry Bruce, DrPH, is the CEO and founder of of Clear Outcomes, a company that aims to draw on her 25+ years of experience working in the for-profit and non-profit sectors of development and more than 20 years of living in Asia and Africa. Kerry is a recognized global health expert... Read More →


Thursday September 5, 2019 9:45am - 10:15am
Academy Hall FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Plenary Panel

10:15am

Opening Talk: What’s next for data science in development?
Over the last 15 years we’ve seen new approaches to data and technology touch every part of development and humanitarian organizations. So what novel capabilities is the current wave of data science really bringing to these sectors?

What do data scientists and the tech industry need to better understand about development, and how can development organizations best use the tools and talents that data scientists are bringing with them? How do we get to a future where data science is being used responsibly and equitably to improve people’s lives?

Speakers
avatar for Tariq Khokhar

Tariq Khokhar

Managing Director & Chief Data Scientist, The Rockefeller Foundation
Tariq leads the Foundation’s work on using data science to improve people’s lives. This includes integrating data and technology into the Foundation’s initiative areas of Food, Power, Health, and Jobs; and identifying, shaping and scaling breakthrough data science solutions... Read More →


Thursday September 5, 2019 10:15am - 10:45am
Academy Hall FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Plenary Talk

10:45am

Long Break
Take a nice break to re-connect with old friends and meet new ones!

Thursday September 5, 2019 10:45am - 11:15am
Reception Area FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Networking

11:15am

Can We Measure Data Culture?
Many of us are hard at work to build "data culture" at the organizations and communities we serve. But isn’t it time that we—a community of impact and measurement geeks—started measuring the impact of our own efforts to foster data cultures? This session, which will include activities for interaction and participant-driven learning, introduces IREX's new data readiness tool

Unlike other existing similar tools (see World Bank’s Open Data Readiness Assesment or CCSSE’s institutional data readiness tool), this one emphasizes the human elements of data use, like understanding how different actors value their existing data, or whether leaders have the soft skills to ethically and accurately interpret data. The tool also features a new survey method to visualize data flows (and blockages) within an organization or system, to help identify opportunities for better data sharing and use. 

Although one of IREX's tools will be introduced, this session is not a place for self-promotion. With the help of our panelist and co-facilitator Agnieszka Rawa from the Millennium Challenge Corporation, we'll host a meaningful discussion about:
  • Why does it matter to measure data cultures? Why is this important for donors like the MCC?
  • What other efforts to measure data culture and use exist?
  • How should we defined "data culture"? Could our indicators be improved?
We’ll close with a call to action for participants to join a “user group” testing and applying this tool as they foster stronger cultures of data use in their own organizations.

Speakers
avatar for Samhir Vasdev

Samhir Vasdev

Digital Development Adviser, IREX
Samhir Vasdev is the Technical Adviser for Digital Development at IREX, a global development and education organization. There, Samhir drives the organization’s efforts to foster better use of data to inform decisions, learning, and action within IREX and its programs. For example... Read More →
avatar for Agnieszka Rawa

Agnieszka Rawa

MANAGING DIRECTOR, Millennium Challenge Corporstion
Agnieszka Rawa leads MCC’s $21.8 million Data Collaboratives for Local Impact partnership to empower people and communities to use data to improve lives and drive sustainable development. This involves a systems approach and strategic like the Tanzania dLab and Sejen to build d... Read More →
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Tatiana Rusu

Communications Specialist, IREX
Tatiana Rusu is a Communications Specialist at IREX.


Thursday September 5, 2019 11:15am - 12:15pm
Balcony E FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Discussion, Participatory Session

11:15am

Going the Distance: The Journey to Self-Reliance and USAID’s New Country Roadmaps
The Journey to Self-Reliance (J2SR) initiative announced last year by USAID will require collaboration with key MERL stakeholders if it is to realize widespread adoption. MERLTech is happy to have Sarah Tisch: Director, Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning at Panagora Group moderate a discussion with USAID representatives around the new USAID Journey to Self-Reliance (J2SR) metrics and Country Roadmaps. With help from Behar Xharra from Keshif, and Dar Maxwell from Panagora, participants will explore ways they can utilize J2SR Roadmap and secondary metrics for their own strategic planning, activity design, and adaptive management efforts.

This one-hour MERLTech panel is part of a series of public engagements by John Gardner, J2SR Metrics Team Lead in the Bureau for Policy Planning and Learning. The panel will also feature Mark Skeith, a USAID PPL Policy Analyst who led the design of the Roadmap and curated the 17+ metrics upon which they are based. After the presentation the team will answer questions and get feedback from representatives of the MERLTech community (that’s you!) about how they can strengthen this nascent policy.

Speakers
ST

Sarah Tisch

Director, MEL, Panagora Group
Sarah Tisch is a senior social scientist with over 30 years’ experience in research, data analysis, evaluation, and learning within the context of donor-funded development programs and activities. She has designed and led evaluations, trained donor and country staff in M&E practices... Read More →
JG

John Gardner

Journey to Self-Reliance (J2SR) Metrics Team Lead, USAID Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning
John Gardner currently serves as the Journey to Self-Reliance (J2SR) Metrics Team Lead within the USAID Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning. In this role he is responsible for leading the production of the annual J2SR Country Roadmap and overseeing its application to high level... Read More →
MS

Mark Skeith

Empirical Analyst, Journey to Self-Reliance (J2SR), USAID Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning
Mark Skeith currently serves as an empirical analyst on the Journey to Self-Reliance (J2SR) Metrics Team within the USAID Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning. In this role he is responsible for supporting the analysis, testing and application of the J2SR Country Roadmap metrics... Read More →
avatar for Behar Xharra

Behar Xharra

Founder and COO, Keshif
Behar Xharra is a co-founder and COO of Keshif, an exploratory data analytics technology. He leads business development, growth, operations, planning, and client relations. A native of Kosovo, Behar has previously lead innovation, data analytics, research, and program development... Read More →
DM

Dar Maxwell

Learning and Technology Specialist, Senior Manager, Panagora Group
Dar Maxwell is a Learning and Technology Specialist, Senior Manager with Panagora Group. Dar has over three decades of diverse experience in knowledge management and adult learning design, production and implementation, including network news production and implementation of online... Read More →


Thursday September 5, 2019 11:15am - 12:15pm
Academy Hall A FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Panel, Discussion, Participatory session

11:15am

Developmental Evaluation Journey in a Global Network
In this session, members of the Innovation for Change (I4C) program will share why and how we used Developmental Evaluation, a mixed-methods approach to evaluation, to understand and learn about a civil society network’s impact and growth while working in complex and unpredictable contexts.
 
For the first half of the session, our panelists will discuss our DE methodology, why we used it, and the processes, tools, and technology that made it possible. We will showcase ways to use quantitative and qualitative data to demonstrate impact and make decisions to adapt. Then we will dig into the participatory processes (both successes and failures) that I4C members used to interpret their data and reflect on learning in the areas of civic space issues, innovation, network growth, governance, and impact. We will close the formal presentation with candid lessons learned and findings. 
 
In the second half of the session, our panelists will facilitate break-out groups in which participants can reflect upon what they’ve heard, connect it to their own work (past, present, and future), and discuss, “Is DE right for you?” using our Critical Considerations Checklist.

Speakers
avatar for Rebecca Askin

Rebecca Askin

Collaboration and Learning Manager, Counterpart International
Rebecca Askin expresses her opinions since birth; being incisive since 1996. She helps colleagues and clients assess and apply learning and adaptive development approaches and evidence-generation into their strategy, business processes, and program activities. Sometimes she gives... Read More →
avatar for Rasha Abdel Latif

Rasha Abdel Latif

Deputy Project Director, Innovation for Change Network, Counterpart International
Rasha has been leading the work of Developmental Evaluation at the network along with Dr. Fletcher Tembo. Rasha is passionate about supporting the development of local communities worldwide. Since 2009 she worked with civil society organizations to amplify citizen voices and increase... Read More →
avatar for Noel Dickover

Noel Dickover

Chief of Party for the Innovation for Change Network, Counterpart International
Noel Dickover is the Chief of Party for the Innovation for Change network at Counterpart International. As a senior leader at the intersection of technology and international development, Noel focuses on managing complex, distributed networks, and has convened technologists and NGOs... Read More →


Thursday September 5, 2019 11:15am - 12:15pm
Angle FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Panel, Discussion, Participatory Session

11:15am

No Data, No Problem: Extracting Insights from Data-Poor Environments
It’s an article of faith among social impact leaders that you need good data if you want to build models or design programs that solve hard problems. For many of the most challenging problems, however, there simply is no data available, or at least not enough of the kind of data needed to plan or measure progress. In this interactive session and discussion, we present alternatives to standard data collection and statistical techniques, demonstrating a number of quantitative and qualitative strategies—not widely known—that make it possible to extract actionable insights despite the absence of high-quality data.

Speakers
BL

Bob Lamb

Co-founder & CEO, Foundation for Inclusion
Bob Lamb is CEO and co-founder of the Foundation for Inclusion, which uses the tools of science, story, and simulation to build self-sustaining strategies and coalitions around complex challenges, such as human trafficking, climate inaction, polarization, and economic adversity. He... Read More →
AP

Arpitha Peteru

Co-founder & President, Foundation for Inclusion
As co-founder and President of the Foundation for Inclusion, Arpitha Peteru is a creative strategist and advocate, passionate about catalyzing sustainable change for peace, justice, and inclusion. By retooling evidence-based approaches and leveraging dynamic technologies, she seeks... Read More →


Thursday September 5, 2019 11:15am - 12:15pm
Academy Hall B FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC

11:15am

Data Approaches in Hard-to-Reach Places
Using technology in remote, rural areas is advancing global health, but still comes with challenges. During this session Medic Mobile is teaming up with Vitamin Angels to discuss examples of community level mobile data collection tools and how to make data relevant, timely and useful for community health workers and rural organizations.

First, Medic Mobile will discuss how the use of a customized app by Community Health workers (CHWs) has played a significant role on how they deliver services in the community. Technology, especially mobile technology has been seen as a key towards real time data gathering to support timely decision making. The Medic Mobile (MM) App supports CHWs daily decision making through tasks, reminders, and the ability to access information on the go, regardless of connectivity. MM believes data can improve quality of service for CHWs. However, currently, some of this data is known to be unusable due to various issues. On-the-ground limitations impact how often CHW’s data is uploaded, with up to 20% of CHWs not submitting their data on a monthly basis. Although a CHW’s individual data may be current, supervisors and programme managers can’t access that information until synchronized. The result is that they may make programmatic decisions based on incomplete or outdated information, hampering the ability to respond to challenges. Thus, data timeliness presents a unique challenge to others who may wish to do work in similar contexts.

Then, Vitamin Angels (VA) will share how the use of technology has allowed the expansion of their monitoring system in 20 countries, with 30 monitors routinely sending data on partner organizations serving hard-to-reach beneficiaries. VA utilizes ONA plus ODK Collect tools to collect and store data on mobile devices; and R to manage and analyze data. Although these technologies have allowed VA to greatly expand its own use of the data, making results accessible to its partners in a timely and meaningful way has proved difficult. VA will discuss different mechanisms that have been piloted for sharing real-time data and tools for performance improvement, including the use of ONA to create basic result summaries and a job aid.

Speakers
avatar for Mourice Barasa Wafula

Mourice Barasa Wafula

Impact Lead, Medic Mobile
Mourice Barasa Wafula works as the Impact Lead for Medic Mobile based at the Africa Regional Office in Nairobi. He has a keen interest in evidence based decision making and the use of technology to improve data availability and timeliness to support real-time decision making. Mourice... Read More →
AY

Amanda Yembrick

Director of Impact, Medic Mobile
Amanda is Medic Mobile's Director of Impact. She is passionate about leveraging data to design and scale technologies and workflows that have increasingly greater impact in the communities in which Medic works. Amanda leads the impact team who is responsible for the organizations... Read More →
SS

Samantha Serrano

Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist, Vitamin Angels
Samantha Serrano is the Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist at Vitamin Angels. She has a Master of Science degree in Environmental Health from the University of Washington’s School of Public Health with a background in community-based participatory research, program development... Read More →
JF

Jamie Frederick

Monitoring & Evaluation Manager, Vitamin Angels
Jamie Frederick is the Monitoring & Evaluation Manager at Vitamin Angels and has worked with VA for about 4 years. She earned her Master of Social Work and Public Health degrees (MSW/MPH) from Boston University, and her BA from University of Dayton in Communication Journalism. Before... Read More →


Thursday September 5, 2019 11:15am - 12:15pm
Balcony D FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Participatory Session

11:15am

Tech Is Easy, People Are Hard: Behavioral Design Considerations to Improve Mobile Engagement
Technology abounds for conducting MERL with developing communities and markets using mobile channels (SMS, IVR, USSD, WhatsApp etc.). As one provider, Echo Mobile is often asked, “what sort of response rate can I expect for my SMS survey?” or, “what percentage of my audience will engage my IVR initiative?” The unsatisfying answer is always the same: it depends. And financial incentives don't always make a difference.

