2019 marks another step forward for Laterite. This year we welcomed 24 new members to the team, while continuing our efforts to make Laterite a great place to work. To do that we have implemented operational improvements in HR and finance, and we organized our largest full-company retreat to date. We are proud that throughout this growth, Laterite’s culture and values have remained intact.
We believe that to achieve impact, you have to be embedded in the local context and think long-term. This year, we strengthened our focus on delivering impactful research in a number of ways. We’ve consolidated our research efforts around five core sectors: agriculture, education, public health, urbanization & migration, and youth & labor. We have continued to invest in learning partnerships, and created a new Business Development & Communications team to help us share our insights and pro-actively pursue opportunities to deliver impactful research.
Our drive to innovate remains one of our core values. Our innovations in 2019 have focused on data security and making improvements in the research cycle. In particular, we’ve taken steps to strengthen ethics training and referral procedures, which are central to all the research work we do. Laterite specializes in the delivery of complex research projects, often involving sensitive topics such as gender-based violence, or focusing on vulnerable populations, for example children at risk of stunting. It’s our responsibility to ensure that the work we deliver to our clients adheres to the highest standards of ethics and integrity.
Our achievements in 2019
We are excited about new long term engagements started in 2019: the Mastercard Foundation’s Leaders in Teaching initiative in Rwanda, the Gender & Adolescence: Global Evidence program in Rwanda and Ethiopia, and the IGNITE program run out of Kenya. In parallel, we continued our advisory work with TechnoServe on their East Africa Coffee Initiative in Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda.
In 2019 we also closed off some major projects. We finished data collection for an impact evaluation of the Sugira Muryango Family Strengthening Initiative in Rwanda, led by Boston College. Initial results showed positive program effects, leading to an expansion of the program which will be rolled out to even more families in Rwanda in 2020. Our teams have also just completed the largest ever in-depth survey on stunting in Rwanda, collecting data from 11,250 households. This work, funded by the World Bank, will provide the Government of Rwanda with invaluable information to strengthen and better target its efforts towards eradicating stunting in the country.
We also launched a new series of policy briefs featuring our study of Kigali’s unplanned settlements, a situational analysis on school-to-work transitions for youth in sub-Saharan Africa and more. We hope these briefs will make our research more widely accessible to policy makers and the public in our target countries.
It goes without saying none of this would not have been possible without the hard work of over 730 of our enumerators, who cumulatively spent over 21,000 days in the field to:
survey over 37,000 households in more than 2,700 villages and communities;
conduct over 350 focus group discussions and qualitative interviews; and
collect anthropometric measurements from 42,000+ adults and children.
To put it in context: 21,000 enumerator days in 2019 means almost 58 years of work jammed into one!
Growing as a team
November was the highlight of the year with our all company meeting hosted in Kigali by the Rwanda team. This was the first time all Lateristas were together in the same location, some of them meeting for the first time.
Nine years on, it’s great to see what we’ve achieved together. Maintaining this spirit will remain our focus as we continue our efforts to improve as an organization in 2020.