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Summer Internship: Impact Evaluation in Kenya

Sara Litke, MPP '17

This past summer, over ninety Goldman School students interned in government, nonprofit and private agencies throughout the US and the world. 

Weeding in the garden with DIG facilitators

Sara Litke spent her summer completing a USAID Research and Innovation Fellowship (a.k.a. GDF fellowship) in rural Kenya, where she conducted an impact evaluation and developed surveys for a small agricultural nonprofit organization called Development in Gardening (DIG).  

DIG focuses on nutrition-sensitive agriculture in developing countries.  Their mission is to improve the economic well-being, nutrition, and food security of people living with HIV/AIDS, orphans, pregnant women, and other vulnerable populations.  Sara was recruited by DIG to evaluate the impact of their program in Kenya from 2015-16.

In designing her study for DIG, Sara applied methods directly from her second semester coursework in quantitative methods and impact evaluation.  To demonstrate the importance of skills developed through GSPP’s core classes, she states, “I wouldn't have understood the methodology without these courses, or have been able to use STATA to do the data analysis.”  

STATA codes and evaluation methodology aside, for Sara, the most interesting part of her professional engagement in Kenya was qualitative, rather than quantitative.  “I got to redesign the survey tools DIG uses—I developed a new baseline, midline, and endline survey (along with survey keys and Excel databases). In order to do this, I conducted a lot of stakeholder engagement to collect information about nutrition and smallholder agriculture evaluations.”