InsideNGO’s 2016 Excellence Award winners: Carolyn Boyce of Pathfinder International, Line Kewe of Literacy Bridge International, Dr Sandee Pyne (nominator of Dr. Si Thura) of CPI, Samir Souidi of Population Council, Elizabeth Atherton of Nuru International, Sarah Unninayar of Pathfinder International, Bonnie Karns of ICMA, Kenneth Repp of EDC.
The InsideNGO Operational Excellence Awards recognize the important role that operations play in the work of NGOs and celebrates the innovation, collaboration, and accomplishments of InsideNGO’s members.
2016's winners in their categories are:
- Cross Operations - Line Kewe
- Cross Operations - Pathfinder International's Program Systems Unit
- Emerging Leader - Dr. Si Thura
- Finance - Elizabeth Atherton
- Grants & Contracts - Kenneth Repp
- Human Resources - Bonnie Karns
- Information Technology - Samir Souidi
We also had a number of other outstanding nominees. See the Honorable Mentions below.
Line Kewe, Literacy Bridge International
Line Kewe’s dedication and hard work have led to the creation of foundational systems that will allow Literacy Bridge to function more efficiently in the present and scale more rapidly and sustainably in the future. Line’s contributions included helping to design the program budget management system, supporting the development and piloting of an automated budgeting request system, helping to create and implement HR policies for field offices, and developing a travel policy to ensure adherence to industry standards.
Program Systems Unit, Pathfinder International
(Carolyn Boyce, Jenna Olson, Sarah Unninayar, Emma Gorin, Marcos Benedetti)
The Program Systems Unit of Pathfinder International transformed their paper-based compliance system to a digital one, which has had a major impact on their ability to ensure USG-required reproductive health/family planning and environmental compliance. Through digital checklists completed at a local health facility, the app automatically creates corrective action plans for Pathfinder staff to review with facility staff. Staff in the field and at HQ can see visit reports, results, and corrective action plans through an online monitoring and reporting portal website, as well as conduct cross-project analysis. After a successful pilot in Nigeria, and roll-out in Bangladesh and Tanzania, the team is currently coordinating roll-outs in Kenya, Mozambique, and other locations.
Dr. Si Thura, Community Partners International (CPI)
Since Dr. Si Thura established CPI’s Yangon office in 2009, the organization has grown to serve almost one million people across Myanmar. As Program Director and then Country Director, Dr. Si Thura has focused on bringing lifesaving healthcare to under-served populations – remote rural and conflict-affected communities, the internally displaced, and those living in extreme poverty and marginalization. In support of CPI's founding principle of community-led health care, Dr. Si Thura has championed and expanded CPI's network of community-based partner organizations, and supported these partners in their growing roles as health providers and leaders. As a young, committed, and compassionate Myanmar physician and development professional, Dr. Si Thura personifies the value of local leadership in health systems strengthening, and continues to inspire many of his colleagues and peers. Dr. Si Thura's evidence-based advocacy and principled stance for health equity have helped to broaden perspectives within government and influence public health policy-making in Myanmar.
Elizabeth Atherton, Nuru International
Nuru International’s flagship project in Kenya faced several challenges, essentially needing the entire local finance department to be rebuilt while solving pressing operational and regulatory issues. Elizabeth Atherton took important steps to address this need, in addition to her regular responsibilities of managing finance and accounting. She helped with transitioning finance staff as well as hiring and training local replacements, including a newly formed internal audit department. Additionally, the Nuru Kenya project spun off a for-profit entity and in that process Beth tackled associated challenges, including passing government audit and getting board approval. This has strengthened Nuru Kenya’s foundations and ensured sustainability of the now fully Kenyan-led organization.
Grants & Contracts
Kenneth Repp, Education Development Center (EDC)
Ken Repp joined EDC as the only grants/contracts person supporting EDC’s international work. He brings both deep knowledge and empathy to helping EDC accomplish its mission in ways that is consistent with donor expectations and requirements. Ken took on the challenge of demystifying the regulatory terminology and applied all that is necessary to make programs and projects work together successfully. Ken’s leadership has demonstrated time and time again practical ways to analyze complex problems and find solid solutions. In addition, Ken’s ability to create a culture of collaboration extends beyond EDC as he shares his knowledge of grants and contracts with peer agencies. EDC is stronger, better managed, and fully compliant with donor requirements as a result of Ken’s collaboration and leadership.
Bonnie Karns, International City/County Management Association (ICMA)
Bonnie joined ICMA following a downsizing and reorganization. Providing both strategic guidance and hands-on operational management, Bonnie has dramatically changed how ICMA engages, empowers, and develops staff. Bonnie has streamlined processes around operational HR, updated the performance management process, worked inclusively to transform staff engagement – there is now a staff led Health and Happiness Committee – and is building structure around staff compensation. Like many, ICMA states that their most important asset is their staff, and Bonnie has helped make that a reality.
Samir Souidi, Population Council
The world’s refugee crisis has grown significantly over the last several years. Technology can help contribute positively to the needs of the most vulnerable populations, particularly to improve prevention and responding to violence against girls in refugee camps. Samir Souidi designed a simple, technically elegant, and immediately updatable Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interview survey system (QueryX) – the first ever deployed in refugee camps – to enable researchers to gather critical data from refugees – even if the survey respondents cannot read or write. The respondents interact with an Android device and respond to a pre-recorded voice in their own language by clicking on simple images to select responses, ensuring that their answers are private and not known to the data collector. Because Samir designed a cloud-based solution, the survey system was easily updated, the data was immediately downloaded, and the system was less dependent on a consistent power supply. The solution can be replicated in other studies, allowing more timely, accurate, and extensive (geographic and numeric) research to be conducted in these key, extremely vulnerable populations. The United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) invited Samir to present the solution to DFID staff members and partners to encourage other projects to utilize this dependable, cost-effective, robust data collection system.
- Emily Varga, NCBA CLUSA
- The Global ERP Project Team, Wildlife Conservation Society
- Cross Operations Team, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
- Iraq Finance Team, Heartland Alliance International
Grants & Contracts
- Abdul Ghaffar, Concern Worldwide
- Robert Krusen, URC
- Jacqueline Basile, Brookings Institute
- Reema Sen, Chief People Officer, BRAC International
- Mark Reilley and the Big Data Team, Pact