Three things I’ve learned by working for international cooperation agencies III

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Over the past few days I’ve shared the first two things I’ve learned by working for international cooperation agencies.

1. Multisector collaboration isn’t easy
2. It’s possible to level the playing field

The following paragraphs describe the third.

3. Quality data is hard to come by: Quality information--quantitative and qualitative--is a prerequisite that all interventions and projects take for granted, but the fact is that it´s rare, especially at the local level. Desegregation of data is found mostly at national or subnational level, locally it could be very difficult to find and, if it exists, it will rarely have the required quality to diagnose, plan, set a base line or design a sound evaluation. Overcoming a lack of data isn’t easy. Most times it requires time to forge alliances with local actors, such as public institutions, academia or civil society organizations, which can supply data. However, these actors can be reluctant to cooperate because of time, effort, and resources to retrieve data. An alternative is to gather your own data and create your own database, but this also takes time and might entail risks if data collection occurs in unsafe areas. An additional strategy is to rely on qualitative information (interviews and focus groups) and secondary sources which can help diagnose and build a base line of the phenomena the project aims to solve.

Working for and with international cooperation agencies requires passion, knowledge and hard work. It can be complex and exhausting as finding ways to better respond to needs and requirements from actors form diverse institutions and achieve the goal of the project or program can be extremely demanding. Burnout can become a potential obstacle to delivering effective results. So finding ways to relief stress is also fundamental to achieving the goals of the work plan. In spite of the latter, I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to collaborate with different agencies, and happy for the ones are still to come.

Over the past few days I’ve shared the first two things I’ve learned by working for international cooperation agencies.

1. Multisector collaboration isn’t easy
2. It’s possible to level the playing field

The following paragraphs describe the third.

3. Quality data is hard to come by: Quality information--quantitative and qualitative--is a prerequisite that all interventions and projects take for granted, but the fact is that it´s rare, especially at the local level. Desegregation of data is found mostly at national or subnational level, locally it could be very difficult to find and, if it exists, it will rarely have the required quality to diagnose, plan, set a base line or design a sound evaluation. Overcoming a lack of data isn’t easy. Most times it requires time to forge alliances with local actors, such as public institutions, academia or civil society organizations, which can supply data. However, these actors can be reluctant to cooperate because of time, effort, and resources to retrieve data. An alternative is to gather your own data and create your own database, but this also takes time and might entail risks if data collection occurs in unsafe areas. An additional strategy is to rely on qualitative information (interviews and focus groups) and secondary sources which can help diagnose and build a base line of the phenomena the project aims to solve.

Working for and with international cooperation agencies requires passion, knowledge and hard work. It can be complex and exhausting as finding ways to better respond to needs and requirements from actors form diverse institutions and achieve the goal of the project or program can be extremely demanding. Burnout can become a potential obstacle to delivering effective results. So finding ways to relief stress is also fundamental to achieving the goals of the work plan. In spite of the latter, I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to collaborate with different agencies, and happy for the ones are still to come.

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Three things I’ve learned by working for international cooperation agencies II

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