Jessica Agnew’s $20k CGI-U Challenge

Jessica Agnew is a PhD student in Planning, Governance, and Globalization at Virginia Tech. She is one 1,000 students to attend the prestigious Clinton Global Initiative University conference in Boston this October. Students attending the conference are asked to make commitments to action in five core areas: education, environment and climate change, poverty alleviation, peace and human rights, and public health. Jessica is one of about 100 students who have been invited to present their proposed projects at the CGI U Exchange – an exhibition style networking event on the second day of the conference. She is also one of 50 students who were selected to receive support on the Crowd Rise platform to crowdsource the funds they need to advance their projects.

Jessica’s nutrition education program in Mozambique is called BUY2THRIVE. It will not only educate mothers of young children about good nutrition, but also how to purchase foods that are safe and nutritious. While knowing the right types of foods to eat is important, if mothers don’t know how to adjust food purchases based on changes in income and availability, then nutrition education will have little impact. BUY2THRIVE will also train respected women in the communities to deliver the education to mothers. This will ensure that mothers receive the education from people they trust. It will also help to create changes in the way entire communities think about food. The BUY2THRIVE program will be run in Mozambique, partnering with local organizations to ensure maximum impact.

Jessica is now crowdsourcing the money she needs to launch the beginning stages of BUY2THRIVE in Mozambique. Please consider partnering with her – as a social investor – as she works towards addressing malnutrition in Mozambique.

Posters for “Experience VT” Event

This weekend I will be taking part in the “Experience Virginia Tech: Learn, Explore, Engage” event that was commission by President Sand’s to showcase the university’s impact on the world around us. From 9am to noon tomorrow at the VT Inn, I will be presenting the three posters below that document the research and main findings from an impact evaluation I led of an MCC-funded rural water supply project in Nampula, Mozambique. I plan to capture key moments from the event using Google Glass and will post some images and video to this blog and to my Google+ account during the day.

Poster_1 Poster_2 Poster_3

Making Impact Evaluation Matter

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of attending the Making Impact Evaluation Matter conference in Manila, hosted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), 3ie, and the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS). During the conference, I took part in a WASH Impact Evaluation Design Clinic and gave a presentation on the results of the impact evaluation I directed of the MCC-funded Rural Water Supply Program in Nampula, Mozambique. Whereas the final impact evaluation report was based on all of the data we collected, the results I presented in Manila focused only on the panel data obtained from the baseline (2011) and follow-up (2013) studies. The results from the panel data analysis (shown in the presentation below) align well with those developed from the full data set.


During the conference, Eric Vance spoke about his LISA2020 vision to create 20 statistical consulting laboratories in 20 developing countries by the year 2020. Eric is the Director VT’s Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Statistical Analysis (LISA) that was a key partner in the MCC impact evaluation. For more information on LISA2020 visit the program website.

VT doctoral student Marcos Carzolio also attended the conference and discussed his impact as the field statistician on the quality of data collected during the 2013 follow-up study. Marcos’s talk on Leveraging the Field Statistician to Ensure High Quality Impact Evaluations received the award for “Second Place Best Presentation by a Young Researcher.”

The slideshow below presents a number of images and tweets (#IEmatters) from the conference.

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New Paper in Survey Practice

The Importance of Cleaning Data During Fieldwork: Evidence from Mozambique

Mark Seiss, Eric A. Vance, and Ralph P. Hall

Abstract: In many small-scale surveys with limited resources, data editing is usually conducted by a statistician after data collection has concluded. There are many benefits of including a statistician in the data editing process during the data collection phase of the survey. This paper describes a procedure for survey implementation of small-scale surveys in which the statistician identifies and edits the data as they are collected. We implemented this procedure during a household survey conducted in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, Africa, and detailed data on the editing process was recorded. This article analyzes this data to gain insight into the effects on the collected data. The results of the analysis indicate that the edited data may be of higher quality than data without edits.


MCC Impact Evaluation – Final Report

Nampula_ReportI am pleased to announce the release of the final report of our impact evaluation of the MCC-funded Rural Water Supply Activity (RWSA) in Nampula, Mozambique. This peer-reviewed report provides a comprehensive discussion of the RWSA interventions, our research design, analysis approach, major findings, and the policy implications that emerged from this work.

The report can be downloaded from the MCC’s Open Data portal. This portal also provides access to the main surveying instruments and the raw data collected from the baseline (2011) and follow-up (2013) household surveys.

MCC Webinar: Impact Evaluation of the RWSA in Mozambique

On Thursday, March 27, Dr. Eric Vance and I will be giving an MCC webinar to explain some of the main findings from our impact evaluation of the MCC-funded Rural Water Supply Activity (RWSA) in Nampula, Mozambique. The slides for this webinar can be accessed below.

MCC Webinar

Photo taken through Google Glass just before the start of the MCC webinar



RWSA Impact Evaluation Presentation

IMG_1257On February 7, I was joined by colleagues from Virginia Tech and Stanford University to present the results from our impact evaluation of the Millennium Challenge Corporation-funded Rural Water Supply Activity (RWSA) in Mozambique at the MCC’s 2014 Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) and Economic Analysis (EA) College. The M&E/AE College was attended by monitoring and evaluation and economic analysis experts from many of the countries with which the MCC has an active Compact.

The presentation was recorded using Adobe Connect and can be accessed by clicking on the image below. The final impact evaluation report will be available in the coming weeks via the MCC’s Independent Evaluations Catalog.


Update from the Field

I started writing this post a week ago while flying from Maputo to Nampula in Mozambique, but the usual challenges of setting up a large-scale research project delayed my intentions. One challenge is finding/installing a good Internet connection, which we overcame by purchasing a number of Movitel USB modems that are working surprisingly well.

I’m in Nampula with a team of researchers from Virginia Tech (Eric Vance, Emily Van Houweling, and Marcos Carzolio), Stanford University (Jenna Davis and Kory Russel), and WE Consult (our in-country partner) to undertake a follow-up study for an evaluation of the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s rural water program in the province. We undertook the baseline study in 2011 and plan to complete the follow-up study over the next two months.

Over the past week, we have begun our enumerator training that has focused primarily on reviewing each module of the household survey (which consists of more than 600 questions that will be navigated using logic) and practicing skills such as how to measure a child and use GPS devices (that are needed to find the same households we surveyed in 2011). Next week we will continue to refine the various surveying instruments with the enumerators (who are mostly local to Nampula) and begin practicing how to take water samples, among other activities. We will soon select our team leaders from the twenty enumerators we are training, who will each receive specific training on the various research protocols we will be using.

We have established a base camp in a house in the city of Nampula, which is proving to be a pleasant place to work/live, even if there is no water most days. There are several major construction projects happening in the city that have severely constrained the water supply that only comes once a day for several hours if we are lucky.

I have included some pictures below of the activities so far. I will post some more following the pilot study that is planned for later next week.

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