As most people know in development, the field is often more riddled with questions than answers. Common among these questions is how to measure an organization’s impact. Does one use fancy metrics to chart how a project develops and analyze data? Or does one rely on qualitative analysis, the actually question and survey approach of whether a person is better or worse off after a given project? Fortunately for me, GlobeMed, in partnership with the H.O.P.E Center, provided me both measurements over two days of unique site visits and insight into their remarkable work.
Day 1: Quantitative Data
As I walked into the office of Margaret Asante, the head nurse of the HOPE Center, the first question in my head was “what was on the walls?” Covering the right wall of the Center was a series of post-it notes each dated and named. Margaret explained that this was how the center was visually tracking the birth weights of babies until the age of 5. It was not difficult to extrapolate from these figures that the organization was having an incredible impact on the health of the rural communities. The center sees nearly 90 patients a day both male and female, has started a testing lab, and plans to expand its services to prenatal care. In metrics alone, under the leadership of Margaret, with support from GlobeMed, the HOPE Center certainly is high performing, but what do the communities say?
Day 2: Qualitative Data
After the details of day 1, Allyson along with three other members of the Northwestern GlobeMed summer team (Joey, Reema, Kathleen) led Alexis and I to Ando Village, one of the communities most impacted by the work of the HOPE Center. We all piled into a small taxi and weaved our way through cornfields until we reached the village and where we were greeted by a young woman named Esther. With some help from John (teacher) to rally the women, we sat down to learn about impact from the women themselves. At this point, I utilized what I call the “smile standard” (rating 0-10 on the size of a smile) to assess the project’s impact. The first impact indicator was the “10” smile of a young healthy girl sitting in the arm’s of her mother, after benefiting from an enriched diet thanks to support from the HOPE Center. The second impact indicator was the “10” smile of this girl’s mother, Cynthia, as the names of past GlobeMed volunteers were mentioned and the enthusiastic response the names elicited across the group of women. Thus, on qualitative smile standard, the project once again received high marks.
I can imagine within a short time, the names of GlobeMed’s newest in the field volunteers will bring smiles across the faces of communities such as Ando Village as they promote health through outreach. GlobeMed was instrumental in the HOPE Center’s founding and continues to aid in the Center’s expansion of services and outreach in the surrounding areas. The facilities made possible with GlobeMed’s startup support and sustained by the Ghanaian government provide the areas an essential health resource. No matter the way one measures impact, GlobeMed’s partnership with the HOPE Center is truly a success and I look forward to hearing about all the new and exciting programs as this relationship evolves. Keep an eye out for new updates from this project at www.globalgiving.org/2071 and you can follow the students in the field experiences at www.globemedgrapevine.wordpress.com.
If you are interested in donating to GlobeMed please visit globalgiving.org/2071
Andrew and four other In-the-Field Travelers are currently in Ghana before they are making their way to Mali and Burkina Faso. They'll be visiting more than 30 GlobalGiving projects in the next month. Follow their adventures at http://itfwa.wordpress.com/.