On May 24, 2023, the inaugural GeoField community of practice took place virtually, featuring presentations and panels on application of Earth observation and geospatial data in impact evaluations.
In this video, AidData's Chief Economist Dr. Ariel Ben Yishay and Richard Caldwell of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation offer opening remarks to the inaugural GeoField community of practice gathering held on May 24, 2023.
In this panel, from the May 2023 GeoField community of practice, Kendra Walker discusses “Payments for Ecosystem Services to Reduce Crop Residue Burning” and Grady Killeen presents on "Using Satellites and Phones to Evaluate and Promote Agricultural Technology Adoption: Evidence from Smallholder Farms in India”.
This video features three presentations from GeoField's inaugural community of practice virtual gathering in May, 2023. First, Lauren Sharwood (UCSB) & Kunwar Singh (AidData) discuss "Demi-lune adoption and detection in Niger". The second presentation is from Kyle Emerick (Tufts) & Carly Muir (AidData), "Detecting water conservation in irrigated rice in Bangladesh". Finally, Kunwar Singh (AidData) & Brad Sagara (Mercy Corps) present "Reducing Environmental Risks through Productive Activities in Nepal". GeoField stands for "Geospatial Earth Observation For Impact Evaluation Learning and Development". It's a partnership to make impact evaluations and climate sensitive agriculture more effective through Earth observation. Learn more at https://www.geofield.org/
The third panel in GeoField's May 2023 virtual convening also features 3 presentations. This video showcases three presentations with a special focus on communally irrigated perimeters. The first and second presentations highlight Niger. Anca Dumitrescu (3ie) presents “Impact evaluation using GIS data of the program to increase agricultural production for food security in Niger”, while Anthony D’Agostino (Mathematica) discusses "Satellites and Sampling: Leveraging Remote Sensing to Enable an Impact Evaluation of Irrigation Investments in Niger: The third presentation feature's AidData's Seth Goodman and presents a project from Mali, “Irrigation Strengthens Climate Resilience: Long-term Evidence from Mali using Satellites and Surveys”. GeoField stands for "Geospatial Earth Observation For Impact Evaluation Learning and Development". It's a partnership to make impact evaluations and climate sensitive agriculture more effective through Earth observation. Learn more at https://www.geofield.org/
In this concluding panel of the May 2023 GeoField virtual convening, AidData's Ariel BenYishay moderates a question and answer session with Tulika Narayan (Mathematica), Rocio Carrero (Planet), Arif Rashid (USAID/BHA), Hanna Camp (Mercy Corps). GeoField stands for "Geospatial Earth Observation For Impact Evaluation Learning and Development". It's a partnership to make impact evaluations and climate sensitive agriculture more effective through Earth observation. Learn more at https://www.geofield.org/
Anca Dumitrescu is a Sr. Evaluation Specialist at 3ie. She has over a decade of experience working in international development in low- and middle-income countries, with a focus on West Africa. As a monitoring and evaluation professional, she specializes in impact evaluations and program management. She leads 3ie’s West Africa Capacity-building and Impact Evaluation (WACIE) program, a multi-year regional initiative to support evidence informed decision making in government systems across the eight countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union, and led the development of the flagship WACIE Helpdesk initiative to provide actionable, rapid evidence synthesis for policymakers. She provides strategic, technical, and operational support to inform project effectiveness, evidence uptake, and effective communication.
Dr. Anthony Louis D'Agostino is a Senior Researcher in Mathematica's International unit where he leads independent evaluations for clients including the Millennium Challenge Corporation, USAID, the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, the Childrens Investment Fund Foundation, and the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services. He is an applied microeconomist who uses survey, administrative, and satellite data to support evidence-based decision-making in a range of development, environmental, and climate policy areas. His current project portfolio covers using cost-benefit analysis to catalyze sustainable land-use investments, leveraging satellite data to measure the economic returns to irrigation, assessing the effects of air quality monitoring infrastructure on civil society, and estimating the causal impact of factory farms on antimicrobial resistance. He holds a PhD in Sustainable Development from Columbia University, an MPP from the National University of Singapore, and prior to joining Mathematica was a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University's Center on Food Security and the Environment.
Dr. BenYishay is a development economist specializing in empirical microeconomics, geospatial impact evaluations, and randomized control trials. He heads AidData’s Research and Evaluation Unit, and oversees the AidData Research Consortium, some 120 academics at 50 universities worldwide. His current research focuses on the impacts of foreign aid programs on agriculture and deforestation as well as human health and social capital. His work has been published in the American Economic Review, Review of Economic Studies, Nature Sustainability, Journal of Development Economics, and many other outlets.
