Date: December 21, 2021

In 2021, Khulisa has contributed to measuring the impact of early grade reading initiatives in South Africa, reducing childhood stunting in Zambia, and increasing access to electricity in East Africa.  We evaluated programs implemented by the US Departments of State and of Defense, International Foundations and USAID.  We conducted Operations Research on HIV/AIDS programs in Nigeria and provided technical support to the Kingdom of Eswatini’s health information management systems.  And in the midst of all this, we taught a Data Quality Assessment course through the Encompass Learning Center.  Look out for some specific highlights in our New Year’s video!

So, what have we learned about providing M&E services during a global pandemic? The Khulisa team has captured some crucial lessons from 2021 to share with you.

  1. Always plan for the worst-case scenario and then still have a back-up plan for that! So many logistics changed during the implementation of these assignments and we had to remain agile. Think surplus to ensure you won’t have a shortage when you need it least!
  2. Try new things. We were able to deliver training in 3 different modalities (in-person, pre-recorded and live streaming, divided into 3 different training rooms to comply with COVID-19 regulations).
  3. Communicate and then over communicate with your client. Communication with the client and different stakeholders involved in the assignment is key to making the evaluation a success. With rapidly changing circumstances, it is vital to constantly check in with your client and ensure that the plans are still on track. You know what people say about making assumptions…
  4. Good management of people is key to assignments success. No matter the size of your assignment or datasets, manage your team with clear allocation of tasks and empowering them to own their responsibilities. Trust your team members, motivate them to take responsibility and work collaboratively to ease the pressure.
  5. Most of all, remember you are human. Mistakes are crucial for learning – embrace them. Rest is vital for productivity – protect it. There is more to life than datasets, so take care of yourself, enjoy every day and what you cannot do today can wait for tomorrow!