Musings on US Trade


“…when you shop

Always read the label

If the label says Made in China

Think about your job.”

The excerpt above is from the closing sequence of Death by China, a documentary by Peter Navarro highlighting the impact of US-China trade policies on reality across American cities. Indeed, one can safely say the manufacturing base and the diversity of what a country produces determines the living standard of its citizens. They arguably condition whether or not a country wins in the zero-sum game of world trade.  However, it is a policy that makes a country tick – more specifically, trade policy.

DEAF NOT DUMB: Time For Jamaica’s Deaf Community To Join The Conversation

“My experience with the Jamaican education system as a Deaf Jamaican has not been a good one,” notes Shana-Kay Goodman. She is an outspoken colleague of mine. We work alongside each other as part of a youth core of over 20 youth advocates known as Y-KLICK, an initiative sponsored by Respect Jamaica and UNICEF.

Through Y-KLICK, the 21-year-old from Old Harbour, St Catherine advocates on behalf of Deaf Jamaicans across the country. Part of the challenge she personally strives to overcome as a Deaf Jamaican are issues with the education system and its inability to meet the growing needs of the Jamaicans within the deaf community.

From Jamaica to Virginia: Initial thoughts about my Atlas Corps Journey

Travel_Map_and_Supplies

This is cross-posted from the Council on Foundations website.

Excited, relieved, eager, anxious—those were some of the feelings I experienced when I found out I was selected as an Atlas Corps Fellow to serve at the Council on Foundations.

Data in Developing Nations

Sometime in 2015, I had the opportunity to serve as an Urban Decoder and Researcher for YouthfulCities. YouthfulCities is a global initiative to rank the world’s 100 cities from a youth perspective, thereby leading a unique urban regeneration in the process. The project focus sought to answer 3 major questions: what are the best cities in the world for young people to live, work and play? As simple as the 3 measurement points are, I truly believe that they form the very essence of why cities are established, and why they thrive, prosper, and evolve.

Program Theory and The Theory of Change

A Program theory is a well-documented problem in a society to be solved and has been articulated in the submitted proposal for funding. This articulation, form the basis of evaluation especially in projects without any baseline assessment or situational analysis. A theory of change is simply a diagrammatic representation of complex pathways that will lead to the expected change of the problem. These two concepts are used interchangeably by many which sometimes leave beginners with some degree of confusion. Another form of confusion come from outcomes and impacts which are also used interchangeably but differ in that the impact of a project is the sum of the outcomes of that project + findings from additional research directed toward the observed change minus the effort of other doing similar work with the aim of solving the same problem while outcome could be short term (change in learning), intermediate (change in action) and long term (change in problem). It is only by acknowledging the effort of others that you can measure the impact of your work by attributing some of the long-term outcomes to your activities.

Logic Framework and Theory of Change

The focus of many beginners in the M&E space is on a Logic framework especially when developing an M&E Plan for projects but it is worth noting that the starting point for a Logic model is to developing a Theory of change which gives a near true picture of what will happen when the project is implemented. Theory of change is a complex and messy logic model that takes into consideration all the possible pathways toward achieving your intended outcomes and it is easily summarised and presented in a logical framework to ease communication and understanding. A good Logic framework should match Theory of change to the mission of an organisation which then determine the available input directed toward the participants/audiences so as to carve out the activities to be carried in the project. This then form the basis of the project outcomes and subsequently an evaluation plan to determine if the proposed outcomes are achieved or not.

Embrace the Journey

 

journey called life

On January 15, 2017 I boarded a flight destined for Washington D.C. to begin a new chapter on this journey called life. This chapter titled- My Atlas Corps journey will undoubtedly have its hurdles but most importantly I am excited by the opportunities and inspirations I will have along the way.