Arif Rashid leads the Design, Monitoring, Evaluation, and Applied Learning (DMEAL) Division in the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA). The division is responsible for ensuring high-quality programming, and innovation through strategic planning and activity design, consistent and effective performance monitoring; comprehensive, appropriate, and rigorous evaluation, and purposeful learning across the full spectrum of BHA responses and programming. Arif joined USAID in 2013 and led the Monitoring and Evaluation Team in the legacy Office of Food for Peace (L-FFP) before assuming his current acting role in BHA. He led the improvement in the rigor of monitoring and evaluation of humanitarian assistance and resilience programs, including developing the M&E capacity of L-FFP and partner staff. Arif conceptualized the Refine-and-Implement and played an instrumental role in developing the model - a post-award co-creation model adopted by OAA as the best practice in USAID. He co-led the development of the sustainability approach to enable communities to maintain outcomes beyond the life of BHA programs - a process that focuses on empowering local communities and service providers to sustain the services and input delivery beyond the life of a program. He provided leadership in developing a collaborative approach to process evaluations used in several countries. Arif received his post-graduation degree from the University of Arizona. He has nearly 30 years of experience in emergency response and international development work, focusing on assessments, analysis, project design, monitoring, evaluation, and management. Before joining USAID, he worked for a global food security and nutrition project designed to increase the capacity of food security implementing agencies, networking, and knowledge management; a private contractor providing technical assistance to UN agencies and NGOs, and NGOs managing multi-sectoral food security projects.
Brad Sagara is Mercy Corps’ Director for Research and Learning and lead on the USAID-funded Resilience, Evaluation, Analysis and Learning award (REAL) and oversees the agency’s global Resilience Research portfolio, where his team generates robust evidence that responds to major program and policy questions on resilience-related topics. This includes but is not limited to evaluating the effectiveness of resilience building investments, social and market systems dynamics in humanitarian and development response, resilience in fragile and conflict affected contexts, and return on investment of resilience building efforts.
Dr. Carly Muir is a Geospatial Analyst at the AidData lab in the Global Research Institute of William & Mary. She is formally trained in the field of Geography and specializes in climatology and land system science, with a specific focus on investigating dynamics of human-environment interaction and climate change. Her research is interdisciplinary and uses spatial analyses to examine sustainable agricultural land use. She has conducted field work in several African nations, including her dissertation work, which focused on evaluating large scale land acquisitions in Ethiopia. The overarching goal of her work is to employ geospatial techniques for improving synergies between agricultural production and ecological sustainability. Previously, she was a graduate instructor at the University of Florida where she taught classes in geography, sustainability, and geographic information systems.
Grady Killeen is a third year PhD candidate in the economics department at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to beginning his PhD, Grady worked as a research associate for Harvard Business School and Precision Development (PxD). While at PxD, he played a leading role in their research into the use of remote sensing tools for program evaluation and the integration of technology stacks into research flows. Grady is currently working on projects relating to technology adoption by micro-enterprises, road safety, and general equilibrium spillovers, in addition to ongoing work examining the use of satellite data to estimate economic parameters.
Hanna Camp is a Director of MEL Technologies with Mercy Corps’ Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) team. Since joining Mercy Corps in 2018, she created and now leads an initiative to improve the accessibility and utilization of MEL Technology across Mercy Corps programs. The MEL Tech initiative established common organizational data technologies and standards for MEL, conducts global data technology trainings, and delivers MEL Tech implementation support reaching Mercy Corps offices in more than 40 countries. Hanna works directly with Mercy Corps teams to implement more efficient analysis pipelines and data-driven processes based on MEL Tech. She also leads multiple grant-funded projects focused on developing resources for specific thematic areas such as reduced access MEL and context analysis.
Before joining Mercy Corps, Hanna worked as a data analyst and project manager for organizations focusing on agricultural climate analytics, smallholder farming services, and long-term international trends forecasting.
James Haithcoat is a Principal Consultant at DevGlobal focusing on the application of cutting-edge geospatial technologies to sustainable development. With a background primarily in Defense Geospatial Intelligence, James has nearly 15 years of experience working with geospatial data, products, and technologies. He has worked as a vector data analyst for local and federal government contracts, performed sensor data analysis and processing, established software engineering teams to automate production tasks, led R&D projects utilizing computer vision and AI/ML, and acted as an innovation lead for large geospatial contracts.
