Capstone Courses and Projects

Margaret Sanger Center International at Planned Parenthood of NYC and USAID

Evaluation for USAID of Margaret Sanger Center International’s Sexual Reproductive Health Programs in Southern Africa and Mongolia
In 1998, the Matching Grant Program of the Office of Private and Voluntary Cooperation, Bureau for Humanitarian Response of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), awarded the Margaret Sanger Center International (MSCI) a five-year grant to provide support for a program entitled “Strengthening NGO and PVO Capacity in Reproductive and Sexual Health: Mongolia and South Africa.” The Capstone team was asked to conduct the final evaluation of the grant to MSCI and make recommendations with respect to three levels: the process (how effective were the processes used to carry out the project), the impact (find out about the depth of the program’s impact on the targeted population), and the strategy (what strategies should be maintained or modified for future development of the Africa Regional Office and MSCI’s worldwide activities?). The team, through its intensive document review and field visits to Mongolia and South Africa, and with the assistance of a South African consultant—who did fieldwork in Zambia for the evaluation—conducted a comprehensive review and qualitative and quantitative analysis of the project.

NYU Wagner and Eduardo Mondlane University

Program for an Accelerated Transition to Public Administration Capacity
In order to address the urgent need to develop the human resource capacity in public and health policy and management in Mozambique, NYU Wagner in 2003 was invited to offer an NYU Wagner Master’s degree at Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM) through an NYU Wagner-UEM partnership. The proposed three-year program seeks to build a cadre of effective and qualified public administrators within Mozambique, who are trained at the Master’s level. The temporary, transitional degree program at UEM would emphasize performance management, which includes financial and information management, ethics, the use of information technology, community relations, and conflict management —all to meet the needs of public sector reform, including health sector management reform and information technology capacity building. Working with a team of students from UEM, the Capstone team undertook a feasibility study and developed an implementation plan for this project.

San Juan de Dios Hospital, Barcelona, Spain

Pediatric Emergency Department Quality Study in Pulmonary Medicine
Pediatric Emergency Department Quality Study in Pulmonary Medicine San Juan de Dios Hospital is a Catholic teaching hospital in Barcelona, Spain that specializes in pediatrics, obstetrics, and gynecology. It receives a substantial number of pediatric emergency visits numbering approximately 200 a week. While enrolled in the Wagner semester abroad program at partner school ESADE, the Capstone student was asked to design and implement a quality study in the pediatric emergency department. The study was based on four quality indicators for pulmonary medicine and was conducted in two phases from October through December 2003. The purpose was to identify areas that were “in need of improvement” as well as areas that scored a “satisfactory” when treating children with breathing difficulty due to bronchial asthma, bronchitis, community acquired pneumonia, and/or laryngitis. The quality study was a pilot study for a continuous quality improvement initiative in the pediatric emergency department.

The Trickle Up Program

The Impact of the Trickle Up Program’s Business Skills Training on Entrepreneurs in Bolivia, India, and Uganda
The Trickle Up Program (TUP) is an international nonprofit organization that delivers seed capital grants and business training to low-income entrepreneurs who want to launch their own microenterprises. TUP implements its program in partnership with community agencies that identify and train entrepreneurs using TUP’s curriculum and materials. The Capstone team assessed the impact of TUP’s business skills training program on entrepreneurs and partner agencies in Bolivia, India, and Uganda. The team developed two evaluation instruments to capture the impact of TUP’s training, documented best training practices, and outlined recommendations to help TUP standardize and streamline its training program in a manner that can be adapted to diverse cultures.

United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services

United Nations Human Resources Reform: Study of Industry Best Practices
In Resolution A/RES/57/305, the General Assembly requested the Office of Internal Oversight Services to study the impact of the mandated human resources reforms and report to the 59th session. To assist in the completion of this report, the Capstone team, with the support of the Internal Management Consulting Services (IMCS) staff, will provide benchmarks from international organizations in the public and private sectors on human resources policy and practice. The Capstone team is focusing on three human resource areas, which include mobility, staff selection, and strategic planning. Based on a survey sent to more than 50 international organizations, the Capstone team will benchmark international human resources best practices and provide recommendations on mobility, staff selection, and strategic planning.