As a young girl growing up in Kingston, Jamaica I came to the realization that there is no need to be perfect to inspire other but rather, let people be inspired by how you deal with your imperfections. So, throughout life I have chosen (yes it does take conscious effort) to be inspired by the finer, more organic details in life. Therefore, on this journey I look forward to the moments within the moments that will form lasting imprints and be later recalled as precious memories.

MONITORING AND EVALUATION 101: SMART OBJECTIVE

Effective monitoring and evaluation begins with the objectives of your project or program. Many organizations fail in their effort toward effective monitoring and evaluation because of lack of a SMART objective in their proposed project. There is a big different between a goal and objectives. While goals are more general and cannot be measure, Objectives are more specific and can be measured. A SMART Objective an objective that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. In the Non-for- profit sector, Objectives can be of four different classified as Behavioral, Performance, Process and Product For illustration, here is the goal of a project with a subsidiary objective:

MONITORING AND EVALUATION IS NOT MEASUREMENT AND EVALUATION!!

Link

Measurement is the most powerful concept in evaluation and data analysis that cannot be neglected for one to proceed with monitoring and evaluation successfully, it will be better to understand what measurement is all about. Measurement is the act of assigning numbers to and objects to represent a quantity or an attribute. There are different levels of measurement from which the manipulation of information to make sense occur which include: normal, ordinal, continuous, interval and ratio level of measurement. Normal level measurement is assigning numbers to an attribute like gender, for example Male=1 and female=2, Ordinal level of measurement is also linked with an attribute, but in an orderly manner an example for this are the level of education primary=1, secondary=2, high school=3, undergraduate=4. The figure in the normal level of measurement does not mean anything, but the ordinal level represents a hierarchy. Another level of measurement is the continuous level, which is differentiated from others with an absolute zero and example is weight. It is possible to have zero weight. The interval level on the other hand is differentiated by the lack of absolute Zero, for example time, and temperature. The zero point at this level doesn’t really mean the lack of time or temperature, but represents just a set standard. Last is the ratio level of measurement which represent measure that can be represented with a fraction for instance weight. It is easier to say 3.4kg but you cannot say 3.5 numbers of leaves. The idea of measurement is important because all the software and spreadsheet used for statistical analysis and evaluation operate using the concept of level of measurement. With the above concept, it’s very clear measurement and Evaluation goes with statistical analysis where you use a figure to prove a hypothesis while monitoring and Evaluation goes with the use of data to describe or demonstrate the level of success toward a particular objective in a project. In conclusion, Monitoring and evaluation is different from Measurement and Evaluation, although they have a lot in common.

Monitoring and Evaluation 101

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) are two of the most critical elements in project management. A good proposal which is well written is not complete without a monitoring and evaluation Plan. Monitoring and Evaluation are then used together to manage projects, but they are two distinct components of the project though they intersect with each other. When you systematically track, project implement, success toward the project objectives and external factors affecting the project, which could be new opportunities or risk, you are monitoring the project. Evaluation on the other side occurs when you bring together data from monitoring and finding from other research to access the effectiveness or the likely effectiveness of the project toward an intended outcome. Monitoring is a procedure in project management that occur regularly depending on the need to guide the project toward its intended outcome while Evaluation occurs within a particular time-bound which could be Quarterly, Midterm or post project. Three elements that unite the two words are efficiency, effectiveness and impact. During project monitoring, sub-evaluation occurs, leading to what is known in M&E as formative evaluation because the intended aim of such evaluation is mainly to keep forming the project as it is being implemented to maintain or modify its original shape. The combination of all the sub-evaluation in the life of a project to assess the likely outcome or output of a project is what is known as summative evaluation. The monitoring and evaluation of a particular project should begin right from the very first day of the project implementation. An M&E plan is the diagrammatic representation of your project which defined your indicators necessary for the measurement of the project outcome. Indicators are basically quantitative or qualitative factors or variables which are simple and can reliably measure the outcome of your project. The following elements define and indicators namely: Validity, reliability, specificity sensitivity, and operationality.