NGOs and development organizations working in international development deliver services to thousands and beneficiaries and customers, generating vast quantities of data. These organizations are increasingly required to provide independent and rigorous evidence on the outcomes of their work. While they have data available to do this, it is often low quality and under-used. Further, organizations often lack the tools needed to use the data to improve their services and strengthen their impact.
Laterite’s embedded research advisory service empowers our clients to make the most out of their data. We equip our clients with the tools to design and implement a rigorous research & learning agenda that helps further their mission.
Laterite currently has an independent research team embedded in TechnoServe's Coffee East Africa initiative, which works with farmers to improve agronomy and business practices, and support coffee cooperatives. Through this engagement, Laterite aims to maximize learning, improve internal research functions and strengthen the relationship between implementation and research in six countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Puerto Rico.
We are using existing and ongoing data collection efforts to better profile TechnoServe’s farmer-clients and understand how their profiles relate to their agronomy practices. We are also using historic data to better learn what works and what does not for TechnoServe's clients.
Other achievements to date include:
(i) better alignment of research and implementation activities;
(ii) improved research design and sampling capabilities;
(iii) introduction of better processes and systems across six countries to improve data quality and audit functions;
(iv) training TechnoServe’s M&E teams to use Python, Stata, SurveyCTO and research methods;
(v) providing ongoing technical guidance on all research outputs;
(vi) substantially improving data quality monitoring on all data collection efforts through real-time dashboards, and meta-data and picture audits; and
(ii) consolidating all of TechnoServe’s historic data from coffee farmers into a master database to generate new insights about agronomy practices across countries and over time.
Future efforts will focus on testing new approaches together with TechnoServe to ensure that research and data increasingly feed in to operations.