I received this message today:
> Is there still a need for consultants? Please reply
The writer was inquiring about a notice I posted roughly a year ago:
> I expect AfricaLink will soon want to contract out some of our
> national program assessments -- to look at the work of AfricaLink
> at selected sites and report on successes and failures.
Here is what has happened in the interim.
I have myself conducted several assessments, and the reports can be read at
The assessment in May is the key report. We collected data using
formal questionnaires. We then faced the task of how to process
these data, present them in a usable form, etc. I have in my spare time
for the past 6 months experimented with different software, but
principally with Arc-View GIS 3.1, since it is quite popular among
The objective is to collect data on "networking" that are essentially
spatial in nature. But until we have developed an application in spatial
analysis software to accomodate such data, it makes little sense to
send out consultants to collect the data. We need the application first
in order to know in what form to collect the data.
We could contract with a firm here in Washington to develop the
networking analysis application. As an alternative, we have explored
the possibility of inviting an African professional to Washington to
work on the application.
We have agreed tentatively to sponsor an intern from Africa, from
June to August. The intern would likely be someone from Africa who
already has extensive GIS skills, and who is looking to gain practical
experience developing applications. This intern would work on the
AfricaLink networking application as well as other applications in
collaboration with the host organization. These additional
applications might also be important to an African nominating
We are still in discussions with potential host organizations. Once
terms have been finalized, we will initiate a selection process, which
will probably require nominations from African universities and
organizations known to us that have a need for skilled GIS
programming practitioners. Our budget for this activity is very small,
so as in the past we will be looking for an entry-level professional
willing to stay in low-cost university housing and manage on a
modest budget. Some of the alumni from our past internships are
I expect to add an additional page soon that describes our successful
internship program last year in which SANGONeT in Johannesburg
served as the program host.
One question still hanging over us has to do with approach. Is GIS
the proper approach for analyzing progress in networking activities?
Will it truly help us judge progress? Or is there some alternative
approach we should explore? Your comments appreciated.
Jeff @ Washington
SETA Corporation Senior Analyst
USAID/M/IRM/CIS: Program Technology Transfer
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