American Cancer Society

The State of Cancer in Developing Countries of Asia and Latin America
The Capstone team evaluated the burden of cancer in five developing countries: China, India, Mexico, Dominican Republic, and El Salvador. These countries have developed economically and socially to levels which place them at risk for significantly increasing cancer rates and mortality. For each country, the team assessed the current state of cancer; identified risk factors; evaluated the public and private health care systems; assessed gaps in prevention, treatment, and access to care; identified potential partners for ACS to collaborate with (mainly government agencies and NGOs); and provided recommendations on entry opportunities and best practices. Immigrant populations from each country within the U.S. were also analyzed to determine how ACS can best conduct outreach to immigrant groups for domestic cancer intervention programs.

Research Center of the University of the Pacific

Impact of Intergovernmental Transfers
Established in 1972, the Research Center of the University of the Pacific (CIUP) is affiliated with the University of the Pacific in Lima, Peru. Its principal mission is to study the most pressing economic issues and social development challenges that exist in Peru. The Capstone student worked on several projects with the University, primarily on the topic of fiscal decentralization. The student’s main project was analyzing the effects that intergovernmental transfers have on the fiscal behavior of local governments in Peru. In Peru, transfers help local governments finance both their current and capital expenditures. However, both provincial and municipal governments have come to depend on transfers from the central government to finance their expenditures rather than to rely on their own source revenue. The Capstone student was part of a team that examined the relationship between intergovernmental transfers and fiscal behavior. In addition, the student translated existing documents on the subject matter into English.

United Nations Capital Development Fund

Information System to Analyze Lessons Learned in United Nations Capital Development Fund Program Evaluations
The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) is a member of the United Nations Development Program group, established as a special purpose fund primarily for small-scale investment through local development programs and microfinance operations in the poorest countries. The Capstone team extracted lessons learned from project evaluations and developed an information system for the UNCDF website based on selected criteria of project type, year, country, and schedule to establish a sample size for the pilot database system. Categories of lessons learned, project findings, and recommendations were developed to establish search mechanisms within the information system for easy access and analysis.

World Resources Institute, Consultant for World Bank

World Bank Community Driven Development Implications
The Capstone team was responsible for examining the World Bank’s community driven development (CDD) approach on natural resource management, rural development, and poverty reduction. The team was involved in extensive research to define community driven development as a development technique, assess its state of practice under World Bank operations, and explore the effectiveness of the CDD approach on natural resource management (NRM) in particular. As an integral component of the research methodology, the Capstone team reviewed numerous World Bank project assessment documents and produced a comprehensive database encompassing all relevant information. Key issues addressed in the analysis were that of representation, accountability, the role of discretion in local empowerment, and evaluation of the mechanisms used to encourage the selection of natural resource management by local communities.

Centro Educativo Ixtlyollotl

The Impact of the Centro Educativo Ixtlyollotl on the State of Puebla, Mexico
The Capstone team measured the impact of the Centro Educativo Ixtlyollotl (CEI) on the indigenous communities of Puebla. CEI is a non-governmental organization dedicated to developing the indigenous communities of Puebla, through formal and informal education and economic development projects. The CEI provides services to 14 indigenous communities and has 700 students enrolled in grades K-12. The purpose of the evaluation was to determine the impact that the CEI has had on the communities that they have been serving for more than 18 years. The team measured the impact by conducting surveys and focus groups. The results from the quantitative and qualitative analysis show that the CEI has had a significant effect in improving the socioeconomic well-being and social capital of the people in the region.

International Organization for Adolescents

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Rural- Based Micro-Credit: A Study of the GirlsTalk! Micro-Credit Pilot Program in Ukewere, Tanzania
International Organization for Adolescents (IOFA) was founded in 1999 with the mission to advance the health and wellbeing of adolescents throughout the world, by providing technical assistance and program development to local partners. The Capstone team developed an evaluation design to measure the process and impact of the GirlsTalks! pilot microcredit program to determine whether the pilot program can serve as a model for other marginalized communities. The evaluation is a quasi-experimental, beforeafter design using both qualitative and quantitative instruments. Additionally, an evaluation implementation manual is incorporated to ensure the greatest validity and reliability during the evaluation implementation scheduled for August 2004.

International Organization for Adolescents

Youth Trafficking in Estonia
Recognizing the growing number of young people trafficked for forced labor, International Organization for Adolescents (IOFA) is working to educate and empower those at risk in both source and destination countries. One of its most concerted efforts has been in the Baltic countries of Estonia and Latvia. To this end, the Capstone team has compiled a compendium of resources that will assist IOFA and its partners in their work on youth trafficking in Estonia. The compendium includes the following tools: a literature review documenting background information on the problem; a summary of news reports and current data; cases of trafficked youth; and research instruments that can be used to survey and interview knowledgeable organizations.

