This April marks the beginning of Laterite’s presence in the Latin American region, building on over 13 years of data collection and research experience in East Africa. We chatted with Sandro Parodi, Laterite Managing Partner in Latin America.

Sandro is a Peruvian economist and brings in 20 years of experience wearing different hats within the development sector. He has served as the Deputy Minister of Education, as Executive Director of a National Scholarship Program, and as Senior Education and Social Protection official in the Inter-American Development Bank. His experiences have culminated in his current role of establishing Laterite’s vision for impactful research to the region.

What interested you in joining Laterite and leading the charge in Laterite Latin America?

In my experience as an official of the Inter-American Development Bank, working in several countries in the LAC region, and my in-depth involvement as a public official tackling Peru’s educational challenges, I’ve seen the positive impact of public policy decisions based on rigorous evidence. Despite efforts, a significant gap persists in the region. My interest in joining Laterite and leading the Laterite Latin America operations is to bring Laterite’s track record of generating high-quality data, rigorous research, and innovative analytics to the region. Our aim is to provide this specialized knowledge to governments, NGOs, multilateral organizations, and donors who are working to improve the living conditions of the Latin American population.  

What have you been up to since joining the team?

It’s been months of preparation to start operations in Peru. I’ve participated in internal sessions with various teams at Laterite to understand their operations, familiarize myself with their systems, and, particularly, internalize the culture of the organization. Laterite strives to be a great place to work, is sensitive to the local context, and works with integrity and independence. I’m convinced that Laterite’s culture is its most valuable asset and I’m very proud to be a part of the team.

I’ve been actively engaged in the recruitment of our first Research Associate and in assembling a roster of 60 skilled and experienced enumerators based in our Peru office. This team is joining our existing workforce, which includes over 90 full-time researchers and more than 2,500 enumerators across the countries where we work.

I’ve also been organizing a series of meetings introducing Laterite to colleagues who work on economic development, both in Peru and in other Latin American countries. The response has been very positive, and we’re looking forward to collaborating with them in the coming months.

How does setting up a Laterite office in Peru differ from East and West Africa?

Peru, classified as a middle-income nation, marks a new journey for Laterite. The aim is to leverage the extensive expertise gained in Africa, while being flexible and adjusting to Peru’s unique characteristics.

For example, we’ve seen that recent university graduates in Peru possess robust skills in research and data quality. With this in mind, we’ll proactively recruit new graduates to enrich our team. We also anticipate that project opportunities in Peru will be predominantly urban-centric. To align with this, we recruited a roster of enumerators with more urban profiles compared with our African offices. However, our roster still maintains a strong national presence across all 24 regions of Peru.

What’s your vision for Laterite Latin America?

I envision establishing Laterite as a trusted partner in the region for delivering exceptional research and consulting services in economic development. This vision is centered on helping organizations enhance their decision-making processes and program designs effectively.

My long-term goal is to expand Laterite’s presence to countries in the region. The focus will be on areas with a stronger need for high-quality data and rigorous research, such as Central America and the Caribbean. This expansion will hopefully solidify Laterite’s position as a leader in the Latin American region. 

I’m excited to bring all the expertise and prestige that Laterite has earned in Africa to Latin America. I believe the need is substantial, and I’m looking forward to playing a role in this exciting journey.