After starting as a Marketing and Communications fellow in spring 2018, Danielle officially joined the TechChange team in a role split between Instructional Design and Creative. Prior to TechChange, she was a Program Associate at the Society for International Development – Washington Chapter, where she worked on event planning, graphic design, and marketing projects for the international development community.

We recently sat down with Danielle to learn more about her background and experience at TechChange. Welcome to the team!

Q: So, tell us more about yourself. How did you end up working in design and international development?

Well, that story begins where my-would-have-been medical career ends. Growing up, I always thought I’d end up in the medical field. But after completing a social innovation fellowship with Kaya Collaborative in the Philippines after my freshman year of college, I realized I could make still make a positive impact in the world without having to breakdown over biochemistry. I eagerly switched my major to International Relations and have been pursuing opportunities to work and think globally ever since.

As for graphic design, it was a random hobby I picked up in college. Designing t-shirts, social media graphics, event posters… it was through random projects like these that I taught myself Adobe Creative Suite. Over time, I’ve come to realize how important design can be for storytelling and social change, and I’ve been able to put that theory into practice here at TechChange.

Q: How did you first hear about TechChange?

I came across TechChange during my time at SID-Washington. TechChange was listed online as an Institutional Member and it sparked my interest due to its social enterprise business model, focus on education, and emphasis on user-centered design. As I was looking for opportunities after SID-Washington, TechChange immediately came to mind as a place where I could put my design, marketing, and communications skills to good use.

Q: What are some of your favorite parts of working at TechChange so far?

First and foremost, the people! Everyone at TechChange is incredibly talented and passionate about their work both in and out of the office. Finding a balance between working hard and having fun has been surprisingly easy thanks to TechChange’s supportive environment.

Apart from the people, I also love being able to work on important projects that reach a global audience. In my short amount of time at TechChange, I’ve already worked on a sexual harassment prevention training with USAID, an ICT in Education policy guide with UNESCO Bangkok, and started a project with the Ministry of Finance in El Salvador! I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Q: What excites you about Instructional Design?

Many things! First of all, it encompasses several of my interests – design, psychology, technology, among others. As an Instructional Designer, I love that I can continue learning and spreading knowledge on important topics like gender, education, etc. There are also many opportunities to be creative and I like the challenge of figuring out how to best design a course in a way that is effective and engaging.

Q: Anything you look forward to working on or learning at TechChange in the next year?

I’m excited to expand my creative skillset and work with clients to create high-quality and thoughtfully designed products!

Q: Lastly, what’s something that not a lot of people know about you?

That I spent two years of my childhood living in the Philippines. It was definitely a life-changing experience that helped me get in touch with my Filipino heritage and even learn to speak Tagalog!

Several months following the completion of the program, we sat down with Royce Escolar, Monitoring & Evaluation and Communications Officer and M&E Diploma Track graduate, to hear about how the program affected his professional development, ambitions, and projects.

Q: How did you find out about TechChange, and how did you become interested in taking courses?

I found out about TechChange by googling courses on Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E). I knew that I had to constantly learn new tools and approaches to enhance my skills in M&E given the fast-paced changes in the sector.  The use of technology to enhance M&E and how to best present and visualize M&E data were what attracted me most when I decided to take up TechChange’s diploma track.

I previously had a chance to coordinate work with USAID when I was with AusAID.  It was good to know that USAID had and still continues to use TechChange to train their officers. It was an indicator for me that the courses offered by TechChange are of high quality and value to a key player in the international development sector.

Q: Have you taken online courses before? 

I surely did. I took my Masters in Evaluation from University of Melbourne via distance learning from 2012 to 2013.  This was a two-year part-time curriculum which allowed me to work full-time during the day and study after work hours.

Q: How would you compare the TechChange experience to other online course experiences? 

TechChange provided a much more fun and practical learning experience by creatively incorporating multi-media in the courses.  I really enjoyed how the topics and courses were presented using easy to understand language. TechChange also gave us lots of opportunities to practice and use the M&E tools and software, including insights on the context where the tools would be most relevant.  I also valued the sharing of experiences from guest resource persons via video and the sharing from other course participants.