Whatever your mobile engagement technology, achieving MERL goals often rests on the design and psychology behind your mobile engagement strategy—the content, tone, language, and timing of your communications and the underlying incentives of the audience. Technology is easy, but people are hard, and these are psychological and strategic considerations more than technological ones.

We’ll raise them for deeper discussion. Instead of “it depends”, we’ll dig into what engagement depends _on_. We’ll present two cases (5-10mins each) of organizations that use the Echo platform, and which have increased mobile engagement by experimenting and tweaking their approach rather than having us tweak the technology:

1. A UN agency that nearly doubled SMS engagement rates from 40,000 Kenyan teachers by dropping financial incentives and tweaking the structure, tone and content of their messaging.

2. A BBOXX team in Rwanda that sought to understand the welfare impact of solar consumption amongst their customers via SMS surveys. They first ran a set of small experiments, modifying survey financial incentives, timing, length, and language to see which moved the needle on response rates and compare the results to what customers told them in focus groups. Only one of these tweaks made a difference, and despite what customers had said in the focus groups, it wasn’t the financial incentives! But it nearly doubled response rates.

These two examples will not be the focus of the discussion, but will prompt an interactive discussion to draw out the experience of other participant that reinforce or challenge our takeaways about how to grow and sustain mobile engagement to achieve MERL goals.

Speakers
avatar for Boris Maguire

Boris Maguire

CEO, Echo Mobile
Boris Maguire is the CEO of Echo Mobile, which develops the Echo platform—one of few software-as-a-service tools built in Africa, for Africa. Over 300 organizations have used the Echo platform to engage, influence and understand the markets and communities they serve through intelligent... Read More →


Thursday September 5, 2019 11:15am - 12:15pm
Vista FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Participatory session

11:15am

What's In a Name: Does Data Science Fit in the MERL Acronym?
This interactive session will foster a conversation among participants about the evolving role for M&E when adaptive management, rigorous research, powerful IT tools, and data science are increasingly considered part of the toolkit. How do we balance engaging with new advances in technology while avoiding mission creep? How do we build teams to ensure we can respond to the needed skill sets? And how do we matrix ourselves in organizations, such that other functional units can collaborate without feeling territorial? Panelists will share how they have grappled with this challenge and invite others to share out their challenges and successes in responding to the growing role for M&E.

Speakers
KS

Kate Scaife Diaz

Director of Impact, TechnoServe
Kate Scaife Diaz is the Director of Impact at TechnoServe, a global development non-profit that specializes in private sector approaches to reducing poverty. She oversees all aspects of impact measurement at TechnoServe, which recorded $187 million in new revenue and wages for women... Read More →
avatar for Tariq Khokhar

Tariq Khokhar

Managing Director & Chief Data Scientist, The Rockefeller Foundation
Tariq leads the Foundation’s work on using data science to improve people’s lives. This includes integrating data and technology into the Foundation’s initiative areas of Food, Power, Health, and Jobs; and identifying, shaping and scaling breakthrough data science solutions... Read More →
BS

Brett Sedgewick

Director, Deworm the World, Evidence Action
Brett Sedgewick is Director of the Deworm the World Initiative at Evidence Action, which supports governments to provide deworming treatments to more than 250 million children per year. Earlier in his career, Mr. Sedgewick worked with Global Communities implementing their Liberia... Read More →


Thursday September 5, 2019 11:15am - 12:15pm
Academy Hall C FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC

12:15pm

Lunch and Demo Tables
Grab a lunch and visit demo tables to find out about new tools and products that can support your MERL Work!

Thursday September 5, 2019 12:15pm - 1:15pm
Reception Area FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Networking

12:15pm

ICT4Eval Book Launch!
ICT4EVAL is the first book of its kind focussing on using information and communication technologies for evaluation (ICT4Eval). Join us for a panel where a few of the authors will discuss some of the overarching areas of emphasis of the book, including the role of technology in providing data for SDGs, big data, machine learning and more. The panel will also delve into the softer aspects of ICT4Eval such as ethical and privacy concerns pertaining to bias and inclusion when using technology for evaluation. The book is a publication by practitioners, for practitioners and so will be the panel. Come and see what ICT4Eval looks like in practice!

About the book: ICT4 Eval was written by a group of experts and development practitioners, the book presents technologies such as big data analytics, machine learning and remote sensing applied to the field of development evaluation, with a focus on measuring indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals. The volume provides an overview of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the context of evaluation, looking at the theory and practice, and discussing how the landscape may unfold. It also considers concerns about privacy, ethics and inclusion, which are crucial issues for development practitioners and evaluators working in the interests of vulnerable populations across the globe. Among the contributions are case studies of seven organizations using various technologies for data collection, analysis, dissemination and learning.

More information here: https://www.routledge.com/Information-and-Communication-Technologies-for-Development-Evaluation/Garcia-Kotturi/p/book/9780367137144


Speakers
PK

Prashanth Kotturi

Evaluation Analyst, Independent Office of Evaluation of the International Fund for Agricultural Development
I work in Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and have lead and supported a wide range of evaluations ranging from project evaluations, country portfolio evaluations to corporate level evaluations and evaluation synthesis... Read More →
avatar for Michael Bamberger

Michael Bamberger

Independent Consultant, Independent Consultant
Michael Bamberger, jmichaelbamberger@gmail.com, Independent Evaluation Consultant. 40 years of experience conducting and teaching development evaluation in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East and Asia. Working for the past few years on the opportunities and challenges for integrating... Read More →
avatar for Linda Raftree

Linda Raftree

Organizer & Independent Consultant, MERL Tech
Linda Raftree supports strategy, program design, research, and technology in international development initiatives. She co-founded MERLTech in 2014 and also works as an independent consultant. Linda advises Girl Effect on digital safety, security and privacy and supports the organization... Read More →


Thursday September 5, 2019 12:15pm - 1:15pm
Vista FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Panel Discussion

1:15pm

MERL Tech Dashboard Contest!
Join us for the First MERL Tech Dashboard Contest! Leading MERL Tech experts will showcase their dashboards in fast, fun five-minute lightning talks that will tell us:
  1. the goal of their dashboard 
  2. how they organized the underlying data 
  3. why they choose that design 
  4. the impact it had in decision-making.

Three distinguished judges (Amanda Makulec, Charles Guedenet, and Christopher Robert) will rate the dashboards and we’ll declare three winners based on their votes. A fourth winner will be declared via a special People’s Choice award chosen by conference participants. Each contest participant will receive a prize and the top four dashboards will have a special award signifying their excellence.

Speakers
avatar for Wayan Vota

Wayan Vota

Digital Health Director, IntraHealth International
Wayan Vota is a co-founder of MERL Tech and Kurante. He is on the forefront of utilizing new and emerging technologies to magnify the intent of communities to accelerate their social and economic development. Wayan is currently the Director of Digital Health at IntraHealth International... Read More →
avatar for Amanda Makulec

Amanda Makulec

Data Visualization Lead, Excella
Amanda Makulec is the Data Visualization Lead at Excella and has spent nearly a decade working in analytics, information systems, and data visualization. She finds creative ways to help people use data to answer questions and make decisions. At Excella, she leads cross-functional... Read More →
CG

Charles Guedenet

MEL Advisor, IREX
Charles Guedenet serves as a Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Advisor within IREX’s Center for Applied Learning and Impact (CALI) where he is responsible for measuring IREX’s global impact and supporting organizational learning, accountability, and data informed decision-making... Read More →
avatar for Christopher Robert

Christopher Robert

Founder and CEO, Dobility I SurveyCTO
Dr. Christopher Robert is a technologist, an entrepreneur, an economist, a researcher, and a lecturer. As a technologist and entrepreneur, he: founded Dobility, Inc., which produces SurveyCTO, an electronic data collection platform used worldwide by leading researchers and evaluation... Read More →
avatar for Siobhan Green

Siobhan Green

CEO, Sonjara
Siobhan Green is co-founder of Sonjara, an ICT4D firm specializing in technology evaluations, assessments, and building data rich applications for the NGO and international development community. She was the lead investigator for the USAID Global Development Lab Responsible Data Guidelines... Read More →
avatar for Carmen Tedesco

Carmen Tedesco

Data and Tech Lead - Development Results, DAI
In her current role as Data and Tech Lead for DAI's Managing for Development Results team, Ms. Tedesco leads the Data Science Team, serving as data analytics translator, bridging DAI's data science capability and development needs to help derive insights that improve our work. She... Read More →
avatar for Kerry Bruce

Kerry Bruce

Chief Executive Officer, Clear Outcomes
Kerry Bruce, DrPH, is the CEO and founder of of Clear Outcomes, a company that aims to draw on her 25+ years of experience working in the for-profit and non-profit sectors of development and more than 20 years of living in Asia and Africa. Kerry is a recognized global health expert... Read More →
avatar for Alberto Nieto

Alberto Nieto

Solution Engineer, Esri
Alberto Nieto is a geographer, python developer, and spatial analyst who helps GIS users find innovative solutions to important spatial problems.Prior to joining Esri, Alberto accumulated nearly a decade of experience that includes working at the Census Bureau, NOAA’s Office of... Read More →
DH

Dustin Homer

Director of Solutions, Fraym
avatar for Ailsa Cook

Ailsa Cook

Founder /Director, Matter of Focus
Ailsa leads Matter of Focus a Scottish Startup company. We have developed OutNav a software platform supporting qualitative analysis of qualitative and quantitative data gathered through complex, people based change.
avatar for Munir Mahomar

Munir Mahomar

Senior M&E Technology Associate, Education Development Center
Munir Mahomar is a Senior M&E Technology Associate who works with international projects to design and develop their data management systems, digital data collection, reporting tools and dashboards. Munir specializes in building local capacity for data management, helping projects... Read More →
avatar for Celeste Brubaker

Celeste Brubaker

Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning Director, Village Enterprise


Thursday September 5, 2019 1:15pm - 2:15pm
Academy Hall FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Plenary Contest

2:15pm

Short Break
Take a quick break before heading off to your 3.15pm session!

Thursday September 5, 2019 2:15pm - 2:30pm
Reception Area FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Networking

2:30pm

Integrating Big Data into the Evaluation of Complex Development Programs
The session will illustrate ways in which big data and data analytics can strengthen the evaluation of complex programs. Previous MERL Tech sessions on complexity have usually presented a specific analytical technique but without a framework for defining complexity or an overall methodology for evaluating complex programs. The first session will introduce a framework to assess the level of complexity of a development program and a 5 step methodology for evaluating complex programs.

This will be followed by a presentation on the importance of systems analysis for the evaluation of complex programs, and the opportunities and challenges for introducing big data and data analytics into systems analysis. The session will focus on systems mapping, systems dynamics and social network analysis.

The third presentation will discuss how the Independent Evaluation Group of the World Bank is applying complexity concepts in its evaluations and the potential contribution of big data to strengthen complexity-responsive evaluations.

All panelists will illustrate their presentations with examples of widely used big data and data science technologies that are starting to be introduced into program evaluation (e.g. geospatial analysis and remote sensors, social network analysis, mobile apps and social media analysis - among others). Panelists will also draw lessons on the opportunities and challenges of using big data in program evaluation.

Participants will leave with a clearer understanding of: complexity, a user-friendly approach for evaluating complex programs, real-world examples of how big data techniques have been applied in complexity-responsive evaluations – and the accessibility of these approaches to development agencies. It is hoped the framework will stimulate further research and future MERL Tech sessions on the application of big data tools to complexity evaluation.

Speakers
avatar for Michael Bamberger

Michael Bamberger

Independent Consultant, Independent Consultant
Michael Bamberger, jmichaelbamberger@gmail.com, Independent Evaluation Consultant. 40 years of experience conducting and teaching development evaluation in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East and Asia. Working for the past few years on the opportunities and challenges for integrating... Read More →
DD

Danielle de Garcia

Senior Director and Division Head, Social Impact
Dani de García is the Senior Director and Division Head for the Strategy, Performance, and Learning division at Social Impact. She leads SI’s technical team that provides services in monitoring, performance evaluation, learning, organizational development, and strategic planning... Read More →
JV

Jos Vaessen

Advisor, Independent Evaluation Group of the World Bank
Jos Vaessen joined the Independent Evaluation Group of the World Bank in 2016 as adviser on evaluation methods. Since 1998 he has been involved in evaluation research activities, first as an academic and consultant to bilateral and multilateral development organizations and from 2001... Read More →


Thursday September 5, 2019 2:30pm - 3:30pm
Vista FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Panel

2:30pm

Using Cutting-Edge Technology to Measure Global Perceptions of Gender-Based Violence Online
In 2018, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), and RIWI Corp. entered into a unique private-public partnership to conduct the first ever global study on perceptions of gender-based violence (GBV) perpetrated online (i.e., through social media, email, messaging, knowledge-sharing, dating, and other online platforms) in developing countries. To gather this invaluable data, the partners built an online survey with 17 questions about the nature, prevalence, impacts, and responses to GBV online. Using RIWI’s global trend-tracking and predictive technology, the survey was administered to over 30,000 citizens from 15 developing countries across the globe, making it the largest and most unique study on the subject of GBV online. This session will begin with an overview of the study by the three project partners, who will describe the methodology, highlight key findings, and examine the ways through which the study can be used by a range of governmental and non-governmental actors to reduce the incidence and impact of GBV online. Following this, the panelists and the audience will discuss the necessity of using innovative data collection methods to engage and gather information from populations who are typically not heard from on a human rights topic that touches many people around the globe.

