Kayla Boisvert Collected Data in Nepal on a Save the Children SUPER Fellowship

In the summer of 2016, Kayla Boisvert spent a month in Nepal on a Save-University Partnership for Education Research (SUPER) Fellowship through Save the Children US. She wrote the following about her experience:


My assignment was to analyze the Community-based Education Management Information System (CEMIS) process and product and make recommendations for improvement. I worked with a local translator/research assistant to answer the research questions: How is CEMIS data collected and used by various stakeholders? How does CEMIS mobilize the community/how can it better mobilize the community? How can children be involved in the process? How can CEMIS data be used by SC’s other (non-education) projects? How can CEMIS supplement Nepal’s nationwide Education Management Information System (EMIS)?


Through interviews and focus groups with community members, partner staff, SC staff, and local officials, I gathered information about the CEMIS process and product, which I then presented to and discussed with partner staff, SC staff, and Kathmandu University researchers.


In Nepal, Save the Children (SC) works to ensure access to schooling by all children, especially children of rural, low-income, and religious/ethnic minority backgrounds, as well as children with disabilities. One way they do this is by collecting data yearly on the number of children that are out of school to better design and monitor their interventions.


The Community-based Education Management Information System (CEMIS), is the process and tool by which they collect this data, going household-to-household in all of SC’s catchment area communities to interview parents to gather information on all household members. CEMIS is unique in that it (a) is a census design, rather than sample, so that the most accurate data is captured on every individual living in the community; (b) gathers data not only on enrollment in school, but also on individual reasons for dropout or not having gone to school; (c) captures data not only on educational indicators, but also on health, safety, and economic indicators; and (d) engages local enumerators and builds the capacity of a community-level education committee in order to mobilize the community around ensuring access to education by all children.


The SUPER Fellowship has been a tremendous opportunity to further the skills and knowledge I have been developing at UMass on how programs use data to better design, implement, and evaluate their interventions. It has offered me many opportunities to learn about a culture that is different from my own and from those within which I have worked. And it offered me the guidance of seasoned researchers at SC and helpful connections in the field, which I hope to maintain throughout my career.