Q: How have you been able to use what you learned at TechChange in your work?

Yes, I have used a couple of times in creating infographics to better present the outcomes from capacity development initiatives funded by our program. A copy of one infographic I made is available in our program website at:

I have also used what I learned on data visualization in developing a communication package to be presented to Economic Ministers from 12 countries party to a regional free trade agreement.  This package will be finalized and uploaded to the website ( by end-September 2017.

By Dec 2017, I will revive my own blog on M&E ( which has been inactive since early 2016 when I took a full-time job.  I plan to post some of these data visualization products in my blog and write articles reflecting on my experiences and the process in developing these data visualization products.

Q: Would you recommend the Technology for Monitoring and Evaluation Diploma to a friend?

I would definitely recommend TechChange and the Diploma track on technology for M&E!!!


Above graphic by Royce for the AANZFTA-ASEAN program website
Featured image: ASEC – Community Relations Division

TechChange courses are designed for busy young professionals. Today we are very excited to chat with Grace Kim, the project manager for the Global Innovation Exchange, who participated in TC103: Technology for Disaster Response. She discusses her experience with the overall program, and how it has impacted her work.

Q: Why did you decide to enroll in the Tech for Disaster Response course?

I spent 8-years as a software sales executive at IBM and several startups, but I had always wanted to focus on T4D. My initial plan was to try T4D from the private sector side, but soon realized that most companies have not integrated products and services serving the development industry into their core business. This makes it difficult to find a full-time, dedicated role focusing on T4D in the private sector. In May 2015, I decided it’s time to change careers, but felt I needed to brush up on development technology. I have always been interested in disaster response and humanitarian aid, but never really figured out how to break into that sector. So I searched online for courses, TC103 came up…and the rest is history!

Q: How did the Technology for Disaster Response course impact your professional life and/or professional development?

While I was taking TC103 in June 2015, I was spending more time and effort (by choice!) on the course than on my day job. It made me realize that life is too short to spend my life doing something that I was not passionate about so I LEFT MY JOB! During my “funempoyment”, I did 60 informational interviews in DC between August and November (Chris Neu, COO of TechChange, was #38 and Nick Martin, CEO of TechChange, was #51) and landed my job at USAID by the end of December. TC103 helped me to learn very quickly about the technologies available in disaster response and develop a network of practitioners in this space. Being able to name drop relevant organizations and people during my informational interviews and job interviews allowed me to demonstrate that I wasn’t a complete foreigner coming from the private sector.

Q: What caught your attention about TechChange courses, or got you interested in taking them?

First, TechChange offered a course that was of personal interest to me – technology for disaster response.  Second, it was affordable for me to pay out of pocket. Third, the platform was really easy to use, and encouraged participation and collaboration between students so I truly felt that I got to develop some good relationships with other classmates.  Fourth, the instructor, Timo Leuge, was very knowledgeable and brought experts in the field as guest lecturers, which I thought, were really great.

Q: What would be an advice to other participants taking a TechChange course? How can they get the most out of it?

1. Do all the reading because you will learn a lot from them.  2. Participate in the course and earn points (for your certificate) by commenting and jumping in on various discussion strings.  You will feel more connected to your classmates. 3. Visit the TechChange office in DC…they are super friendly!

Q: How have you been able to use what you learned in the courses in your work, and how has the program overall been helpful to you?

The Global Innovation Exchange covers all sectors in development so I’m using the learnings from TC103 to make sure that we have the disaster response/humanitarian aid sector content developed in terms of innovations, funding opportunities, resources and events relevant to this sector.

Q: What is the Global Innovation Exchange?

The Global Innovation Exchange is an online platform that is a “one stop shop” for development innovations, funding opportunities, resources and events.  It is free to create an account to connect with like-minded individuals and experts, browse content by sector/topic/region, and share your expertise for the benefit of the global development community.  The goal is to democratize and provide equitable access to information, reduce duplication, and allow us all to make informed business decisions across the development industry.  It’s a great tool to see what people are working on and where, and search for funding opportunities, resources and events that is relevant to you.

