Capstone Courses and Projects

Education for Employment Foundation

A Comprehensive Monitoring and Evaluation System
"The Education For Employment Foundation (EFE) works in the Middle East and North Africa to provide disadvantaged youth with skills to improve the economic future of both themselves and their countries. EFE accomplishes this objective by providing unemployed youth with cutting­edge professional training that leads directly to job opportunities. The Capstone team was commissioned by EFE to create a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework to gauge the success and impact of EFE's programs. The team first undertook a literature review of monitoring and evaluation techniques and looked at similar organizations' M&E frameworks to brainstorm for innovative and creative ideas. The team then drew up a logframe with EFE's goals, results, and indicators. Based on the indicators, the team created a host of tools that will enable EFE to carry out a continuous process of monitoring and evaluating. The Capstone team is delivering a handbook to EFE, incorporating all the M&E tools to be used, instructions on how they should be used, and the frequency of use. The team hopes that this handbook will enable EFE to implement monitoring and evaluating processes that are tailored to individual program and country needs. "

Near East Foundation

Re­Evaluating Program and Organizational Focus and its Coherence with Current Trends in the Nonprofit Environment
"Following an almost 100 year existence, the Near East Foundation (NEF) is at a pivotal point in reassessing its place among nonprofit organizations in a similar market. NEF's programs consist mainly of agriculture, education, health care and income generation projects that help communities find means to provide these elements for themselves. By conducting an environmental scan and interviewing individuals in the nonprofit world, the Capstone team gathered information to gain a comprehensive understanding of NEF's current role in the nonprofit community and possible alternatives to its future programs and direction. Using this information, the Capstone team highlighted NEF's comparative advantages and unique strengths in a core statement that can provide direction and guidance in future organizational and programmatic decisions. "

Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management

Benchmarking Transit Improvement Processes in Megacities of the Developing World
"Mayor Bloomberg's introduction of PlaNYC 2030 represented a pivotal moment for the future strategy of New York City. Developed out of the recognition that the City's infrastructure, particularly its transit system, is too old to accommodate an expected resident population of over 9 million people by 2030, and a commitment to combating climate change through green initiatives, PlaNYC 2030 is an exciting challenge to move our celebrated city forward into a sustainable future. The Capstone team was tasked with researching and benchmarking the process of three comparable megacities – Bogota, Buenos Aires, and Cairo – as they expanded their transit systems while coping with challenges similar to those New York City is confronting. The Capstone team's research for the Rudin Center will provide practitioners from the transportation community, city planners, and officials with important insights, lessons learned, and best practices that could be applicable to New York City's future transit system expansion. "

The Synergos Institute

Developing an Evaluation Framework for a Global Network of Philanthropists
"The Synergos Institute is dedicated to bringing together governments, businesses, civil society organizations, individual leaders, and philanthropists to address the underlying causes of poverty and inequity by employing innovative strategies that lead to meaningful, long­term change. Synergos requested that the Capstone team create a set of assessment tools for appraising one of its programs, the Global Philanthropists Circle. The Global Philanthropists Circle is an international network of philanthropists dedicated to eliminating poverty and increasing equity through collaboration and targeted giving initiatives. The Capstone team developed an evaluation framework and a set of measurement tools to assess the impact of the network activities on the members' philanthropy. These tools will enable Synergos to support a more effecive and strategic group of philanthropists."

The World Bank

Women and Children in Post­Conflict Situations: Comparison of Multilateral Development Banks' Responses to The World Bank
"Numerous issues affect women and children in post­conflict and emergency situations. These include sexual violence and rape, coping with the deaths of family members, domestic violence, and economic hardships, among others. In February 2007, the World Bank introduced a new Rapid Response Policy which laid out a framework for a more rapid and effective response to crises and emergencies. The Capstone team compared this policy to similar policies of other Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), namely the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The Capstone team conducted extensive research, interviewed key Bank staff, and produced a written report on its findings. The report included specific observations on the Bank's work in comparison with other MDBs, and gave recommendations on how the Bank might better meet the needs of this vulnerable subset of the population. "

Helen Keller International

Avian Influenza Pandemic Preparedness at an International Nonprofit Organization
"Helen Keller International (HKI) is a non­profit organization devoted to fighting and treating preventable blindness and malnutrition, with programs in 22 countries. HKI sought the assistance of the Capstone team to develop a business continuity plan for its New York headquarters and country offices should business opera­tions be interrupted due to rapid onset of an avian influenza pandemic. To address this critical issue, the Capstone team devised a four­stage methodology which consists of: 1) Background research on avian influenza, including the World Health Organization's (WHO) six phases of pandemic alert, and identification of best practices for continuity planning; 2) quali­tative data derived from interviews with key administrators from comparable organizations and HKI country directors; 3) model scenarios for pandemic pre­paredness based on the WHO's six phases; and 4) a focus group at the HKI Indonesia office to identify key questions and concerns for pandemic preparedness planning. From research findings and interviews, the Capstone team devised a preparedness plan and human resource policy recommendations for business continuity. "