RIWI is a global survey technology and sentiment analysis firm that gathers citizen opinion data and accelerates engagement initiatives in every country in the world using its patented technology. The technology works by inviting randomized Web users, in any and every geo-targeted area in the world, to safely and anonymously participate in a language appropriate survey or specific citizen engagement initiative. USAID is the world's premier international development agency and a catalytic actor driving development results. USAID's work advances U.S. national security and economic prosperity, and promotes a path to recipient self-reliance and resilience. ABA ROLI is a development organization with a mission to promote justice, economic opportunity, and human dignity through the rule of law. ABA ROLI works with local partners in over 50 countries to build sustainable institutions and prosperous societies.

Speakers
PP

Paulina (Paula) Rudnicka

Legal Advisor, ABA Rule of Law Initiative
Paula Rudnicka has 15 years of experience in the international development field, with a focus on the rights of women and marginalized populations, gender integration, refugees and migration, and countering gender-based violence (GBV). Paula leads ABA ROLI’s Gender Practice Group... Read More →
CS

Chai Shenoy

Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Advisor, Office of Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment, Bureau for Economic Growth, Education & Environment, USAID
Chaitra (Chai) Shenoy is the Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Advisor at the Office of Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment, Bureau for Economic Growth, Education & Environment, USAID. Chai provides technical assistance and guidance to USAID missions and Washington-based operating units... Read More →
avatar for Mercedes Fogarassy

Mercedes Fogarassy

Portfolio Manager, Global Citizen Engagement, RIWI Corp.
Mercedes manages the Global Citizen Engagement portfolio at RIWI Corp., focusing on amplifying citizen voices for partners in the humanitarian sector, including the World Food Programme, USAID, Oxfam, Freedom House and more.RIWI is a global survey technology and sentiment analysis... Read More →


Thursday September 5, 2019 2:30pm - 3:30pm
Balcony D FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Panel

2:30pm

Chain Reaction: How Does Blockchain Fit, (if at all) into Assessing the Value for Money of Education Projects in Developing Countries?

This panel, hosted by Christine Harris- Van Keuren from Salt Analytics, features use cases of blockchain to house the necessary data for value for money assessments. The panel will provide evidence of blockchain use to store activity and outcomes data, and its overall use in tracking the flow of finances from the donor to the end recipient. Case studies from Disberse, Truepic, and the UNCDF will be presented. We will advance the discussion around how technology, with or without blockchain, could potentially provide an easier lift for collecting the evaluation and financial data needed to analyze the cost of a project. Valentine Gandhi from NIRAS and The Development Café will serve as the discussant.


Speakers
avatar for Christine Harris-Van Keuren

Christine Harris-Van Keuren

Head, SALT Analytics
Chris Harris-Van Keuren is the President of SALT Analytics. SALT specializes in capacity building, policy analysis, and cost evaluations for education projects in developing countries.Chris is published with Harvard Business School, IADB, OECD, and USAID and has co-authored two Background... Read More →
avatar for Tara Vassefi

Tara Vassefi

Washington Director of Strategic Initiatives, Truepic
Tara Vassefi is the Washington Director of Strategic Initiatives for Truepic, a technology company specializing in image authentication, where she collaborates with a range of incredible partners at various levels of government, civil society, and the private sector, to use digital... Read More →
DM

David Mikhail

Communications Specialist, UNCDF
David Mikhail, United Nations Capital Development Fund, Communications Specialist David Mikhail is Communications Specialist for the United Nations Capital Development Fund, the capital investment agency focused on unlocking public and private finance for the 47 least developed countries... Read More →
TB

Tillman Bruett

Secretariat Director, United Nations Secretary-General’s Task Force on the Digital Financing of the Su
Tillman Bruett has over 20 years of experience in commercial banking, microfinance and digital finance. He is currently the Secretariat Director for the United Nations Secretary-General’s Task Force on the Digital Financing of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Till joined... Read More →
AM

Audrey Misquith

Digital Financial Solutions Expert, United Nations Capital Development Fund
Audrey Misquith is a Digital Financial Solutions (DFS) expert at the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) in Kathmandu, Nepal and a Senior Consultant for Amarante Consulting, a boutique DFS consulting enterprise. At UNCDF Nepal, Audrey oversees a remittance project that focuses on... Read More →
BJ

Ben Joakim

Founder & CEO, Disberse
Ben Joakim's background is in international development and social enterprise. He was a global advisor at SNV, led UK NGOs, and invested in early stage social ventures at UnLtd.
avatar for Valentine Gandhi

Valentine Gandhi

Principal Consultant, NIRAS Data Futures Hub
Dr Valentine (Val) Joseph Gandhi is an Implementation Scientist, Development Economist, Policy Advisor, Poverty and Livelihood Impact Evaluation Specialist, ICT4D and Knowledge Manager, currently based between Jakarta and Nairobi, with over 18 years of interdisciplinary, quantitative... Read More →


Thursday September 5, 2019 2:30pm - 3:30pm
Balcony E FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC

2:30pm

Beyond "Make vs. Buy": Making MERL Tech Work for YOU
Creating useful software for development and humanitarian professionals is an imperfect science, and we don’t always get it right. In this session, panelists with very different approaches to providing MERL software will talk about how the sausage gets made. For the first half, we’ll share why we often end up disappointing clients or telling users ‘no’ from our experiences at companies past and present. We’ll also provide insight on different business models and delivery mechanisms (open/closed source, products/services, SaaS/custom, etc.) to equip the buyers/users of software to make the very best decisions and establish fruitful partnerships with their vendors. During the second half, our moderator will field questions from the audience and facilitate an open dialogue about frustrations and tough decisions from both sides. There will be no presentations, no pitching, no self-promotion. Any anecdotes or success stories will be leavened with failures, lost clients, self-deprecation, etc. Panelists will try to humbly and truthfully describe where their business models and the needs of prospective users may conflict, and how to manage that tension. Participants in this session will leave with a fuller understanding of how software companies operate, how various business models work in practice, and why finding the 'perfect' MERL tech solution is sometimes so dang frustrating.

Speakers
avatar for Sherri Haas

Sherri Haas

Sr. Technical Advisor, Digital Health, MSH
Sherri Haas serves as Senior Technical Advisor, Digital Health & Health Economics at MSH. Her work focuses on data-driven systems strengthening, with technical experience in digital health, research and evaluation, and digital solutions to increase access to financial services. Ms... Read More →
avatar for Christopher Robert

Christopher Robert

Founder and CEO, Dobility I SurveyCTO
Dr. Christopher Robert is a technologist, an entrepreneur, an economist, a researcher, and a lecturer. As a technologist and entrepreneur, he: founded Dobility, Inc., which produces SurveyCTO, an electronic data collection platform used worldwide by leading researchers and evaluation... Read More →
avatar for Vidya Mahadevan

Vidya Mahadevan

Senior Advisor, M&E and DHIS2, Bluesquare
Vidya Mahadevan is a DC-based M&E and DHIS 2 Advisor at Bluesquare with 10+ years of experience supporting health programs from the field and across humanitarian emergency and development settings. Vidya has expertise in M&E, designing and implementing field research surveys, and... Read More →
avatar for Reid Porter

Reid Porter

Senior Data Strategist, DevResults
Talk to me about all things open data, transparency, and results measurement.


Thursday September 5, 2019 2:30pm - 3:30pm
Academy Hall A FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Panel, Discussion

2:30pm

Citizen Led Monitoring-Mobile Feedback Mechanisms in Action
Participants will understand how a simple data collection tool can be re-purposed for community/citizen led monitoring efforts. We will walk through examples of farmers using mobile phones to monitor agricultural policies in Rwanda, similarly farmers in Zimbabwe monitoring local weather patterns and also Trócaire's experience exploring tech solution for citizen led monitoring of human rights issues. Through these examples, we will highlight lessons learned and discuss security and privacy considerations as well. We not only wish to share our experience but learn from the expertise in the room!

Speakers
RS

Rashmi Sharma

Advisor - Digital Data in Programmes, Trocaire
Rashmi Sharma is the ICT in Programmes Advisor at Trócaire where she promotes and manages adoption of technology for program effectiveness and efficiency. She is currently leading the digitization of program data collection processes throughout the organization by supporting country... Read More →


Thursday September 5, 2019 2:30pm - 3:30pm
Angle FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Discussion, Presentation

2:30pm

Harnessing Low-Cost, User-Friendly Google Resources for MERL
Traditional tools to monitor programmatic activities and manage the resulting data can be expensive, complex and require extensive IT support. Pact Colombia and Seed Global Health have harnessed low-cost, user-friendly Google tools for collecting, collating, displaying, and managing data. This session will demonstrate how each organization is using Google tools for MERL. Presenters will display key features, share implementation, ethics and data privacy considerations, and facilitate a discussion on good practices and user-friendly tech solutions for MERL. Attendees will leave this session with a better understanding of how Google Sites, Forms, Sheets and Data Studio can be used to display, capture and showcase a variety of information, and how it can be integrated with their work.

Session format:
First part (20 minutes): Through the Pilares project (funded by USDOL), Pact has created a customized user friendly monitoring system using Google Sites that provides access to project information, key documents and forms for data collection. Project partners submit data through Google Forms and Google Sheets and use Google Drive to store updated files, reports, images and other information, thus capturing disaggregated data on project activities and their outputs and outcomes in real time. The system was so well received by project partners that it has been re-created for partner CSOs to use as well. This part of the session includes: 1) Quick overview of Pilares project; 2) Challenges and needs for data collection in the Project; 3) Short demonstration of the google site; 4) Best practices and lessons learned from implementing

Second Part (20 minutes): Seed Global Health harnessed the power of Google’s Data Studio, a free dashboarding and data visualization tool mostly used in the marketing and advertising fields, to create interactive and customizable data reports, showcase information, and form a repository of knowledge within the organization. Google Data Studio allows Seed to make programmatic data and information easily accessible to its stakeholders in a user-friendly way, which allows them to continuously interact with the data and use it to inform day-to-day program and organizational operations. This part of the session includes: 1) Quick overview of Seed Global Health; 2) Background information on challenges and needs for management of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning data and information in the organization; 3) Short demonstration of the Google Data Studio dashboard and its capabilities; 4) Best practices and lessons learned from creating and implementing this tool

Third Part (20 minutes) General considerations and Q&A - May include: Quick Presentation of child labor monitoring by civil society organizations that includes all the Google tools mentioned before; Possibly short video of staff/CSOs discussing their experience with the Google tools; Ethical and data considerations in both organizations; Security concerns; Additional open questions

Speakers
LC

Laura Cortés Obregón

M&E Officer, Pact
Laura Cortés Obregón - M&E Officer for Pilares project at Pact Colombia - is a public and private project design and evaluation specialist trained at University of Medellín. Laura has more than 7 years of experience in projects of international development focused in M&E in South... Read More →
ML

Maria Lopez

Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning Specialist, Seed Global Health
Maria Lopez is the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Specialist at Seed Global Health, where she supports Seed’s MEL systems and practice across all countries of operation. For over five years, she has provided research, program evaluation and strategic planning support for organizations... Read More →


Thursday September 5, 2019 2:30pm - 3:30pm
Academy Hall C FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Discussion

2:30pm

Confidence Not Competence: What is Holding Women Back from Embracing Tech in Development?
As an international development community, we spend a lot of resources on promoting the use of technology among women and girls within the communities where we work. The research is clear on the solid impacts this has. And yet, as a community of women development practitioners, we are failing at embracing technology ourselves. The gender gap in STEM exists in all countries, and society continues to fail women and girls by not expecting them to know much about technical matters. This plays out in our day-to-day work in the MERL sector. Whether it’s learning new software to improve our results monitoring, new mobile tools in the field, or analysis packages in the office – there seems to be a hesitance, and lack of confidence, often accompanied by self-deprecation that our male counterparts lack. What is holding back women from embracing technology in our own work, even as we tout it for others in the field? This panel will discuss our experiences as women in tech working in MEL, some of the data behind the gender gap in STEM, and why women struggle to embrace technology. It will also discuss successes and try to find some ways to encourage our colleagues to build confidence in this area.

