Friday, August 11, 2006

Project Progress (and some elephants)

Things have calmed down significantly here. Two weeks ago we had a visit from Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, the high-level academic and former UN Human Development Report director and co-editor. It was a bit of a hectic time preparing a presentation and handout for her, and scheduling a day’s worth of events, but it went off really well. After her visit, Sakiko said she was impressed by the effort we’d put into our project, and thought we were on the right track. This was validating – nice to hear that a person with over 30 years of experience thinks you’re doing something right.

We also had Sara Erhardt come visit us for over one week. She’s a master’s student at Harvard, and as part of her programme she’s chosen to evaluate Engineers Without Borders: specifically our impact model (how are we making a difference in the world?) and the gender component to our programming. Sara was a big help in going over the structure of our project, and helped us lay out the next few months (essentially until I fly home in December!).

So in project-specific news, Sarah Takaki and I are pretty excited. We just presented our project proposal to the director at the Community Water and Sanitation Agency, and he’s agreed to give the CWSA’s backing to it. This means that next week I’ll be heading out into one specific district (West Mamprusi) to work closely with their District Water and Sanitation Team (DWST) for a period of almost four months. Unfortunately Sarah will be leaving Tamale next week, heading back to Canada. She’s been a huge help in this project, and I’ll miss having her here.

The specific areas we’ve identified as needing strengthening with the DWST are:
1) Data management: this primarily means computer training so that the DWSTs can keep better track of all the information they collect from the field. They collect quite a bit of it (for example, the number of water sources in each community in their district) and this information is important in district planning – they need to know how many people have water, who still needs it, and who needs it most.

2) Monitoring: helping the DWSTs develop effective techniques for monitoring the communities in their districts.

3) Stakeholder coordination: There are a lot of NGOs digging boreholes, and they don’t always communicate all that effectively. As a result, certain areas may get a lot of water, while others are left out in the cold. Helping to develop the channels of communication between NGOs and local government can help make sure that the people who need water and sanitation facilities actually get it.

So these are the potential areas – however, this could all change when we get out to the district. In the interest of sustainability, we’re going to work on the areas that the DWST decides are most pressing.

In non-work related news, last weekend I went to Mole Game Park to check out some elephants. See a few photos below, and click here to see some more.




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50 comments:

Anonymous said...

Who's the monkey in the red shirt?

Anonymous said...

I think it is a rare breed of monkey called a 'stupid monkey'. They wear their hats on their bums to confuse predators....then they either bite the predator or fart on them...quite cunning really...

Anonymous said...

hmm i concur with the previous post. I have heard of this 'stupid monkey'. Very rare indeed. Their defense mechanism is quite interesting. This is definately a sighting.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me sir/madame, I take exception to your agreement with my affirmation. AND, if you are so bold, why are you posting as anonymous. That is cowardly...

Anonymous said...

you're dead

Anonymous said...

Hey chuckle head...that is your name...right? How boot you make like a tree and leave...eh? You probably can't even solve for multiple degrees of indeterminacy...stupid...

Anonymous said...

Hey knucklehead, not like you were much help, professor you even had a book infront of you. Genius.

Anonymous said...

Hey Pea Brain, the next time I see you...you won't be seeing anything...cause I will come at you like a tornado made of arms, teeth, and fingernails. You probably won't be able to analyze the destructive potential of that either...better get an El Centro type pseudo chart...idiot...

Anonymous said...

Pseudo chart eh? you're so dumb you left out the spectra, shows what you know. You probably forgot your emittance function to i bet. you just lost all your credibility. Why don't you make like Dirac Delta function and just stop.

Anonymous said...

I left out the 'spectra' cause I don't care. However, regardless of what people think, you're still a puck bag. I'll resonate your face to achieve maximum amplitude. How would you like that?? THEN, I will proceed to pile drive you into oblivion. Furthermore, you used the wrong 'to/too/two'. Thus, I think it is your credibility that has been tarnished. For shame!!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I see, you don't care. Well thats a great comment to post on this blog. This young gentlemen is volunteering his time in Africa to help the impoverished, and here you are not caring about anything. Thank goodness there are not more people like you in this world.

Anonymous said...

Ouch. The scope of my apathy does not extend to the commendable work that Luke is doing. The back and forth comments were purely for jokes. Construe what I say how you will...but laughter is a good thing. A monkey in a red shirt escalating to an El Centro pseudo specra chart is comical from an engineering standpoint. In the future, please do not label others. I am not labeling you for your harsh comments as I know it is not appropriate, or appreciated.

Anonymous said...

screw you buddy

Anonymous said...

where is africa?

Anonymous said...

I heard Africa was somewhere near Lethbridge...over by the Zellers...

Anonymous said...

i win

Anonymous said...

you win at sucking...

Anonymous said...

oh yah well you lose at winning

Anonymous said...

yah yah i guess i do, i will concede to you

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I fear that when I hit my head, it pushes my hair into my brain...and, eventually...it’s gonna kill me.

Ian said...

Wow

Anonymous said...

What an interesting dialogue. It is also interesting to note that whomever is talking back and forth is clearly spineless. It sounds like a bunch of rubbish to me. There are more important things to worry about than pseudo spectra whatever and malicious insults. Grow up idiots.

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