Q: Are you new to the ICT4D sector? 

Yes, although I’ve kept a pulse on T4D even when I was in the private sector, joining the Global Development Lab is my first job in the T4D sector.

Q: Would you recommend TechChange courses to a friend?

100%!!!  It is great to see TechChange evolving to offer new courses like the diploma course in M&E and white labeling courses for organizations.  What’s truly beneficial is that the instructors are practitioners who bring real-life experience to the course along with their network of experts who guest lecture.

About Grace:

Grace Kim is a Korean-American returned Peace Corps Volunteer from Los Angeles. She spent over 15 years in the private sector in environmental consulting, digital development and enterprise software.  And recently, she joined USAID | Global Development Lab as the project manager for the Global Innovation Exchange.grace-kim-headshot






In 2015, TechChange launched the Technology for Monitoring & Evaluation Diploma Program, which combined three TechChange courses (Tech for M&E, Tech for Data Collection and Survey Design, Tech for Data Visualization) into one comprehensive program. The program was meant to give busy working professionals a robust foundation in technology for M&E through the three core courses as well as workshops and office hours with course facilitators. Our first cohort is finishing up the program as we begin 2016, and a new session will launch on January 25.

Today we are very excited to chat with Sonja Schmidt, the Senior M&E Advisor to JSI’s AIDSFree project, who is one of the first participants to complete the Technology for Monitoring & Evaluation Diploma Program: Working Professionals Experience. She discusses her experience with the overall program, how each course influenced her work, as well as how she was able to better understand the use of ICTs in M&E.

How did you come across the Tech for M&E Diploma Program?

A colleague of mine from JSI had sent around some links for TechChange courses. When I clicked the links I noticed the Diploma Program, and thought that this would be a good option to take advantage of the three courses in order to get a wider foundation on the topic.

Have you taken online courses before? Did the program meet your expectations?

I had never taken an online course before, so this was a very new experience for me. I found it challenging in the beginning, particularly with the first course that I took, because I initially felt overwhelmed and struggled a bit with learning how to move around the platform and managing the material.

That being said, the program far exceeded my expectations. I have to compliment TechChange because, being an M&E expert, I look at most material with a critical eye, but I found that the material that was put together and all of the speakers/guest experts were stellar. I was also quite pleasantly surprised by the group dynamics present on the platform. I did not expect this from a virtual group, but in the end there were names that kept popping up, and I actually had the chance to meet someone from the course in person – I am almost said that it has ended.

Are you new to the field of M&E? If not, why did you think this would be valuable to your career?

I have many years of experience in the M&E field. Despite this fact, I realized that the concept of ICT and M&E emerged on the scene pretty suddenly – it did not really exist as an articulated concept even as recently as 3 years ago. I remember meeting someone a few years back who had created his own company around an app meant to improve data collection for surveys, and was surprised because I never thought that that would take off. Now, several years later I find it fascinating how this has become mainstream.

So, my main reason for taking the program was to learn more about this new and rapidly changing field, the intersection of technology and monitoring & evaluation, and get a better grasp of it.

How have you been able to use what you learned in the courses in your work, and how has the program overall been helpful to you?

I have definitely been able to use what I learned in the courses, and the Diploma Program, as foundations for my work. The Technology for M&E course, while a bit repetitive for me sometimes, as I’m an experienced M&E professional, still provided me with exposure to new materials as well as to other people’s perspectives and approaches. The Technology for Data Collection & Survey Design course was not as applicable to my personal work, however it did improve my capacities as an M&E advisor in terms of being able to recommend methods or software, or considerations to take into account, to in-country M&E folks who might be the ones actually designing M&E programs themselves. The Technology for Data Visualization course is the one that had the most impact on my work directly, because a big part of my work is reporting to stakeholders and presenting data. The Introduction to Excel for Data Visualization course was also extremely helpful because it is a familiar software, and Excel is something that I will always use; especially for organizations that do not have much funding, Excel is a very powerful and useful tool.

