Looking back on 2022, we are reminded of the importance of research and the need to continuously challenge our assumptions and update our understanding of the world. This year, we witnessed the acceleration of global structural changes due to the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, global warming, the war in Ukraine, and inflationary pressures on the global economy. From large language models to the malaria vaccine, we also saw revolutionary advancements in artificial intelligence and medicine that are already shaping our future.

At Laterite, we recognize the crucial role that research plays in helping us navigate and adapt to these changes. We are proud of Laterite’s contributions to research and impact in 2022, and are always in admiration of the work of our team and the hundreds of enumerators we work with. Our teams across six countries have consistently prioritized high-quality, dignified, and contextually-embedded research; and this year was no exception.

Some highlights of our research contributions this year have included:

Shedding light on complex issues in challenging contexts, such as food security and livelihoods in refugee settlements in Northern Kenya and mental health issues in conflict-affected areas of Ethiopia

Deepening our engagement in education through listening to teachers in Rwanda and conducting a first-of-its-kind study on the EdTech landscape in the country

Making significant contributions on gender, families, and parenting through interviews and focus group discussions with adolescent girls, women farmers, and women entrepreneurs and their partners in Ethiopia; women farmers in Tanzania; and interviews, anthropometric measurements and developmental assessments with children and their caregivers in Rwanda

Generating new insights on regenerative agricultural practices, including the effects of incentives on coffee farmers in Ethiopia and the effects of a training program on farming practices in Ugandan coffee farms

Conducting research on livelihoods and social protection, including access to food and cash assistance in conflict-affected areas of Ethiopia and tracking the livelihoods of households in urban areas of the country

Throughout our research, we have engaged with thousands of people through over 102,642 surveys, 54,000 household interviews, 23,000 phone surveys, and 335 focus group discussions or semi-structured interviews. In doing so, we have created employment opportunities for 1,337 enumerators who have worked a total of 30,696 days–the equivalent of 114 full-time staff. Laterite’s core team has also grown to 84 people from 69 at the end of 2021.

In addition to our research contributions, 2022 was also a year of investment in our team. We have revamped our learning and career strategies, prioritized team engagement and wellbeing, and strengthened support across the organization by creating new roles and teams. We also welcomed new leaders to Laterite, further strengthening our strategic direction.

Looking to the future, Laterite is setting its sights on expanding over the next five years in order to become a global research firm. This includes plans to geographically expand to two to four new regions by 2027 and a technological expansion strategy that aims to leverage data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to improve our research and impact.

We invite you to stay tuned for exciting announcements in the new year, as we’re making big steps towards achieving these goals by opening our very first office in West Africa and launching a brand new tech-enabled research platform we developed.

As we embark on these exciting endeavors, we wish everyone a very happy end to this year with lots of health, renewed energy and hope for 2023. Of course, we also want to extend a massive thank you to every single Laterista, every enumerator we’ve worked with, every partner, and every client.

Asante – Murakoze – እናመሰግናለን – Mwebale Nyo – Thank you!