Speakers
avatar for Carmen Tedesco

Carmen Tedesco

Data and Tech Lead - Development Results, DAI
In her current role as Data and Tech Lead for DAI's Managing for Development Results team, Ms. Tedesco leads the Data Science Team, serving as data analytics translator, bridging DAI's data science capability and development needs to help derive insights that improve our work. She... Read More →
JC

Jaclyn Carlsen

ICT Advisor, USAID
Jaclyn works to understand how technology can address complex challenges in international development. As ICT Policy Advisor at USAID, Jaclyn engages with donors, governments, non-profits, businesses, and vendors to identify and implement technology initiatives. She supports USAID... Read More →
PM

Patricia Mechael

Co-founder and Policy Lead, HealthEnabled
Dr. Patricia (Patty) Mechael is Principal and Policy Lead at HealthEnabled and Executive Vice President at the Personal Connected Health Alliance, HIMSS. With over 20 years of experience in digital health, Patty is recognized for her roles as thought leader, professor, researcher... Read More →
PP

Priyanka Pathak

Principal, Samaj Studio
Priyanka is a technology, design, and global health specialist who focuses on products and services for women’s health, including maternal and child health work, both internationally and in the US. She has nearly a decade of experience leading projects in over 15 countries around... Read More →


Thursday September 5, 2019 2:30pm - 3:30pm
Academy Hall B FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC

3:30pm

Short Break
Take a quick break and find your next session!

Thursday September 5, 2019 3:30pm - 3:45pm
Reception Area FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Networking

3:45pm

Big Data, Big Responsibilities
The ability for organizations to gather data points is increasingly important and detailed data is opening vast opportunities for Monitoring, Evaluating, Research and Learning in the development space. However, with these new data sets comes new ethical and security concerns. Consider that outside of the European Union, there is currently little to no standardized process in place regarding which entity - the donor or the recipient organization - is tasked with ensuring ethical data integrity and security. Clearly, data security is paramount for building trust, integrity, and scalability; however, when time, resources, and safety are stretched thin, organizations are often left struggling to figure out how to gather data ethically and secure those data responsibly.

Throughout this session Michael Roytman (Chief Data Scientist at Kenna Security) and Mollie Woods (ChildFund International Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor) will discuss the challenging and often intimidating “chicken and egg” scenario of which comes first: data collection or data security. Samuel V. Scarpino will facilitate this debate through the lens of the chief data scientist at the impact technology startup, Dharma Platform. Do the ethical and data security obligations fall on the donor or recipient organization? How can organizations remain nimble in the face of ever shifting security concerns and with ever increasing data volumes? Big data can improve MERL in the development space, but, these benefits shouldn't come at the cost of ethical and security violations.

Speakers
SS

Samuel Scarpino

Chief Strategy Officer, Dharma Platform
Samuel V. Scarpino, PhD, is the Chief Strategy Officer at Dharma Platform and holds academic appointments in the Network Science Institute at Northeastern University and the ISI Foundation in Turin Italy. Dr. Scarpino has 10+ years of experience translating research into public health... Read More →
avatar for Mollie Woods

Mollie Woods

Senior Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Advisor, ChildFund International
As part of ChildFund International’s Global M&E Team, Mollie Woods spearheads digital initiatives across the organization to improve outcomes for children through informed data-driven decision-making. Prior to ChildFund International, Mollie worked with the American Red Cross and... Read More →
MR

Michael Roytman

Founder & Board Director, Dharma Platform
Believing that everyone should have access to high-level insights, Michael Roytman was instrumental in seeing that Dharma Platform would be able to organize data in a way that was not only easily understood, but shared in real-time with people all over the world. With a background... Read More →


Thursday September 5, 2019 3:45pm - 4:45pm
Academy Hall B FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Panel

3:45pm

Living Our Vision: Applying the Principles for Digital Development as an Evaluative Methodology
For nearly ten years, the Principles for Digital Development have served as a set of living guidelines intended to help practitioners succeed in applying digital technologies to development programs. The MERL Tech community have embraced the Digital Principles, particularly in the design of programs. In more recent years, we are beginning to see more adaptation by the community in transforming the Digital Principles from theory to practice. We have also observed an increased demand for evaluation tools built on the foundation of good practice championed by the Digital Principles.

Most notably, a group of global health donors recently collaborated on the Digital Health Investment Review Tool (DHIRT), which enables donors to incorporate the Digital Principles when creating requests for solicitations, defining contract language, and evaluating proposals for grant funding and software procurement. Complementing this work, DIAL has worked with TechChange to build a sector-agnostic Digital Principles Maturity Matrix tool to assess how practitioners and organizations are living the Digital Principles, both in program design and implementation, and provide a road map to improvement and uptake.

This panel will discuss the challenges in transforming a framework into an evaluative methodology and experiences and findings in applying these open and adaptable tools. The group will discuss how they applied the Digital Principles themselves in their development approach and use, and we will encourage the audience to reflect upon how to measure their organization’s compliance with the Digital Principles.

Speakers
avatar for Allana Nelson

Allana Nelson

Senior Manager, Digital Principles, Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL)
Allana Nelson has spent the last nine years working in government, non-profit, and private sector organizations specializing in project management and business operations in the areas of international development, communications, and training. Allana joined the Digital Impact Alliance... Read More →
CN

Christopher Neu

COO, TechChange
Christopher Neu is the Chief Operating Officer at TechChange. Previously, Chris worked at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). Born and raised in Jerusalem, Chris has also worked with the Association of International Development Agencies (Ramallah), IFES during the 2006 Palestinian... Read More →
avatar for Laura Walker McDonald

Laura Walker McDonald

Senior Director for Insights & Impact, Digital Impact Alliance
Laura Walker McDonald is a technologist, lawyer and strategist with more than 12 years of global experience in the aid and development space. Laura’s career has focused on helping social change organizations all over the world use technology in principled and impactful ways to support... Read More →
SO

Steve Ollis

Senior Digital Health Advisor, Maternal and Child Survival Program / John Snow Inc
Steve Ollis serves as Senior Digital Health Advisor for John Snow Inc. and for USAID’s flagship Maternal and Child Survival Program and JSI team lead for the MEASURE Evaluation project. He is currently serving as co-chair of the Global Digital Health Network, a 3500+ member convening... Read More →


Thursday September 5, 2019 3:45pm - 4:45pm
Academy Hall C FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Panel

3:45pm

Smartcards for MERL, Worth the Money?
ACDI/VOCA has been using touchless smartcards to track beneficiaries for over four years. As a result, through our USAID funded Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement project (ADVANCE) in Ghana, we won the USAID 2017 Digi Award. ADVANCE was able to report on the benefits received by over unique 131,000 Ghanaian smallholder farmers with this technology. We have also been successfully using smartcards in Colombia within our USAID funded Emergency Response in Arauca project (ERA). However, we failed in integrating this technology in a few other projects, including in Kyrgyzstan.

These last four years, we were able to take stock and reflect on the pros and cons of this technology in different contexts. During the session, we will provide detailed explanation on how this technology works with live and interactive demonstration. We will share the lessons we learned, the success factors, and a decision tree that will help organizations determine whether smartcards are a good solution for their monitoring and evaluation (M&E) activities. Examples of factors include costs, local capacity, project activities scale, number of beneficiaries, project M&E database features, and where in the implementation cycle projects are. Furthermore, we will discuss alternative technological solutions that might be more accessible and less expensive for the cases where smartcards are less relevant.

At the end of the session, the audience will be familiar with the use of smartcards for Monitoring and Evaluation and will be able to map their way forward in the design of their next beneficiary tracking solution.

Speakers
NR

Nirinjaka Ramasinjatovo

Senior Director for M&E, Acdi/voca
Niri Ramasinjatovo is a monitoring and evaluation professional with over 18 years of experience in international development in Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Madagascar where she is originally from. Before her current role, she was the Deputy Chief of Party... Read More →
NC

Nicole Chao

Senior Director for Resilience and Growth, ACDI/VOCA
Nicole Chao is an international development professional with over 15 years of experience. She currently provides project management oversight of livelihoods, employability, food security and community development projects in Colombia. Throughout the years, she has overseen projects... Read More →


Thursday September 5, 2019 3:45pm - 4:45pm
Angle FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Workshop

3:45pm

Technology Adoption and Innovation in the Industry: How to Bridge the International Development Industry with Technology Solutions.
This panel will be a discussion on how the international development industry utilizes technology solutions and what challenges are faced when scaling a technology company. The panelists will draw from experiences working across the international development, software engineering and technology space to identify gaps in the development process. The session is designed to walk through the successes and failures of both the technology and international development industry and to showcase how prioritizing solutions and investing in technology can enable greater social impact outcomes and encourage better implementation practices for development practitioners.

Speakers
avatar for Mike Klein

Mike Klein

Director, IMC Worldwide
Michael Klein is a director of International Solutions Group, a company that works with governments, U.N. agencies, international organizations, NGOs and other companies to improve the implementation of humanitarian aid and development programming projects. He is based in Washington... Read More →
AN

Aasit Nanavati

Director, DevResults
Aasit is passionate about developing strategies that lead to better decision making. Through his diverse experience in international development, he has acquired an appreciation for the power of information in driving social impact. Prior to DevResults, Aasit worked in South-East... Read More →
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Joel Selanikio

CEO and Co-Founder, Magpi
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Nancy Hawa

Software Engineer, DevResults
Nancy Hawa is a software engineer at DevResults, where she is excited to be working to help the development community store, track, and interpret their data. Before she became a software developer, she was a Special Education teacher and has a special respect for educators around... Read More →


Thursday September 5, 2019 3:45pm - 4:45pm
Balcony E FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC

3:45pm

Managing Development Data Across the Data Lifecycle
This session will deliver a panel discussion of USAID initiatives to advance management of development data across a lifecycle, in partnership with the broader development data community. The discussion will highlight the importance of planning for and managing different types of USAID-funded development data (e.g., monitoring, evaluation, geospatial, etc.) across a lifecycle to enhance both data usability and responsible sharing and publication. It will focus on data management practices reflected in policy updates and revisions (e.g, ADS 579, Activity Location Data Mandatory Reference), partner perspectives, current governance and legal efforts and risk management and responsible data frameworks that respond to new Federal data mandates.The panel will emphasize how USAID and the development data community can work together in ways that advance a collective goal of using data to improve development outcomes.

Speakers
GG

Gayle Girod

Chief Innovation Counsel, USAID
Gayle joined the USAID Office of General Counsel in May 2011 from World Vision.  She is the Chief Innovation Counsel, supporting the Agency to use its authorities creatively to achieve our development objectives.  Gayle previously practiced government contracts law at three DC law... Read More →
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Patrick Gault

Senior Geospatial Analyst, USAID GeoCenter - Freedom Consulting Group Contractor
Patrick Gault is a founding member of the USAID GeoCenter and has recently led the Agency's work to establish and implement geographic data policy, guidance, and standards for improved development decisions and greater accountability.
MS

M. Scott Thompson

Data Scientist, USAID
Scott provides project leadership through USAID's Data Services team to advance the availability, accessibility, and re-use of USAID-funded data. Dr. Thompson's work at USAID focuses on enterprise data efforts, such as long-term curation, interoperability, and data sharing and publication... Read More →
avatar for Carmen Tedesco

Carmen Tedesco

Data and Tech Lead - Development Results, DAI
In her current role as Data and Tech Lead for DAI's Managing for Development Results team, Ms. Tedesco leads the Data Science Team, serving as data analytics translator, bridging DAI's data science capability and development needs to help derive insights that improve our work. She... Read More →


Thursday September 5, 2019 3:45pm - 4:45pm
Academy Hall A FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Panel

3:45pm

Tech and Traditional MERL: A Rapid Scoping Review of the State of the Field
Technology, it is assumed, enables practitioners to conduct traditional kinds of monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning (MERL) in better, faster, more efficient and higher quality ways at greater scale than pre-technology days. Yet to date there has been no attempt to synthesize and distill the emerging evidence base for this swirl of MERL activity. Over the past year, we conducted a systematic evidence synthesis using bibliographic databases that sought to identify gaps in the knowledge base, clarify key concepts, report on the types of evidence that inform practice, and lay the foundation for synthesizing conclusions and lessons learned. At this session we will present back our initial findings and invite participants to review the findings and add their thoughts.

Speakers
avatar for Zach Tilton

Zach Tilton

Doctoral Research Associate / Evaluation Consultant, Western Michigan University / Digital Impact Alliance
Zach Tilton is a Doctoral Research Associate at the Interdisciplinary PhD in Evaluation Program at Western Michigan University where he is setting and pursuing an agenda for research on peacebuilding evaluation. He holds a BS in Peacebuilding and Business Management from Brigham Young... Read More →
avatar for Soham Banerji

Soham Banerji

Program Manager and MEL Specialist, Social Impact
Mr. Soham Banerji brings ten years of experience providing operational leadership and support to donor-funded projects worldwide, including five years of monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) experience performing and overseeing data collection and assessment, impact and performance... Read More →
avatar for Michael Harnar

Michael Harnar

Assistant Professor, Western Michigan University
Dr. Michael Harnar is an assistant professor in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Evaluation Program at Western Michigan University. He is an award-winning evaluator with more than 13 years in the evaluation discipline. He has worked on evaluation projects as diverse as: Educational... Read More →
avatar for Maliha Khan

Maliha Khan

Chief Programmes Officer, Malala Fund


Thursday September 5, 2019 3:45pm - 4:45pm
Vista FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC

3:45pm

Digital Supply Chains and Data Trusts: Applied Data Governance in International Development
Whether it's WFP's biometric standoff in Yemen, the repatriation of Rohingya data without the Rohingya, or the use of alternative and social credit scoring, it's clear that data governance is a development issue. As technology rights advocates are fond of saying, "digital rights are human rights," - but, often without the governance structures to make them accessible and practical. Data governance is an emerging field of practice, focused on building participation structures that realize the rights and principles digital advocates struggle to achieve through more traditional legal tools. This session will explain applied data governance in international development, with a focus on digital supply chains and data trusts - two practical approaches to help organizations get started.

