Mr Samuel Muhula, Monitoring, Evaluation and Research Manager at Amref Health Africa in Kenya and a PhD candidate at Jomo Kenyatta Univeristy of Agriculture and Technology received a semester-long (January to May, 2018) East Africa Social Science Translation (EASST) fellowship to study impact evaluation and global economic development at the University of California, Berkeley. The EASST Collaborative, which is administered by the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA), is a network of East African universities and research institutions, with a mission to promote rigorous evaluation of social and economic development programmes in the region.
“I am so grateful to CEGA and to Amref Health Africa for giving me the oportunity to pursue this fellowship,” said Muhula.
Muhula continues to say:
“The EASST fellowship gives me the opportunity to widen my research network by working with the excellent CEGA affilliates such as faculty professors and PhD students and gives me unlimited access to immense resources available at UC Berkeley. By the end of this fellowship, I will be able to apply the various tools of impact evaluation to test strategies and innovative programme models in public health and generate highly credible evidence for policy makers in governments and institutions such as Amref Health Africa.”
One of the deliverables of the fellowship is for each fellow to develop their own impact evaluation project with mentorship from a CEGA faculty member and a UC Berkeley PhD peer mentor. Muhula has worked with his faculty mentor, Will Dow, and peer mentor, Deepak Premkumar, to develop his project titled “Social Dynamics and HIV Treatment Retention: Can Non-monetary Incentives and Facility-based Psycho-social Support Improve Patient Retention in the Early Stages of HIV Care?”
In addition to developing their research projects, EASST fellows audit courses and travel to various UC campuses to meet one-on-one with professors and network, attend and make presentations at development economics seminars at UC Berkeley and other campuses, and frequently participate a in conferences such as PacDev and AI for Economic Development to learn from other researchers in the social and economic development field.
Upon their return home from UC Berkeley, EASST fellows receive catalyst grants to support the development of their local and institutional capacities in designing and implementing impact evaluations. The activities supported by the catalyst grants include incorporating impact evaluation into existing graduate programmes, training and mentoring local graduate students in field research, and conducting impact evaluation training workshops.
“I look forward to developing the materials for a three-day impact evaluation course, which I will use to train staff in all Amref Health Africa implementing countries. I am also working on developing a semester-,long applied impact evaluation curriculum for graduate students at Amref International University.”