This past Wednesday I traveled to Ouaga to formally present my database and map projects to the FAIJ Director-General and other department heads in hopes to scale both projects nationally. I’m happy to report that the presentation was a resounding success and I was asked to help get the systems live within the month. We plan on putting the map up on the faij.bf website (though it will be password protected).
The theme of the presentation was to increase the efficiency of our field agents, opportunities with increased data availability, and the preservation of institutional memory. I stressed that our general follow-up process will remain the same, and though it may seem like a large change to switch over our data to a new system, the database would merely be a more streamlined and flexible version of what we already had. I then demonstrated all of the new features and solicited the group for additional functionality ideas and implementation details.
The keys going forward will be implementation, data management, and version control as we attempt to find the best way to timely record updates from the field with sporadic internet connections. I’ll be working a lot on new integrating the current database and working with the Follow-up and IT departments so that they can manage the system on their own. In addition, my direct colleague and I will likely be traveling quite a bit as we help the other regions with some hands on practice with the system.
One of the best results of the presentation came from the ability to have some good discussions both in and out of the office with FAIJ Director-General Parfait Désiré Ouédraogo. We discussed our development philosophies, the origins of FAIJ (which started as his doctoral thesis), and his incredible personal background as a chess champion, pianist, and linguist (I know of at least French, English, Mooré, Latin, Greek, and his current study of Hebrew). I accompanied him to the US Embassy’s Independence Day event where he was kind enough to tell both my Peace Corps supervisor and Ambassador Dougherty about his happiness with my work. The Ambassador was even kind enough to mention this to me himself as we were leaving the event.