Speakers
avatar for Sean McDonald

Sean McDonald

Co-Founder, Digital Public
Sean McDonald is a co-founder of Digital Public, a public interest data governance firm. Digital Public pioneered Civic Data Trusts – legal frameworks that enable groups to build fiduciary, purpose-driven management of the rights to data, code, and other digital assets. He's also... Read More →


Thursday September 5, 2019 3:45pm - 4:45pm
Balcony D FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC

4:45pm

Short Break
Take a quick break before heading off to next session!

Thursday September 5, 2019 4:45pm - 5:00pm
Reception Area FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Networking

5:00pm

Paving over Digital Health "Pilotitis" in Nepal
Nepal Health Sector Strategy (NHSS) 2015-2020 aspires to leverage mHealth and eHealth to improve health outcomes for Nepalese citizens. At present, there is a paucity in evidence on the mHealth and eHealth interventions that have been implemented in Nepal and their effectiveness. Our study mapped technology-enabled projects in Nepal using Arksey and O’Malley’s scoping design framework and assessed the projects using WHO Building Blocks of a Health System framework. In total, 20 technology-enabled health solutions implemented between 1993 to 2016 were identified. The momentum for technology-enabled projects in Nepal is sporadic but continuous and largely donor driven. Technology-enabled health solutions in Nepal are limited in scope, focus areas, target audiences, and sustainability potential. Prevalent target audience for identified projects were front-line workers in rural areas, women of reproductive age, and adolescents. Evaluation or sustainability were not within the scope of most projects. Technology-enabled solutions are frayed, issue and organization centric, and primarily driven by donor or non-governmental organizations. Engaging the private sector, especially telecommunications companies, is an underutilized strategy to address barriers related to evaluating, scaling and integrating effective solutions in the health system. Existing pioneers in this space (government, national and international NGOs) must engage in strategic planning on how to increase collaborative partnerships with the private sector or incentivize independent commercial health technology ventures. Our session will shed light on opportunities and challenges for national and international governing bodies and health systems to chart a course for technology-enabled health solutions to move beyond “pilotitis” in low-resource settings.

Speakers
IP

Ichhya Pant

Research Scientist, GWU School of Public Health
"There is a forever evolving orchestra of health behavior change, evaluation, data, and ICT4D and I wish to be a discerning conductor." - Ichhya Pant


Thursday September 5, 2019 5:00pm - 5:05pm
Academy Hall FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Plenary Talk

5:05pm

10-Day Handwashing Challenge: A Digital Tool for Habit Formation in a Low-Income Context
Every1Mobile’s U Afya programme is a digital community for young mothers and prospective mothers in low-income areas of Nairobi to learn, share and connect on a variety of topics related to health, nutrition, hygiene and motherhood.

In an effort to leverage the technology that our target audience possesses, Every1Mobile created the U Afya 10-Day Handwashing Challenge - a mobile habit-tracking solution optimised for the most basic web-enabled feature phone.

The technology leveraged self-reported actions, where users were required to perform a daily activity, then complete a single-question survey to log their challenge as completed. The challenges varied but were all rooted in the WHO “5 Moments” model.

The habit-tracker adopted the behaviour change approach employed by Unilever and Lifebouy in their “Way of Life” campaign, namely Awareness, Commitment, Reinforcement and Reward.

Speakers
PK

Priya Kathpal

Business Development, Every1Mobile
Priya Kathpal leads US government-funded (USG) business development for Every1Mobile, an international development digital and mobile solutions firm. She is responsible for developing and delivering Every1Mobile’s expansion strategy into the USG market and building relationships... Read More →


Thursday September 5, 2019 5:05pm - 5:10pm
Academy Hall FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Plenary Talk

5:15pm

Does Your Tech Spark Joy? The Minimalist's Approach to MERL Tech
This lighting talk will share specific advice and guidance for audience members who have experienced tech clutter, untidy data, or too many integrations. Our M&E house is tidy because we have a few tools and we know how to use them well. Through trial and much error, we've learned that a lean tech approach to MERL is incredibly powerful, and can create the time and space we need for data use. The lean tech approach gives us room to innovate with new tech like drones, blockchain, machine learning. I'll share what we've learned about when to keep it simple and when to invest in something new.

Speakers
KS

Kate Scaife Diaz

Director of Impact, TechnoServe
Kate Scaife Diaz is the Director of Impact at TechnoServe, a global development non-profit that specializes in private sector approaches to reducing poverty. She oversees all aspects of impact measurement at TechnoServe, which recorded $187 million in new revenue and wages for women... Read More →


Thursday September 5, 2019 5:15pm - 5:20pm
Academy Hall FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Plenary Talk

5:20pm

Reading Schematics Before Designing Your Robot: The Story of BecaXR
This lightning talk will highlight the lessons learned from the development of the BecaXR extended reality mobile application developed by Save the Children and Accenture. From BecaXR, we have learned that in order to effectively design and implement digital solutions that integrate with our standard programming, we need to not only draw from our own experiences, but the experiences of the entire development industry. Participants will learn about how Save, as a result of this experience, sought to document what has worked and what has not for the development of digital innovations from across the development field to better ground our future digital work in evidence. We will also discuss how Save balanced the need for learning and evidence with the excitement and desire to roll out the application to the largest audience possible.

Speakers
avatar for Steve DiPangrazio

Steve DiPangrazio

ICT4D Specialist, Save the Children
Find him on Twitter @stevedipan Let's talk about: - Safe and inclusive innovation- Augmented/Virtual/Extended Reality- Youth and the Internet- Whatever interests you!


Thursday September 5, 2019 5:20pm - 5:25pm
Academy Hall FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Plenary Talk

5:25pm

Can You Keep It All Going?
This Lightning Talk will focus on the 3 key elements for sustainability in an education context. It relates to worth, focus, and resources. Each comes with an illustration and quickly prompts thoughts about what will continue after your project funding, or the initial enthusiasm fades.

Speakers
KM

Kurt Moses

Director Policy & Information Systems, Digital Solutions, FHI 360
Kurt D. Moses has helped 600 organizations, at every level of education, from primary through higher education, in the developing world, OECD countries, and the United States. Using strategic planning, organizational development, and improved management information systems (MIS)--including... Read More →


Thursday September 5, 2019 5:25pm - 5:30pm
Academy Hall FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Plenary Talk

5:30pm

Happy Hour and Fail Fest
We all love to talk about our successes, but it's through failure that we may learn the best lessons. Join us for a Happy Hour reception and support our brave peers who will get up on stage to tell us about moments where they have failed, how they picked themselves back up again, and what they learned in the process!

Speakers
avatar for Kerry Bruce

Kerry Bruce

Chief Executive Officer, Clear Outcomes
Kerry Bruce, DrPH, is the CEO and founder of of Clear Outcomes, a company that aims to draw on her 25+ years of experience working in the for-profit and non-profit sectors of development and more than 20 years of living in Asia and Africa. Kerry is a recognized global health expert... Read More →
MP

Melissa Persaud

Director of New Business - Global Development, Fraym
Melissa Persaud, Director of New Business - Global Development at Fraym is an ICT4D enthusiast with experience in mobile data collection, mobile messaging, and data analytics.
avatar for Wayan Vota

Wayan Vota

Digital Health Director, IntraHealth International
Wayan Vota is a co-founder of MERL Tech and Kurante. He is on the forefront of utilizing new and emerging technologies to magnify the intent of communities to accelerate their social and economic development. Wayan is currently the Director of Digital Health at IntraHealth International... Read More →


Thursday September 5, 2019 5:30pm - 7:30pm
Academy Hall FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Networking, Plenary Talks
 
Friday, September 6
 

8:30am

Registration and Meet & Greet
Join us bright and early to grab a coffee or tea and network with new colleagues and old friends!

Friday September 6, 2019 8:30am - 9:00am
Reception Area FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Networking

9:00am

Welcome to Day 2 of MERL Tech!
Welcome back to MERL Tech!

Speakers
avatar for Linda Raftree

Linda Raftree

Organizer & Independent Consultant, MERL Tech
Linda Raftree supports strategy, program design, research, and technology in international development initiatives. She co-founded MERLTech in 2014 and also works as an independent consultant. Linda advises Girl Effect on digital safety, security and privacy and supports the organization... Read More →


Friday September 6, 2019 9:00am - 9:15am
Academy Hall FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Plenary Talk

9:15am

Opening Talk: Ethical Tech Practices in Development -- How Can We All Do Better?
PENDING

Speakers
avatar for Yvonne MacPherson

Yvonne MacPherson

U.S. Director / Affiliate Fellow, BBC Media Action / Harvard Berkman Klein Center
Yvonne MacPherson is the U.S. Director of BBC Media Action, the international NGO of the BBC created to use media and communication for development, and an affiliate fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. As US Director she leads the relationship... Read More →



Friday September 6, 2019 9:15am - 9:45am
Academy Hall FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Plenary Talk

9:45am

Short Break
Take a quick break on the way to your 10am session!

Friday September 6, 2019 9:45am - 10:00am
Reception Area FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC

10:00am

Building Bridges Between Data Scientists and Evaluators: A Review of Trends and Challenges in Recent MERL Tech Conferences
While “Big data” is the everyday currency of data scientists, it often seems like a mystery box to many evaluators. The prospect of new data sources might be exciting, but it can be challenging to understand their place in evaluation. As digital technologies become more firmly fixed in everyday life, big data is increasingly leveraged for decision making and policy decisions but has been relatively little used in monitoring and evaluation.

This trend is shifting, however, and more M&E practitioners are increasingly exploring the use of big data - and many more are curious. This session will review these trends as well as frame a new vision for the future. Drawing on a review of recent MERL Tech conferences, the session will provide an overview of the ways in which the MERL Tech community has used big data in the past few years, and the ways in which data scientists and evaluators are starting to work together. The session will also turn toward promising new ways big data is being used to better evaluate tech and ICT4D programmes, identifying case studies which bring big data principles to life. It will also identify some of the gaps and promising areas that have not yet been explored. Special focus will be made to ethics, privacy and security. In order to responsibly use big data, evaluators must also consider the source of data, ways in which community members could be at risk if big data is used or big data sets are combined in which compromise at-risk populations.

Speakers
avatar for Michael Bamberger

Michael Bamberger

Independent Consultant, Independent Consultant
Michael Bamberger, jmichaelbamberger@gmail.com, Independent Evaluation Consultant. 40 years of experience conducting and teaching development evaluation in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East and Asia. Working for the past few years on the opportunities and challenges for integrating... Read More →
KB

Kecia Bertermann

Director, Learning and Impact, Luminate
Kecia Bertermann leads evaluation and learning at Luminate, part of the Omidyar Network. Kecia is a mixed-methods research and evaluator with a focus on the intersection of digital technologies and systems change. At Luminate, Kecia oversees the monitoring, evaluation and learning... Read More →
avatar for Alexandra Robinson

Alexandra Robinson

Director of Evidence, Learning, and Impact, Moonshot Global
Alexandra (Alex) Robinson, specializes in evaluation, learning, responsible data and technology ethics, with a particular focus on supporting strategies that leverage digital technology and open innovation to address complex development and human rights challenges. She has advised... Read More →


Friday September 6, 2019 10:00am - 11:00am
Academy Hall B FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC

10:00am

Breaking Down the Buzz
This will be a highly participatory session to walk all the buzzwords we're hearing in the field (AI, machine learning, blockchain) and define them in easy-to-understand terms, then build out a series of existing and future use cases for them. Participants are encouraged to bring problems they are trying to solve to talk through whether or not emerging technologies will be an appropriate solution or not.

Speakers
RB

Ritika Bhasker

Senior Data Scientist, DevResults
Ritika Bhasker: ritika@devresults.com Data Scientist, DevResults. Ritika Bhasker is a data scientist with a background in global governance and political science. She's passionate about using data to help identify and solve problems, and build out accessible ways to help others do the same. Prior to joining DevResults... Read More →


Friday September 6, 2019 10:00am - 11:00am
Balcony D FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Discussion, Participatory Session

10:00am

Emerging Technology and MERL - Where Are We Today?
How are you using emergent technology in your practice?  Come and share!  Join a 1 hour session to review some of the latest developments in qualitative and quantitative technology for MERL and how they are being applied and bring your knowledge to the table too.  Some of the topics we’ll want to cover include, machine learning (natural language processing, visual object processing, sentiment analysis) big data, drones, blockchain.  Let’s agree which are the most promising and which are not yet ready for prime time.




