ANALYZING THE COSTS AND BENEFITS OF AN URBAN REFORESTATION PROJECT
C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group is a global network of 97 mayors representing member cities that are engaged in low-carbon pathway development in order to confront the climate crisis. The member city of Freetown, Sierra Leone, has initiated the #FreetownTheTreeTown campaign to enhance climate resilience by reforesting parts of its territory with one million trees. Freetown City Council sought to understand the project's sustainability and identify areas for improvement. A Capstone team was tasked with conducting a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) to assess the potential financial, social, economic, and environmental impacts of the campaign. The team reviewed urban reforestation case studies, methodologies for quantifying non-monetary benefits, and carbon trading mechanisms. They also conducted workshops with the client to understand project scope and stakeholder engagements and analyzed program data. The team’s final deliverables consisted of a CBA model, a memorandum detailing outcomes and recommendations, and a presentation to C40 Cities and the campaign project team.
IMPROVING ACCESS IN LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS FOR STUDENTS WITH VISUAL DISABILITIES
Ek Kadam Aur, Hindi for “One Step Ahead”, is a nonprofit organization that provides education and skill-building resources to disadvantaged children in India and Nepal. Their High School Leadership Program (HSLP) offers world-class education to high school students in India. Ek Kadam Aur enlisted a Capstone team to aid in the development of their Technology for the Visually Challenged Program. Since the existing curriculum has not been adapted to meet the needs of students with visual impairments, the team was tasked with evaluating its accessibility and effectiveness. The team conducted a gap analysis to identify limitations of the current program structure and developed specific recommendations to improve accessibility and the inclusion of visually challenged students.
IMPROVING ACCESS TO SEXUAL REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SERVICES FOR ADOLESCENTS IN KINSHASA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
Médecins du Monde (MdM) is a medical and humanitarian organization providing care to the most vulnerable populations in the world. For over 30 years, MdM has supported Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) projects, and is especially committed to providing SRH services in crisis and development settings. MdM engaged a Capstone team to identify telehealth approaches to improve SRH education and promote accessibility to SRH services for adolescents in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. In order to assess SRH interventions and specific needs in Kinshasa, the team conducted qualitative and literature-based research, created an environmental scan, and interviewed youth and institutional stakeholder groups. Using its research, the team created two digital survey tools and developed an annotated bibliography with existing scientific and operational studies on SRH interventions in low-resource settings. Based on its findings, the team proposed contextualized recommendations for MdM to guide future SRH strategy and efforts.
IMPROVING MONITORING, EVALUATION, AND LEARNING TOOLS FOR LONG-TERM IMPACT ASSESSMENT
The Uganda Village Project (UVP) is a nonprofit organization that facilitates community health and well-being projects in rural Uganda. Their programming focuses on access to education and preventative services for HIV/AIDS, malaria, reproductive health, water, sanitation, and hygiene. UVP engaged a Capstone team to evaluate its current Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) tools and processes, and provide evidence-based recommendations for improvement. The team conducted a literature review on MEL best practices across various community health development programs. The team used its findings to develop strategies for consolidating existing survey tools, simplifying questionnaire design, and standardizing administrative procedures. The team presented its findings to UVP’s on-site staff and developed a revised survey tool with the aim of collecting analyzable data for long-term outcome and impact measurement.
DEVELOPING A SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT METRICS FRAMEWORK FOR SUSTAINABLE FARMING
Hilltribe Organics (HTO) is a Northern Thailand-based social enterprise dedicated to improving the living standards of small farmers and sustaining their communities. HTO aims to protect the environment through sustainable farming, improve human health with organic free-range egg products, and create a lasting social impact by enhancing farmers’ family income and women’s economic independence. HTO enlisted a Capstone team to develop a framework to measure and track the social and environmental impact of HTO’s practices. The team evaluated the impact of B-Corp and Biodynamic certifications, reviewed the literature on common impact measurement practices, conducted a landscape analysis on five comparable enterprises, and interviewed HTO’s business partners. The team synthesized its findings in a final report, providing recommendations on data collection and appropriate impact metrics to guide HTO’s strategic development endeavors.
ASSESSING AND DEVELOPING TOOLS FOR A SUCCESSFUL PRODUCT LAUNCH
CholPori is a web-based, self-driven learning application that enables students in Bangladesh to enhance their literary learning both inside and outside the classroom. An estimated two-thirds of students in Bangladesh are currently reading below grade level literacy standards. In order to assess their application, which began its launch in January 2022, CholPori enlisted a Capstone team to create a product testing plan and data collection strategy. The team conducted a context and market analysis, using its results to develop a Classroom Implementation Assessment Tool and a post-launch usability survey. The data collected through the assessment tool and survey was designed to evaluate impact and inform CholPori’s strategy. With evidence-based research and analysis, the team has helped lay the groundwork for CholiPori’s expansion into the Bangladeshi educational technology market.
DEVELOPING THE STRATEGIC DIRECTION FOR A UK-BASED FISCAL HOST FOLLOWING BREXIT
Global Dialogue is an independent, international platform for philanthropic partnership, enabling funders to work together to advance human rights and social change within countries in the European Union (EU). Fiscal host organizations offer incubation and operational support for grants and small funders. Global Dialogue engaged a Capstone team to help determine its strategic direction as a UK-based fiscal host following Brexit. The team was tasked with evaluating the potential costs and benefits of partnering with an EU entity, establishing its own operation in an EU jurisdiction, or maintaining its current status. Using information obtained from desktop research and stakeholder interviews, the team prepared a final report outlining strategic options for Global Dialogue in the context of broader trends within the philanthropy and fiscal host sector.
ANALYZING THE DEVOLVING WATER SECTOR IN KENYA
The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) is Britain’s leading independent think tank on international development and humanitarian issues. The ODI Development and Public Finance group has been working with NYU to develop an analytical framework for understanding the impact of intergovernmental finance arrangements on public service delivery in developing nations. ODI tasked a Capstone team with testing this framework in the devolving water sector of Kenya. The team collected data and conducted field interviews with key Kenyan stakeholders, including subnational and nongovernmental officials in four counties: Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Kiambu, and Murang’a. With its findings, the team prepared a final report with recommendations for ODI to develop their efforts to reform intergovernmental financial arrangements and improve the delivery of water and other public services.
ASSESSING THE MUNICIPAL FINANCE ECOSYSTEM IN TANZANIA
The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) Local Development Finance team supports local governments and economies in public service delivery in the world’s least developed countries. UNCDF has been asked by the government of Tanzania to assist in the development of a municipal bond market. UNCDF engaged a Capstone team to assess the current spectrum of subnational development finance options and the larger intergovernmental and subnational fiscal ecosystem in Tanzania. The team conducted primary and secondary research to identify possible market opportunities for municipal finance in the country. The team synthesized its findings into a final report, providing recommendations for intergovernmental and subnational fiscal and governance reforms that could enhance the creditworthiness of subnational governments in Tanzania.