Planejamento Arquitetnico e Ambiental (Rio de Janeiro, Brasil) and NYU Wagner

Integrating Favelas into the Urban and Social Fabric in Rio de Janeiro
The Favela-Bairro program is a $600 million program funded by two contracts signed with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and sponsored by the Municipalidade de Habitao. The main objective of the program is to integrate favelas into the city, endowing them with all urban infrastructure, public services, and social networks afforded to the citizens of Rio de Janeiro. The client, Planejamento Arquitetnico e Ambiental (PAA), was the chief designer/planner for the physical interventions associated with Favela-Bairro. PAA asked the Capstone team to evaluate the successes and failures of its interventions in one specific favela, Vidigal, by interviewing resident association staff and other favela residents. The team traveled to Rio de Janeiro to meet with various actors and stakeholders involved with this program, conduct interviews and other field research, and make recommendations for future interventions. To aid NYU Wagner in cultivating relationships for future Capstone opportunities in Brazil, the team also interviewed NGOs providing social services and programs that complement these upgrading projects in the favelas.

Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management

Analyzing Traffic Management Issues in Lima, Peru
As urbanization and population continue to increase in Latin America, the capacity of existing transportation systems to provide safe, clean, and effective transportation will be surpassed. In turn, those functions dependent on transportation— economic development, quality of life, and urban vitality—will suffer. The Capstone team focused on Lima where traffic is chaotic, with thoroughfares congested most of the day, high journey costs and times, and the highest accident rate in Latin America. The challenges facing Lima are: the consolidation of urban transportation policy; consolidation of the regulatory setting of the Municipal Urban Transportation Office; and training the public bodies directly involved in the transportation sector. As a result of this research, the team will convene transportation leaders in the United States and officials from Lima through a televideo conference to discuss initial findings.

United Nations Capital Development Fund

Decentralization and Local Development Support Program in Yemen
The Capstone team was asked by United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) to look at the current arrangements of basic public service provision in Yemen, focusing on primary education, health and rural water services, and the relationship between the public and local authorities in the delivery of these services. In order to fulfill the goals of the project’s mission, the team researched international examples of decentralization efforts and spent three weeks conducting field work in Yemen, interviewing officials in the central and local governments, as well as local branch officers of international organizations. Based on collected data, the Capstone team presented UNCDF with details of the status of decentralization and service delivery in Yemen. Additionally, the group highlighted issues in the implementation of the current system and made key recommendations for future work and targeted intervention.

United Nations Capital Development Fund

Possibilities for Own Source Revenue and Local Service Delivery in Cambodia
The Capstone team worked with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), the Kingdom of Cambodia’s Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), and the Cambodian Development Resource Institute (CDRI), a local nongovernmental organization, in the identification of own source revenue potential for the local level of government in Cambodia. The team conducted extensive field research during a three-week mission to Cambodia in January 2004. This research included careful examination of the existing revenue structure as well as the development and piloting of a field survey instrument and methodology for assessing possibilities for own source revenue generation. Through analysis of the research, the team further refined the field survey instrument and methodology and identified areas for future research. Using this methodology, CDRI has continued field work in the area of own source revenue. Results from this research will be used by MEF to determine the next steps in the course of piloting an own source revenue scheme in late 2004. Drawing on their work in Cambodia, the Capstone team also explored and proposed opportunities for assessing possibilities for devolving, or in some instances, beginning service delivery at the local level. The strategies for own source revenue generation and local service delivery will be used by UNCDF in the Decentralization Support Program that it is launching in Cambodia.

World Bank Institute

African Municipal Digital Radio Training Program: Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda
The Capstone team developed a satellite radio-training course, comprised of five modules, aimed at citizens and local government authorities in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. The modules will be broadcast in these countries with the intention of educating the community, creating more dialogue between local government officials and citizens, and encouraging greater public participation in the budgeting process. The first three modules explore the basic concepts of participatory budgeting, stakeholder identification, and local government revenues and expenditures. The fourth module contains illustrative examples pertaining to participatory budgeting, while the final module provides listeners with “tools” to help them apply the concepts that they have learned. The Capstone team also created a workbook and glossary to be used in conjunction with the radio modules to reinforce the listener’s understanding of the concepts of participatory budgeting and encourage application of participatory budgeting concepts to daily situations.