Speakers
avatar for Kerry Bruce

Kerry Bruce

Chief Executive Officer, Clear Outcomes
Kerry Bruce, DrPH, is the CEO and founder of of Clear Outcomes, a company that aims to draw on her 25+ years of experience working in the for-profit and non-profit sectors of development and more than 20 years of living in Asia and Africa. Kerry is a recognized global health expert... Read More →
avatar for Joris Vandelanotte

Joris Vandelanotte

Principal Consultant, Clear Outcomes
Dr. Joris Vandelanotte is a Medical Doctor and Specialist in Public Health Medicine with over 25 years’ experience in Sub-Saharan Africa in the fields of public health, health systems strengthening, primary health care, monitoring and evaluation, and operational research. Joris... Read More →
avatar for Valentine Gandhi

Valentine Gandhi

Principal Consultant, NIRAS Data Futures Hub
Dr Valentine (Val) Joseph Gandhi is an Implementation Scientist, Development Economist, Policy Advisor, Poverty and Livelihood Impact Evaluation Specialist, ICT4D and Knowledge Manager, currently based between Jakarta and Nairobi, with over 18 years of interdisciplinary, quantitative... Read More →


Friday September 6, 2019 10:00am - 11:00am
Academy Hall C FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC

10:00am

Engaging for responsible change in a connected world: Good practices for measuring SBCC impact
As more and more people across the globe access mobile phones and the Internet, Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) are becoming increasingly digitized. New digital tools are expanding ecosystem- and transmedia-based approaches to offer deeper, more holistic and effective ways of engaging audiences. Join us for an in-depth discussion about how digital advances are changing evaluation approaches to SBCC and what practices are being trialed and adopted in the creation of responsible digital SBCC programs.

Materials:
Digital SBCC Report (March 2019) written by Linda Raftree for iMedia Associates and The Gates Foundation

Speakers
avatar for Yvonne MacPherson

Yvonne MacPherson

U.S. Director / Affiliate Fellow, BBC Media Action / Harvard Berkman Klein Center
Yvonne MacPherson is the U.S. Director of BBC Media Action, the international NGO of the BBC created to use media and communication for development, and an affiliate fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. As US Director she leads the relationship... Read More →
avatar for Khwezi Magwaza

Khwezi Magwaza

Editorial Consultant, Independent
Khwezi is a digital creative from Johannesburg South Africa, now based in New York. As a writer and digital, radio and television producer she has worked with Primedia Broadcasting, Africa.com, BET News, Ebony.com and Essence.com. Most recently she was the content lead at Girl Effect... Read More →
avatar for Linda Raftree

Linda Raftree

Organizer & Independent Consultant, MERL Tech
Linda Raftree supports strategy, program design, research, and technology in international development initiatives. She co-founded MERLTech in 2014 and also works as an independent consultant. Linda advises Girl Effect on digital safety, security and privacy and supports the organization... Read More →


Friday September 6, 2019 10:00am - 11:00am
Angle FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC

10:00am

Messaging Platforms: Best Practices, Costs, Security and Privacy
This session is for people who want to learn how messaging platforms are being used for development/relief work, lessons learned and related issues. By 2019, an estimated 3.9 billion people will be using messaging apps (Activate & WSJ Tech). NGOs and the development community have already begun to embrace the opportunity afforded by these platforms to reach more people and track progress and success of their programs. This panel will discuss best practices, the costs of using messaging platforms and enterprise integration, and related privacy and security considerations. The panel discussion will be followed by Q&A at the end.

Speakers
avatar for Maurice Sayinzoga

Maurice Sayinzoga

Manager, Insights & Impact, Digital Impact Alliance
Maurice Sayinzoga works as the Manager, Insights & Impact at Digital Impact Alliance.
avatar for Boris Maguire

Boris Maguire

CEO, Echo Mobile
Boris Maguire is the CEO of Echo Mobile, which develops the Echo platform—one of few software-as-a-service tools built in Africa, for Africa. Over 300 organizations have used the Echo platform to engage, influence and understand the markets and communities they serve through intelligent... Read More →
avatar for Christoph Pimmer

Christoph Pimmer

Learning Across Frontiers
I’m a researcher, lecturer and advisor in the field of digital global learning, collaboration and knowledge management in work-related- and post-16 education contexts. I’ve earned my PhD from the University of Zürich and I’ve acted as a visiting scholar at the UCL Institut... Read More →
CC

Charles Copley

Head of Data Science, Praekelt.org
Dr. Charles Copley, Head of Data Science, Praekelt.Org. has a background in astrophysics and a special interest in data science for social good. After completing his DPhil. in Astrophysics at the University of Oxford he worked for the Square Kilometre Array in South Africa, leading... Read More →


Friday September 6, 2019 10:00am - 11:00am
Balcony E FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC

10:00am

Practical Artificial Intelligence: The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Real-World Machine Learning Experiments
'Artificial Intelligence’ is the buzzword for 2019, and lucky for us, we now have guidance from USAID on how to use it and machine learning in international development. We are also getting results from early experiments in applying machine learning techniques to actual government data from a developing world health systems.

In this session, participants will learn about two new reports from USAID on the use of AI and ML in development programs. Participants will also learn about the voyage of discovery that starts with getting access to messy data sets, transitions through several iterations of data cleaning and refinement, and arrives at realistic machine learning activities can then take place. Most importantly, we'll look at what machine learning experiments can (and cannot) reveal.

You'll come away with knowing what is (and isn't) possible with machine learning approaches in real-world settings and how you can keep your stakeholders grounded in what to expect when attempting artificial intelligence programs in international development.

Speakers
avatar for Wayan Vota

Wayan Vota

Digital Health Director, IntraHealth International
Wayan Vota is a co-founder of MERL Tech and Kurante. He is on the forefront of utilizing new and emerging technologies to magnify the intent of communities to accelerate their social and economic development. Wayan is currently the Director of Digital Health at IntraHealth International... Read More →
avatar for Amy Finnegan

Amy Finnegan

Data Scientist, IntraHealth International
Amy Finnegan, PhD, recently joined IntraHealth International as a Senior Data Scientist after several years at Duke University's Global Health Institute (DGHI) working at the intersection of data science and international population health and development. Ask her about all data big... Read More →
avatar for Adele Waugaman

Adele Waugaman

Senior Advisor, Digital Health, USAID
Adele Waugaman is Senior Advisor, Digital Health, at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). An affiliated expert and former fellow at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, she is also a frequent commentator on technology and development trends, having appeared in news... Read More →


Friday September 6, 2019 10:00am - 11:00am
Vista FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC

10:00am

Ethics and Unintended Consequences of Digital Programs and Digital MERL
Data can be helpful in implementing better quality projects, however it can come with some dark unintended consequences, creating new or increasing vulnerabilities, and doing harm. A panel of technologists and evaluators will discuss the ethical implications of ICT-enabled MERL, and the risks of (and actual) unintended consequences. For example, the burgeoning use of digital surveillance is taking place, but our current global laws do not protect against demographically/community identifiable information. And where organisations and processes are going digital, how often is aid being traded for data? Where data and technology should protect, they can lead to increasing vulnerability. How will we be sure we're changing things for the better instead of reinforcing existing biases and inequalities? The panel will touch on some aspects of digital literacy and rights which can help combat these unintended consequences.

This will be a panel discussion session with dedicated time for Q&A at the end, but we also encourage debate during! Participants will come away from the discussion with greater confidence to tackle some of the most challenging ethical considerations of technology that we face.

Speakers
avatar for Jo Kaybryn

Jo Kaybryn

Senior Leader, IOD PARC
Jo Kaybryn directs technical assistance to UN agencies, governments, development partners, and NGOs. She work's in evaluation, research and mainstreaming approaches across health, gender and economic development sectors. She specializes in evaluation quality assurance systems, ethical... Read More →
R

Ritse

Researcher, University of Manchester
avatar for Amos Doornbos

Amos Doornbos

Disaster Management Systems Director, World Vision International
Amos Doornbos is the Disaster Management Strategy & Systems Director for World Vision International and a member of the Identity for All Council, the Guardianship working group, and the global policy working group of the Sovrin Foundation. He has lead the turnaround of last mile digital... Read More →
MP

Melissa Persaud

Director of New Business - Global Development, Fraym
Melissa Persaud, Director of New Business - Global Development at Fraym is an ICT4D enthusiast with experience in mobile data collection, mobile messaging, and data analytics.


Friday September 6, 2019 10:00am - 11:00am
Academy Hall A FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC

11:00am

Long Break
Enjoy a nice long break and chat with folks you've been wanting to meet.

Friday September 6, 2019 11:00am - 11:30am
Reception Area FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Networking

11:30am

Decolonizing Data and Technology in MERL
Speakers
avatar for Silvia Salinas

Silvia Salinas

Co-founder & Strategic Director, RELAC
Bolivian anthropologist, with a specialization in Andean Studies and a Master's degree in Public Administration. 29 years of experience as senior consultant and evaluator. Recognized for her systemic and creative approaches to key poverty, development and exclusion topics. Advocator... Read More →
avatar for Adeline Sibanda

Adeline Sibanda

Managing Consultant, South to South Evaluation Partnership
Adeline Sibanda is the Founder and Managing Director of ADESIM Developments (formerly Troparg Consultancy Services). Adeline has 27 years’ experience in strategy, program design, planning, monitoring and evaluation, research, gender and development. She is passionate about professional... Read More →
avatar for Veronica Olazabal

Veronica Olazabal

Director of Measurement, Evaluation and Organizational Performance, The Rockefeller Foundation
Veronica Olazabal, Director of Measurement, Evaluation and Organizational Performance at The Rockefeller Foundation is an award-winning data and analytics enthusiast with a professional portfolio ranging +15 years, four continents and numerous domestic and international agencies including... Read More →


Friday September 6, 2019 11:30am - 12:30pm
Academy Hall FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Plenary Panel

12:30pm

Network Nodes That Fit Your Data Style
I will show how we used already existing data in a relational database to generate social network analysis visuals. Participants will garner an understanding of key social network analysis calculations, and how they can be useful for adaptive project management and decision making, in the development context. Examples will be given for 3 or more existing projects.

Speakers
JH

Jennifer Himmelstein

Director of Corporate Analysis, ACDI/VOCA
Dr. Jennifer Himmelstein is the Director of Corporate Analysis & Technical Assurance at ACDI/VOCA, an international development non-profit. Jennifer performs cross-cutting organizational analysis for ACDI/VOCA, conducts specialized evaluation studies and provides monitoring and evaluation... Read More →


Friday September 6, 2019 12:30pm - 12:35pm
Academy Hall FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Plenary Talk

12:35pm

Understanding How DFID Makes Decisions: The Role of Portfolio-Level MERL
How can DFID ensure its resources are being used effectively – to “do the right things in the right places?” What role does data play in doing so? Can portfolio-level (sector/country) analysis of data provide greater input into how decisions are actually made, and how success is truly measured?

This lightning talk will present major takeaways and lessons learned from the first DFID-wide data use landscape assessment – in-depth interviews with 60 DFID staff across four country offices, all sector teams, and senior management – with an aim to understanding the role data plays in supporting key DFID decisions.

This work represents a fresh, context-aware, and portfolio-level approach to MERL Tech.

As DFID and other agencies aim to harness the potential of data, we at DG are thinking through what the “missing middle” of portfolio-level analysis means for the future of MERL – and what data, tools, and approaches can fill this gap.

Beyond DFID, many agencies are grappling with the same challenges. We’re doing similar work with GAC, UNICEF, SDC, SIDA, and other agencies -- aiming to shift from aggregations and apples-to-oranges project comparisons, to using portfolio-level decisions to drive how agencies think about, measure, and deliver impact.

This lightning talk will build audience understanding of what focus on country- and sector-level data means for MERL Tech – and provide practical tools to use that data.

(See: https://www.developmentgateway.org/blog/understanding-how-dfid-makes-decisions-landscape-report-role-data)

Speakers
avatar for Sarah Orton-Vipond

Sarah Orton-Vipond

Manager, Business Development & Partnerships, Development Gateway
Sarah leads business development and strategic partnerships at DG. She focuses on promoting efficiency, effectiveness, and impact through data and technology use. Sarah supports DG's Results Data Initiative development agency programming, focusing on promoting tools, skills, and incentives... Read More →


Friday September 6, 2019 12:35pm - 12:40pm
Academy Hall FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Plenary Talk

12:40pm

How to Measure Local Ownership within Development Projects
How do we measure local ownership of development projects? Root Change and Keystone Accountability set out to answer this question as part of an action research grant from USAID Local Works. The Localization Learning System (LLS) was developed to help organizations track progress of their programs and interventions towards local ownership. The heart of the LLS is a web-based platform called Pando that collects social network analysis and qualitative feedback data to inform a set of localization metrics in real time. The LLS measures development activities across four dimensions: Leadership, Connectivity, Mutuality, and Financing. Network maps and regular feedback surveys help project actors and local partners visualize, learn from, and engage with the local systems where they work, identify interventions to test, and track progress across the four dimensions of local ownership.

