Monday, July 2, 2012

Spark's Summer Plans!

With summer in full swing, we here at Spark MicroGrants have been busy planning for an action packed summer filled with new projects, new staff and interns, and the opening of our Musanze, Rwanda office. Recently, our team has grown to include 4 full time facilitators and 6 summer interns! With all this man power we have some exciting projects planned for the summer! A few weeks ago, Spark opened our Musanze house/office, which will serve as our main base for operations. Musanze is located in the Northwest corner of Rwanda, about a two hour bus ride from the capital city of Kigali. With many of our existing and new communities located around Musanze, we will now be located closer to our projects, allowing us to spend more time in the communities.

The facilitator corps, which is also now based in Musanze, will focus this summer on working with several new communities (be sure to like us on Facebook to find out more about them in the next few weeks). In addition, the facilitators will continue to facilitate the existing microgrants and work on follow-up with communities that have already implemented projects. This summer, we are also welcoming 6 interns to Spark MicroGrants who have hit the ground running! Dennis and Kate are heading up team M&E (Monitoring and Evaluation), where they are focusing on developing individual surveys for the facilitators to administer to communities at the beginning of the microgrant process and then after implementation. The goal is that from these surveys, we will be able to collect important data on the impact of our microgrant projects in the communities where projects have been implemented. 

Sophia will be working on designing a community monitoring plan, that with the individual surveys will provide a well rounded view of Spark's impact in communities. She will also be conducting research on public health in Rwanda, providing valuable information as Spark looks to expand into public health based microgrants. In addition, Sophia also plans to meet with several Spark communities to discuss public health and health related problems that they face.

 Natasha, Emily, and Sarah will be working on compiling a narrative based annual report. They will visit communities, and collect project updates along with photos and videos. During their community meetings, they will collect stories from individual community members about how the microgrant project in their community has affected their lives. By the end of the summer they will compile the research and stories they have collected into an annual report.

This summer looks to be a busy and productive one here at Spark! We hope that you will follow along on our blog, Facebook page, and Twitter where our interns, facilitators, and staff will post regular updates about our summer projects.

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