Friday, March 15, 2013

An Excellent Read - Application of Systems thinking

What it looks like when it's fixed

What it looks like when it's fixed The more we study the major challenges of our time – such as poverty, crime, unemployment, health and the environment – the more we realise that conventional solutions are failing to create the impact they had in the past.
What it looks like when it's fixed provides a case study in the development of a different approach that offers new hope in tackling the most daunting challenges facing our society and institutions.
This work draws on the growing body of systems and design thinking knowledge to address the wicked social problems facing our society. What it looks like when it's fixed offers a new holistic way of understanding complex social systems, building stakeholder cohesion and designing solutions that will work in our era.

About the author Dr Barbara Holtmann uses systems and design thinking to facilitate understanding and insight among key stakeholders dealing with fragile social systems across the world. She has worked in business, government and most recently at the CSIR. Barbara is Vice President of the International Centre for the Prevention of Crime and serves on the boards of Women in Cities International and the Open Society Foundation for South Africa. She was the recipient of the Ann van Dyk Applied Research Award in 2010.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Survey of ICT in Education in Africa

This from the FOSSA website (Free and Open Source Software Africa)

How are ICTs currently being used in the education sector in Africa, and what are the strategies and policies related to this use?

infoDev is helped to coordinate a comprehensive study surveying the current landscape of ICT in education initiatives in Africa, and was interested in collaborating with partner organizations who wished to be involved in this work.
Key questions:
- How are ICTs currently being used in the education sector in Africa, and what are the strategies and policies related to this use?
- What are the common challenges and constraints faced by African countries in this area?
- What is actually happening on the ground, and to what extent are donors involved?

You can download the reports Free and Open Source Software Africa's Reports and White Papers page  A new survey is forthcoming 

Monday, March 04, 2013

How to specify your needs if you require a case study

A client is interested in contracting us to write up a case study for one of their programmes, but they don't really know which information will be necessary. Since there are no terms of reference yet for the case study, I suggested that the client clarifies the following, in order for us to be able to assess the level of effort required.

1. What will the case study be used for? (To document lessons learnt, to help with marketing, to document evidence of a successful initiative)
2. What is the final product that you have in mind, and how long does it need to be? (A written report, or a presentation, or a glossy publication)
3. Who will be reading the Case Study?
4. How much background documents do you have available? (Project descriptions, evaluation findings, participation data, survey data)
5. What kind of additional data collection will be necessary? (Interviews, photo's, site observations)
6. Would you want to meet with the evaluation team before the assignment starts, and after it is completed? 

I came across this useful little guide on how to use Case Studies to do Program Evaluation.It helps one to assess whether a case study should be used, and how to do it.
Edith D. Balbach, Tufts University
March 1999
Copyright © 1999 California Department of Health Services
Developed by the Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention
The Better Evaluation page on Case Studies can be found here.