Speakers
RD

Rachel Dickinson

Technical Officer for Research and Learning, Root Change
Rachel Dickinson works with Root Change’s team to create effective monitoring, evaluation, research and learning processes. She is responsible for data analysis endeavors, as well as coding and programming support for Root Change’s online network visualization and feedback tool... Read More →


Friday September 6, 2019 12:40pm - 12:45pm
Academy Hall FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Plenary Talk

12:45pm

Lessons from 'Aqoonta': Delivering a Digital Third-Party Monitoring Platform
In this talk, we will present Integrity's work to implement ‘Aqoonta’, a web-based platform for DFID’s Learning and Monitoring Program – Somalia (LAMPS, 2016-2020). The LAMPS program verifies DFID Somalia’s Governance, Health, and Economic Development portfolios to improve DFID’s understanding of how the activities it funds are performing, the challenges faced, and ways to identify, mitigate and learn from risks affecting programming. Integrity and partners developed Aqoonta (Somali for “knowledge”) – as a space where DFID and partners interact with concise, visual LAMPS reports, photographs, management dashboards and learning resources. Aqoonta is a vehicle through which DFID and its implementing partners can learn from and improve their delivery. This talk will outline lessons learned through all stages of Aqoonta’s life, challenges during the process. Participants will gain an understanding of how even in challenging contexts such as Somalia, digital solutions can support efficient processes in monitoring, evaluation, and learning provided they follow an agile methodology and are grounded in a strong understanding of users, context, and needs.

Speakers
GL

Giselle Lopez

Senior Data and Knowledge Manager, Integrity
Giselle Lopez is a Senior Data and Knowledge Manager at Integrity based in Washington, DC. In this role, Giselle designs and delivers digital solutions for research, monitoring, evaluation, learning, and project implementation. Giselle also promotes Integrity’s work in digital development... Read More →
WL

Will Lowrie

Senior Data & Knowledge Manager, Integrity
Will Lowrie is a Senior Data & Knowledge Manager at Integrity. Since 2013 he has worked to deliver Data and Knowledge Management services to donors, NGOs and the private sector, and designed Integrity’s Digital Development Methodology. Will blends technology, process design and... Read More →


Friday September 6, 2019 12:45pm - 12:50pm
Academy Hall FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Plenary Talk

12:50pm

Machine Learning to Measure Impact with Remotely Sensed Imagery and Vector Data
In this session we will introduce 2 case studies for how organizations are using raster and vector data to monitor the impact of their programs. The talk is meant to alert attendees to the potential for leveraging machine learning algorithms to provide new insights and inspire them to think of ways to apply these data sources and methods to their own work.

Speakers
avatar for Alberto Nieto

Alberto Nieto

Solution Engineer, Esri
Alberto Nieto is a geographer, python developer, and spatial analyst who helps GIS users find innovative solutions to important spatial problems.Prior to joining Esri, Alberto accumulated nearly a decade of experience that includes working at the Census Bureau, NOAA’s Office of... Read More →


Friday September 6, 2019 12:50pm - 12:55pm
Academy Hall FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Plenary Talk

12:55pm

Stories from Our Litter
Waste Management is a challenge globally, in African cities littering is proving to be a menace . #Nailitter seeks to solve this through a mix of artistic data visualisation and data science. Making art based experiences that inform city dwellers of their littering patterns, habits and effects on environment then enabling the public to respond to these art works and interact with the process of creation of new iterations on these pieces based on the new data is desired. We are creating a marketplace for citizens photojournalist who are making a better world through citizen action, good deeds are rewarded. #Nailitter seek to raise the state of sanitation in the city by creating a network of independent contractible litter reporters.

Speakers
avatar for Wekesa Zablon

Wekesa Zablon

Regional Coordinator, African Circular Economy Network (ACEN)
Wekesa Zablon is a Regional Coordinator for the African Circular Economy Network (ACEN), an organiser for OpenIDEO Nairobi Chapter and a Founder of the UON Bikeshare (bikeshare.c4dlab.ac.ke) program. He holds a Bachelors of Arts and Design degree from University of Nairobi (2011).“Wekesa... Read More →


Friday September 6, 2019 12:55pm - 1:00pm
Academy Hall FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Plenary Talk

1:00pm

Lunch
Grab a lunch and visit demo tables or join us for the ICT4EVAL Book Launch in the Vista room!

Friday September 6, 2019 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Reception Area FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Networking

2:00pm

The Role of Tech in the Organizational Journey to Better Data Management and Use
Many international NGOs are trying to become data-driven and increasingly see technology as the solution to bridging the disconnect between strategy, program delivery, and impact. But what is the actual role of technology in what is a multi-faceted journey of organizational change?

In this session, we will explore how two international NGOs, Orbis International and Oxfam GB, have used technology to support and even spur broader MERL changes in their organizations. We will discuss the human and institutional realities that limit possibilities and provide opportunities--and that invariably make such endeavors challenging, turbulent, and prone to failure. We will also examine the contrasting approaches taken by these NGOs to solve similar organization-wide problems at the nexus of technology, data, and MERL. In addition, we will draw upon the experience of Salesforce.org to distill some best practices in organizational data management.

Orbis International is an international blindness prevention NGO with a flying eye hospital and 40+ long-term projects, with hospital partners in 18 countries. Over the last two years, Orbis partnered with Synergy International Systems, the provider of the Indicata M&E platform, to develop its global M&E system. We will present: (1) our experience of leveraging the implementation of Indicata to change widespread organizational habits and dysfunctions and to improve core organizational processes around MERL; (2) how, after the system went live, we charged M&E managers with correlating outputs with outcomes to demonstrate global impact, (3) the current state of our digitally enabled approach to impact measurement.

Oxfam GB, a humanitarian, development and campaigning organization operating in over 80 countries, will present the learning from the Your Word Counts feedback and accountability project. This is a multi-country innovation project that uses SurveyCTO for mobile case management, our DataHub for data management, and PowerBI for analysis--all with a focus on collecting, managing, and responding to feedback from communities. A brief overview of the project will give participants a flavor of the combination of technology versus methodology. A core component of this project has been to look beyond technology to bigger issues of innovation, organizational culture, responsible data, and privacy by design. From one country in 2016 to ten at present, and with a plan and a budget to scale globally, we will share how we are doing and the challenges we still need to overcome.

This session will also include a breakout into small groups so that participants can share experiences and exchange perspectives. Participants will come away with a nuanced understanding of how they can leverage technology initiatives to bring about deeper MERL changes in their organizations.

Speakers
avatar for Richard Tighe

Richard Tighe

Global Advisor - ICT in Programmes, Oxfam GB
Ric Tighe works as a Global Advisor within Oxfam GB’s ICT in Programmes team. He leads on Oxfam’s use of digital beneficiary registrations and distribution tracking in humanitarian programmes (including e-vouchers & cash distributions) and is involved with a number of Digital... Read More →
AL

Arlene Lozano

Director of Monitoring & Evaluation, Orbis International
Arlene Lozano has over 15 years of experience in program management and operations for domestic and international organizations. She has cross-sectoral experience in performance improvement, process redesign, project management, coaching, capacity building, research, monitoring and... Read More →
avatar for Arshak Hovanesian

Arshak Hovanesian

Director of Business Development, Synergy International Systems
Arshak Hovanesian is a Director of Business Development at Synergy International Systems, a global software company and the provider of the Indicata monitoring and evaluation platform. Throughout his decade-long career at Synergy, he has been the architect of numerous strategic deals... Read More →
avatar for Eric Barela

Eric Barela

Director, Measurement & Evaluation, Salesforce.org
Eric Barela is currently the Measurement & Evaluation Senior Manager with Salesforce.org, where he leads efforts to evaluate the impact of its global philanthropic efforts.  Prior to joining Salesforce.org, Eric was the Chief Knowledge & Impact Officer at Partners in School Innovation... Read More →


Friday September 6, 2019 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Academy Hall A FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC

2:00pm

Visualizing Your Network for Adaptive Program Decision Making
Social network analysis (SNA) is a powerful tool for understanding the networks of organizations and institutions in which your development work is embedded. It can be used to create interventions that are responsive to local needs and to measure systems change over time. But, what does SNA really look like in practice? This hands-on session will give participants the chance to experience SNA for themselves and to learn how to integrate the approach into development work.

To kick things off, we will share examples from ACDI/VOCA and Root Change programs, highlighting diverse SNA software, data collection methodologies, and analysis metrics. In groups, participants will use a framework to explore the application of this approach and develop key SNA learning questions. Groups will also have the opportunity to interpret SNA visuals, walking away with key SNA skills.

Speakers
JH

Jennifer Himmelstein

Director of Corporate Analysis, ACDI/VOCA
Dr. Jennifer Himmelstein is the Director of Corporate Analysis & Technical Assurance at ACDI/VOCA, an international development non-profit. Jennifer performs cross-cutting organizational analysis for ACDI/VOCA, conducts specialized evaluation studies and provides monitoring and evaluation... Read More →
RD

Rachel Dickinson

Technical Officer for Research and Learning, Root Change
Rachel Dickinson works with Root Change’s team to create effective monitoring, evaluation, research and learning processes. She is responsible for data analysis endeavors, as well as coding and programming support for Root Change’s online network visualization and feedback tool... Read More →
avatar for Alexis Banks

Alexis Banks

Technical Officer, Root Change
Alexis Banks works with our global partners to share learning and advocate for alternative approaches to development. She pioneered Root Change's “Thinking and Working in Systems” blended learning course and supports the development of our online social network analysis and feedback... Read More →


Friday September 6, 2019 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Balcony E FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC

2:00pm

Ethics of Data: A Benefit/Risk Assessment Framework
This session is aimed at people who are involved in collecting and using potentially sensitive data - program staff, technical experts, AND IT staff. This session provides a simple approach to discussing the potential for benefits and risks associated with data - by different groups - and a common framework for discussing how to improve benefits to different groups as well as mitigate risks. This approach is useful for teams to engage in early in program design, to help identify areas where there may be tensions between privacy protection and data integrity, data security and transparency, and other factors. It is a good process to engage in before the development of an IRB and/or Privacy Impact Assessment, as it helps bring out potential benefits and risks in a multi-functional setting.

Speakers
avatar for Siobhan Green

Siobhan Green

CEO, Sonjara
Siobhan Green is co-founder of Sonjara, an ICT4D firm specializing in technology evaluations, assessments, and building data rich applications for the NGO and international development community. She was the lead investigator for the USAID Global Development Lab Responsible Data Guidelines... Read More →


Friday September 6, 2019 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Angle FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC

2:00pm

From Words To Wisdom: Everyday Tools to Visualize Qualitative Data
This session had the most "favorite session" votes in MERLTech 2018. Don't miss it!

Bring your laptop to this session to get the most from it.


As MERL practitioners seeking to understand and learn from the impact of our work, we’re increasingly flooded with quantitative and qualitative information. While an abundance of free, versatile, online tools exist for quantitative data visualization and analysis, the same can’t be said for qualitative tools.

This two-hour workshop is comprised of two sections. The first will expose participants to tools like MonkeyLearn, OverviewDocs, and DataBasic that help us make sense of qualitative information using things like collaborative coding or semantic analysis. In the second section, with the help of a sample qualitative dataset that’s relevant to the global development context, participants will make sense of that qualitative dataset using one of the qualitative tools to present key insights to the group. If time permits, we'll introduce one data visualization tool to help participants depict those insights!

Speakers
avatar for Samhir Vasdev

Samhir Vasdev

Digital Development Adviser, IREX
Samhir Vasdev is the Technical Adviser for Digital Development at IREX, a global development and education organization. There, Samhir drives the organization’s efforts to foster better use of data to inform decisions, learning, and action within IREX and its programs. For example... Read More →


Friday September 6, 2019 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Vista FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC

2:00pm

Moving from Pretty Pictures to Data Informed Decisions with GIS
Maps and charts are more than a pretty picture! Location is an essential component of your project life cycle!!!!

You don’t have to be a data geek to use GIS to better measure your impact against your goals, and engage with your stakeholders.

During this session, you will learn from your peers about opportunities to apply and expand the use of GIS in your projects, through success stories and lessons learned.

This will help you lay out a roadmap for how you can best leverage the use of GIS to support MERL.

Speakers
avatar for Eric Lovell

Eric Lovell

Account Manager, Esri
Eric Lovell is a member of the Nonprofit & Global Organizations team at Esri. He is based in Washington D.C. and primarily supports humanitarian organizations and policy centers with geospatial solutions. Prior to joining Esri, Eric completed his Ph.D. in Geography at the University... Read More →
avatar for Hillary Eason

Hillary Eason

Knowledge, Information, and Technology Manager, Chemonics International
Hillary LP Eason is an ICT4D and innovation specialist with nearly a decade of experience supporting effective and impactful integration of technology and human-centered design across the public and private sectors. She currently serves as a manager with the Knowledge, Innovation... Read More →
avatar for Martijn Marijnis

Martijn Marijnis

PMEL advisor, ICCO
Mobile data gathering, GIS, spatial analytics
MP

Melissa Persaud

Director of New Business - Global Development, Fraym
Melissa Persaud, Director of New Business - Global Development at Fraym is an ICT4D enthusiast with experience in mobile data collection, mobile messaging, and data analytics.
MH

Marianne Henry

Assistant Project Officer, MCDI
Ms. Marianne Henry, MPH is a public health professional engaged in program development, monitoring, and evaluation with Medical Care Development International (MCDI). Ms. Henry currently supports a vector control portfolio in Zika and malaria that spans several countries in Central... Read More →


Friday September 6, 2019 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Academy Hall C FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type 2 Hours Session on Lessons Learned and Best Practices

2:00pm

The Secret Life of Dashboards: How to Transform Your Data into Dashboards That Can Promote Data-Driven Decision-Making
PREP WORK
If you are attending this session please prepare your computers before this session and ensure you have the following applications installed:

Tableau (free trial)
Power BI (free)
Google Account

Data
Click here to to download the data that will be used during this session.