Hesperian Foundation

Evaluation of Hesperian Foundation's Publication: Where There Is No Doctor
"Hesperian Foundation is a nonprofit publisher of books that provide practical, life­saving medical information. Hesperian's best­known publication, “Where There Is No Doctor,” is used by medical missionaries, Peace Corp volunteers, and NGOs around the world. The organization's simple database of anecdotal evidence and buyer information, however, cannot track the distribution of books or measure how the book communicates information and affects health outcomes. To provide Hesperian with an assessment of how “Where There Is No Doctor” is used and distributed, the Capstone team created three online surveys, in both English and Spanish. This was disseminated to a sample of individual and organizational buyers from the last two years, as well as those who received the book gratis. The final report analyzed the surveys' results to guide Hesperian's future strategic plan­ning and publication development, as well as provided a replicable survey and case study methodology for future evaluations."

Relief Web

Building a Communication Strategy for ReliefWeb
"Launched in 1996 by the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ReliefWeb is a website that assists the international humanitarian community by delivering timely, reliable, and relevant information concerning global emergencies and disasters. ReliefWeb posts vital information 24 hours a day from over 2,000 stakeholder sources (including the UN, OCHA, national governments, NGO field and HQ offices, and the International Red Cross). ReliefWeb partnered with the Capstone team to create a communication strategy targeting these stakeholders to: 1) promote further awareness and usage of ReliefWeb; and 2) encourage stakeholders to deepen their partnerships and increase their contribution of information to ReliefWeb. To accomplish this goal, the Capstone team consulted communications and marketing experts to gain insight into research methodology. Stakeholders were interviewed (including a field visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) to better understand how the humanitarian relief community obtains and disseminates information. From the findings, the team created targeted messages tailored to each of the stakeholder groups. "

Transatlantic Partners Against AIDS/ Global Business Coalition

Evaluating the Performance of a Russian NGO in HIV/AIDS Policy and Advocacy
"Epidemiologists have called the increasing incidence of HIV/AIDS in the Russian Federation the second wave of the pandemic. In Russia, stigma and lack of services for most­at­risk groups such as injecting drug users is a real threat against efforts to curb the epidemic. Transatlantic Partners Against AIDS/Global Business Coalition (TPAA/GBC) has been working with the Russian Interfactional Deputies' Working Group on HIV/AIDS, a coalition of State Duma members, since April 2004. The Moscow­based Policy and Leadership Team performs education and advocacy activities to raise awareness and inform the coalition on a range of policy issues related to HIV/AIDS. The Capstone team conducted an evaluation and analysis of the Policy and Leadership Program and its effectiveness to date. The qualitative assessment included interviews with TPAA staff as well as other partners and stake­holders. The final report included recommendations for the Policy and Leadership Team and its role in the to­be­merged TPAA/GBC organization. "

Asia Society

Asia Society's Role in the Intermediary Education Market
"The Capstone team worked with the Asia Society to provide strategic recommendations for achieving the organization's goals of producing globally competent students through its position as an educational intermediary. Using Asia Society's whole school model of international education as a platform for analysis, the team's work included: visiting public schools; interviewing school directors, administrators and students; examining the current landscape of Asia Society's activities; analyzing the methodology of four comparable organizations; researching different definitions and implementations of international education; and creating and distributing a market survey. Through this process, the team came to understand the funding sources, interests, and broader needs amongst potential stakeholders in the domestic market for school development services, and as a result, the Capstone team presented to the Asia Society a package of key information, insights, and recommendations regarding its expansion plans as an educational intermediary. "

Huairou Commission

Developing Participatory Instruments and Administrative Guidelines for Evaluating and Monitoring the Women's Land Link Africa Program
"The Huairou Commission is a global coalition of networks, institutions, and individual professionals that links grassroots women's community development organizations to partners. The networks gain access to resources, information sharing and political space, whereas the development professionals are linked to on­the­ground practice. Currently, the coalition focuses its joint efforts on five campaigns: Governance; AIDS; Disaster; Land and Housing; and Peace Building. The Huairou Commission Capstone project goal is to design a monitoring and evaluation process, including instruments and administration guidelines, specifically for the land and housing program called Women's Land Link Africa (WLLA). Currently, the WLLA program participants have no stan­dardized processes or goals to monitor and evaluate their service delivery or demonstrate results as part of accountability to key stakeholders. The processes developed will be grassroots focused, participatory, have simple/accessible language, reflect the overall Huairou Commission vision, and reflect aspects important to Huairou Commission partners. "