I have enjoyed many years working in international development, getting to travel and meet amazing people from around the world. I started my career as a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa. My first job after graduate school was working as part of a USAID pharmaceutical management project just as the President’s Initiative on HIV/AIDS (PEPFAR) was beginning. It was fascinating. There was so much we were learning – coordinating a global drug donation program, working with countries to test and establish 1st line and 2nd line therapies, figuring out how to be successful with disease prevention and stigma reduction. Meanwhile, the world was also adopting a new combination therapy for malaria (ACT) which dramatically changed the way countries diagnosed and treated malaria. So many lives were saved as a result of these programs.
Two years ago, I joined QED Group as the Corporate Communications Director. Today, I work exclusively on a USAID-funded activity for Knowledge, Data, Learning and Training (KDLT). We provide knowledge management and organizational development support to USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security (RFS). As for everyone, the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted our work. With USAID moving all its internal meetings and externally facing events online, we too have had to pivot and offer support in a virtual environment. The past few months have forced us all to become experts in Google Meet as we negotiate break-out rooms and promote facilitation techniques that enhance participant engagement, despite people spending so many hours in video-conferences these days.
For me, it has been thrilling to see how the information age and data digitization has impacted my work. QED embraces this transformation as part of its technical approach, coupling a rich history of monitoring and evaluation, with the latest in data science and a culture of continuous learning. As I begin studies towards a masters in data science, I hope to improve my own data literacy and find new ways of using data for good. The possibilities are endless.