MERL practitioners live in a world of an over-abundance of information and are expected to be knowledge brokers between data producers and data consumers. This two-hour hands-on workshop will give participants the ability to walk through the data lifecycle and build informative dashboards using readily-available tools that turn information into insights in order to drive data-driven decision-making.
In this hands-on workshop, facilitators will walk through each phase of the data lifecycle and demonstrate tools, techniques, best practices, and lessons learned working with NGOs, federal government clients, and local organizations.

By the end of the session, participants will be able to plan for data collection, collect data, analyze data, and distill and disseminate findings through an interactive or static dashboard. Participants will be able to describe and use readily-available tools including (but not limited to): Excel, Power BI, QGIS, Tableau, and GitHub.

Participants are expected to bring their own computers and follow along with the facilitators. Participants will also be asked to present their dashboard and describe their experience using the tools.

Speakers
MP

Megan Philbin

Director, Guidehouse
Megan Philbin is a Director at Guidehouse with more than a decade of experience in leading, coordinating, and delivering utilization-focused evaluations and assessments for a variety of United States government agencies and other public and private sector clients. She currently leads... Read More →
SD

Suzannah Dunbar

Senior Associate Consultant, Guidehouse
Suzannah Dunbar is a Senior Associate Consultant with more than five years of experience supporting the United States government in creating, implementing, and improving monitoring and evaluation strategies. Currently, Ms. Dunbar supports multiple engagements with the Department of... Read More →
TT

Tony Tseng

MERL Tech Officer, Project Concern International
Tony Tseng is the Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL) Technology Officer at Project Concern International (PCI). He currently supports PCI’s use of mobile technology in monitoring and evaluation and is actively involved in the deployment of technology across the... Read More →


Friday September 6, 2019 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Academy Hall B FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC

2:00pm

Collecting Data in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings: Approaches, Principles, and Tools
This workshop will be led by Integrity Global, an international consultancy and service provider working to support evidence-based programming in challenging and complex environments, and Dobility, the company behind SurveyCTO, a platform for field-based digital data collection. Participants will gain hands-on skills and learning in data collection for international development programming in conflict-affected environments. They will also contribute to a set of principles for organizations conducting data collection in such environments. During the session, presenters will demonstrate relevant approaches, tools, and considerations for data collection with a focus on fragile and conflict-affected settings. They will then lead participants in an interactive role-playing activity to illustrate the journey of information from the point of data collection through to how it is analyzed and reported, and the decisions along the way that impact the accuracy of the data itself. The learning objective of the session is to provide hands-on examples of data collection challenges and the effects of methodological or operational decisions on the ultimate quality of data collection in such environments. This is a highly participatory session and participants will be encouraged to draw from their own experience, knowledge, and skillsets to contribute to the discussion and to developing a set of principles for data collection in conflict-affected environments.

Speakers
WL

Will Lowrie

Senior Data & Knowledge Manager, Integrity
Will Lowrie is a Senior Data & Knowledge Manager at Integrity. Since 2013 he has worked to deliver Data and Knowledge Management services to donors, NGOs and the private sector, and designed Integrity’s Digital Development Methodology. Will blends technology, process design and... Read More →
GL

Giselle Lopez

Senior Data and Knowledge Manager, Integrity
Giselle Lopez is a Senior Data and Knowledge Manager at Integrity based in Washington, DC. In this role, Giselle designs and delivers digital solutions for research, monitoring, evaluation, learning, and project implementation. Giselle also promotes Integrity’s work in digital development... Read More →
KR

Kathryn Rzeszut

Senior Expert - MEL, Integrity Global
Kathryn Rzeszut is a Senior Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning (MEL) Expert in Integrity's Washington, DC office. She plays a vital role in the design and delivery of Integrity’s portfolio in Africa, the Middle East, and South-East Asia. A conflict specialist, she came to Integrity... Read More →
avatar for Christopher Robert

Christopher Robert

Founder and CEO, Dobility I SurveyCTO
Dr. Christopher Robert is a technologist, an entrepreneur, an economist, a researcher, and a lecturer. As a technologist and entrepreneur, he: founded Dobility, Inc., which produces SurveyCTO, an electronic data collection platform used worldwide by leading researchers and evaluation... Read More →
avatar for Lindo Simelane

Lindo Simelane

Growth and Marketing Associate, Dobility, Inc. | SurveyCTO
I have a passion for international development and research. I am always looking for opportunities to learn about innovative approaches to research and data collection in the international development and the ICT4D & Tech4dev space.


Friday September 6, 2019 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Balcony D FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Workshop

4:00pm

Long Break
Take a quick break before the Lightning Talks begin!

Friday September 6, 2019 4:00pm - 4:30pm
Reception Area FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Networking

4:30pm

Rights, Literacy, Control and Choice
As organisations become more digital and use more digital tools to interact with the world's most vulnerable, we need to ensure we are keeping the rights and literacy (linguistic and digital) of those with whom we work at the forefront of our thinking. Those with whom we work are not homogenous groups; rather literacy rates vary as does an understanding of their rights. For many vulnerable people, there is a significant need for aid and due to their life experiences, they will trade their data for it without thinking and without an understanding that they have any options. As we build our digital capabilities, we need to consider how we can enable control and choice for the vulnerable in ways they understand, are appropriate, and are empowering.

Speakers
avatar for Amos Doornbos

Amos Doornbos

Disaster Management Systems Director, World Vision International
Amos Doornbos is the Disaster Management Strategy & Systems Director for World Vision International and a member of the Identity for All Council, the Guardianship working group, and the global policy working group of the Sovrin Foundation. He has lead the turnaround of last mile digital... Read More →


Friday September 6, 2019 4:30pm - 4:35pm
Academy Hall FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Plenary Talk

4:35pm

Turning Data into Meaningful Information
Not only is the use of mobile devices pivotal in collecting real-time information but it further generates data and translates raw input into meaningful information. By building backend logic and calculations to automatically determine eligibility for a girls' HIV support group based on the girls' answers, this pre-programed algorithm allowed data collectors to rapidly administer the tool and immediately receive results: a popup with the girl’s eligibility and instructions appeared. The screening tool was rapidly deployed with great success. With mobile devices, the use of open source software, and an strong digital ecosystem our "smart" eligibility screening tool is extremely effective and efficient.

Speakers
BO

Bolanle Olapeju

Research and Evaluation Officer, Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs
Bolanle Olapeju is a dynamic leader and certified public health expert with multiple advanced degrees and over ten years’ experience in the public health sector. Background in public health clinical practice. Robust experience in the Sub-Saharan African health context. Social and... Read More →


Friday September 6, 2019 4:35pm - 4:40pm
Academy Hall FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Plenary Talk

4:40pm

Let's talk about a MERL Open Source Marketplace
GitHub is the world's largest host of the open source ecosystem - from software, to data, to frameworks, to methodologies and beyond. Despite the importance of open source to the MERL community, overall adoption is not as high as it could be. As a result, too much MERL data is gathering dust in insecure spreadsheets, impossible to use cross-platform, or stuck in proprietary software with no way out.

Our research shows one of the biggest challenges to increasing adoption among most non-techy communities is they simply don’t have a central place to “buy” or even browse open source tools in an intuitive manner. In this lightning talk, Mala will present GitHub’s MERL Tech marketplace idea to take on that challenge and help the MERL tech community find open source solutions to do their work better.

Speakers
avatar for Mala Kumar

Mala Kumar

Program Manager, Open Source for Good, GitHub
Come talk to me about the GitHub MERL Tech repository we're creating to help the MERL community access open source products to help them do their work better!


Friday September 6, 2019 4:40pm - 4:45pm
Academy Hall FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Plenary Talk

4:45pm

A Blockchain Success Story: Global Food Safety
Just a couple of years ago, the Walmart VP of Food Safety dropped a package of mangos on a conference room table and asked the crowded room to tell him where it was from. It took them 10 days. Two years later, it takes as little as two seconds. How did the company do it?
 
They worked with IBM and their entire supply chain of partners and vendors to create the Food Trust, a global end-end-end blockchain built on the open source Hyperledger Fabric, creating one of the most successful private blockchain implementations to date, which doesn't just work for Walmart, but an entire global network of partners and even competitors.
 
In this lightning talk, IBM's Matt Nelson will offer a glimpse of IBM Food Trust and demonstrate how blockchain is delivering tangible value for the entire food ecosystem.

Speakers
MN

Matt Nelson

Consultant, IBM Global Business Services, IBM
Matt Nelson is a Blockchain Consultant in IBM Global Business Services focused on the Public Service Industry.  Mr. Nelson has spent his career diving into the world of Blockchain, serving in a leadership role in developing Blockchain applications. As a part of IBM’s Public Service... Read More →


Friday September 6, 2019 4:45pm - 4:50pm
Academy Hall FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Plenary Talk

4:50pm

Why MERL Needs Shared Knowledge Infrastructure -- And What It Can Learn from Open Science
This lightning talk is for people who are interested in developing a vision for the future of MERL based on new open science approaches and innovations in scholarly publishing. While the context of academic research is different, the challenges facing MERL are the same - of producing rigorously developed findings, but also findings that can be shared and built upon.

The “reproducibility crisis” is the most recent challenge for the academic community, but this community is in a constant state of renewal and development. Recent innovations include expanding pre-prints (ArXiv), documenting methodologies (Protocols.io), improving identifiers (ORCID, CrossRef Funder Registry), and ensuring that evaluations are findable and accessible (Digital Object Identifiers, Open Access).

Speakers
avatar for Michael Lenczner

Michael Lenczner

Director, Powered by Data
Michael Lenczner is the founder and CEO of Ajah (www.ajah.ca), a company that offers online fundraising solutions for the Canadian nonprofit sector. He also leads Powered by Data (www.poweredbydata.org), a nonprofit initiative launched by the company which is now hosted on the Tides... Read More →


Friday September 6, 2019 4:50pm - 4:55pm
Academy Hall FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Plenary Talk

4:55pm

The Face of a Fairer Future
In this session, we will be thinking about the following questions:
What are the benefits and risks of using facial biometrics for identification and what are their implications? How do we address gender, racial and other biases when it comes to facial recognition systems and the datasets used for their training? How can we guarantee fairness in a transparent fashion? What are the ways in which we can hold ourselves to the highest possible standards when it comes to privacy and consent? And how do these governing philosophies shape into business policies?

Context:
Digital identification systems that use biometric characteristics are transforming the efficiency and scalability of programs, by being used to verify last-mile delivery, tackle fraud, and vastly increase the power of monitoring and evaluation in development. With the boom of AI, facial recognition systems offer a non-invasive, contactless method of identification, but great efforts need to be taken to ensure that this is done in a fair and ethical manner. Due to the homogeneous, predominantly white-male nature of facial datasets, systems have been shown to struggle with successfully enrolling dark-skinned faces, and have a much higher accuracy when it comes to light-skinned faces. Models that have correctly identified the gender of men have had lower accuracies on women. Such striking racial and gender biases mean that marginalised groups will suffer harmful consequences and inequalities shall amplify unless we take measures now. Identity and human dignity ought to be respected and valued fairly.

Speakers
avatar for Anindya Sharma

Anindya Sharma

Data Scientist, Simprints
Anindya Sharma is a data scientist at Simprints, a non-profit startup in Cambridge that aims to transform the way the world fights poverty by building biometrics for identification in developing countries. Originally from India, Anindya completed a Mathematics undergraduate and a Systems Biology postgraduate degree from the University... Read More →


Friday September 6, 2019 4:55pm - 5:00pm
Academy Hall FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Plenary Talk

5:00pm

Closing Session
We'll take a moment to sum up the past few days of MERL Tech.

Speakers
avatar for Linda Raftree

Linda Raftree

Organizer & Independent Consultant, MERL Tech
Linda Raftree supports strategy, program design, research, and technology in international development initiatives. She co-founded MERLTech in 2014 and also works as an independent consultant. Linda advises Girl Effect on digital safety, security and privacy and supports the organization... Read More →
avatar for Maliha Khan

Maliha Khan

Chief Programmes Officer, Malala Fund


Friday September 6, 2019 5:00pm - 5:30pm
Academy Hall FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
  • session type Plenary Talk

5:45pm

Side Event: Happy Hour with DevResults
Join DevResults for a Happy Hour Side Event at Across the Pond!

Speakers
AN

Aasit Nanavati

Director, DevResults
Aasit is passionate about developing strategies that lead to better decision making. Through his diverse experience in international development, he has acquired an appreciation for the power of information in driving social impact. Prior to DevResults, Aasit worked in South-East... Read More →


Friday September 6, 2019 5:45pm - 7:30pm
Across the Pond 1732 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009
  • session type Networking