Dr. Kendra Walker is a remote sensing specialist and postdoctoral scholar at the Environmental Markets Lab at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her work analyzing time-series of moderate to high-resolution satellite imagery using high-performance computing and machine learning informs various projects focused on identifying causal relationships between policy, human behavior, and environmental outcomes. Prior to her work at U.C. Santa Barbara, Kendra lived extensively in Gabon and Panama and conducted research on complex issues at the intersection of humans and nature, including farmer-elephant conflict and multi-decadal land tenure and deforestation patterns. Kendra holds a PhD in Natural Resource Management from the University of Michigan.
Dr. Kunwar Singh is a Senior Geospatial Scientist at the AidData research lab and an Affiliate Faculty in the Center for Geospatial Analysis at William & Mary. Kunwar has more than 20 years of experience in remote sensing data acquisition, processing, and analysis, including the applications of light detection and ranging (LiDAR) and drones to measure, map, and model land characteristics and resources. His research is at the nexus of land change and geospatial sciences where he investigates how the terrestrial system can support future land conversions and resource consumption under a changing climate. He uses geospatial data and technologies supplemented with data from ground observations and weather stations to develop workflows for large spatiotemporal data processing, assess broad-scale land change and its implications to natural resources, and measure outcomes of new adaptations to diminishing natural resources
Kyle Emerick received his PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics from UC Berkeley in 2014. His research is in development economics — with a particular focus on the economics of agricultural development. He has studied the role of technology in reducing risk for the smallholder farmers in poor countries, the importance of property rights for rural-urban migration, and the efficacy of farmer field days in boosting technology adoption in India. His work has appeared in journals such as the American Economic Review, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, the Review of Economics and Statistics, and the Journal of Development Economics.
Lauren is an Associate Remote Sensing Specialist at emLab working on projects that combine econometric methods of causal inference with Earth observation data to gain insights into how communities around the world use and conserve natural resources. Lauren uses satellite imagery to map land use and land cover change, crops, and sustainable agriculture practices. Before working at emLab, she used high-resolution airborne imagery and lidar to map vegetation across North America. Lauren holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Geography from UC Santa Barbara and a M.S. in Geography from Portland State University. In her free time, Lauren enjoys cooking, running, biking, and exploring the outdoors with her dog, Ruthie.
Rhiannan Price is Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer and Principal Consultant at DevGlobal Partners. Rhiannan has over 15 years' experience working at the intersection of technology and development, leveraging Artificial Intelligence, very high-resolution satellite imagery, crowdsourcing, and other digital tools in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. She's passionate about the potential for technology to break down our siloes and help us leapfrog to a more resilient, sustainable world.
Richard Caldwell is a Senior Program Officer in the Strategic, Planning, and Management initiative of the Agricultural Development team at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Richard has over 25 years of experience in agriculture and rural development. He started his career in Senegal as a Foreign Service Officer in USAID and later served as the Director for Africa for the Consortium for International Development. In 1998, he started a development consulting firm (Technical Assistance to Non-Government Organizations, or TANGO) and joined the Foundation in 2011.
Rocio is an environmental scientist passionate about leveraging satellite data to address humanity’s challenges. She is a Customer Success Manager for Education & Research at Planet. Prior to that, Rocio worked for over a decade leading the development and adoption of geospatial tools for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction around the globe. Rocio’s experience spans across academia, governments, start-ups, and nonprofits. Her work has been showcased by UNDRR as well as disseminated in scientific journals and conferences.
Seth is a Research Scientist and Data Engineer at AidData. In this role, he conducts research utilizing geospatial data and machine learning, and also designs and develops tools and data infrastructure that improve AidData's capacity to provide and analyze data. He specializes in building data processing and management systems, designing and operationalizing novel research methods, and developing applications that utilize distributed computing. Seth developed GeoQuery, AidData’s free spatial data platform, which enables individuals and organizations without significant computing power or data science expertise to freely find and aggregate geospatial data. Seth's current research efforts include exploring gender bias in machine learning methods to predict development indicators using geospatial data, and understanding the impacts of Chinese financed development projects around the world. Seth completed his BS and MS in Electrical Engineering at Villanova University and a Ph.D. in Computational Geography at William & Mary.
Dr. Narayan leads Mathematica's climate change practice at the enterprise level, leveraging a team equipped with expertise across multiple sectors and experience across the globe, to design solutions at the intersection of policy, data, and technology to address climate change. Dr. Narayan has more than 20 years of experience conducting economic analysis and evaluations to support agriculture, climate change, and environmental policy. She remains laser-focused on applying principles of economic theory and behavioral economics on data to sharpen the impact of programs and policies. Her research aims to identify sustainable, cost-effective, and just policies and programs that address underlying market failures and behavioral constraints and consider distributional and equity considerations.