In general, I think the courses were useful in my work in that when I come across a particular issue, I can now think in a way where I ask myself how I can improve or do something better. I can then go back to the material and target specific areas and continue to use the program material as a tool for learning in my work. I am also currently working on developing a training in Tanzania on data quality, and I plan to discuss with my colleagues ways to use, for example, phones to more quickly submit data from site facilities to our central office.

Interested in the TechChange Technology for Monitoring & Evaluation Diploma Program? Get more information and apply here. Enrollment is open and on-going, but our next batch of courses begins January 25, 2016. It is still not too late to sign up and join this amazing program with participants from all corners of the globe!

About Sonja
Sonja has over 15 years of experience in international public health, with a focus on infectious diseases, including TB, HIV/AIDS and immunization programs. She has long-term country experience in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Ethiopia and has worked for several UN organizations (UNIFEM, UNICEF, WHO) and numerous USAID-funded projects. Currently as the Senior M&E Advisor to JSI’s AIDSFree project, she oversees and coordinates the monitoring and evaluation of the project and guides country projects in M&E planning, data quality assessment, data analysis and use. Sonja has an MA in medical anthropology and an MPH with a focus on policy and management.

TechChange courses are designed for busy young professionals. In any of our courses, you will find yourself taking the course alongside international development field and headquarter staff, university professors and students, freelancers, and so many other kinds of eager learners. Today, we are excited to chat with Amira Elibiary, who is an M&E specialist and works for Tshikululu Social Investments in South Africa. After she submitted an insight piece she wrote about M&E as a result of her participation in our Technology for Monitoring & Evaluation course, we caught up with Amira to talk about her overall experience with the course and how it has impacted her work.

Q: How did you find out about TechChange, and what made you interested in taking a course?
I am a member of the MandE News Yahoo Group, which is a practitioner group for M&E professionals. Someone posted information about TechChange and the course in the group, so that is how I initially found out about it. At my organization, Tshikululu Social Investments, which is a fund manager for corporate social investment, I’ve been grappling with conducting data collection in an efficient manner and the M&E process in general. I decided to take the course to see what tools are out there because I felt that I was getting stuck in terms of thinking of new ideas.

Q: Have you taken online courses before? What did you think of the TechChange course and the style?
I had taken several online courses with other organizations before I took this Technology for M&E course with TechChange. I found it a bit hard at first to get accustomed to and navigate the platform, but once I got used to it I really enjoyed the course and the setup. I liked the TechPoints system, which did not exist in other courses I had taken. The TechChange course was also definitely more interactive than the other courses I had taken. I was able to have discussions with other participants in the course, and most of my problem solving and ideas came from this sort of engagement with other students and from hearing their experiences. The content of the course was also great, especially the guest speakers.

Q: What level of experience did you have with tech for M&E going into the course?
I work a lot in the M&E field but going into this course I knew about some tech for M&E tools, but I didn’t have a lot of exposure to and experience with them. This did not pose a problem for me, however – the material was not hard to understand or to follow, and has definitely increased my knowledge of the M&E field as well as the various tools out there.

Q: How did you use what you learned in the course at your job and in your work?
I would say that the main way that what I learned in the course has been applicable to my work is in terms of bringing in more ideas. At work we get a lot of different service providers that come to us offering us their tools, and I feel that now I am more knowledgeable and better equipped to decide between these tools.

More specifically, the guest expert that spoke about the issue of privacy has impacted my work as well. The insight piece that I wrote for my company’s blog about the issue of privacy and M&E was in part a result of my participation in this course. This presentation made me stress the issue of privacy more with my colleagues. As M&E practitioners, we are aware of this issue but maybe don’t think about it as actively as we should. This aspect of the course brought more attention to the fact that it is people that we are collecting data from, not just numbers.

I also have begun to think more about local contexts. For example, in the course we talked about how most people in the developing world are connecting to the online world via mobile phones rather than desktop or laptop computers, which many still do not have. This has caused me to consider that perhaps we should begin to use some mobile tools for M&E, or at least be choosing tools that are also mobile compatible.

Q: What advice would you give to other participants in order to for them to succeed in the course and gain the most from this experience?
When I was taking the course I didn’t always have time to attend all the guest expert sessions live because I was busy with work; I went back and watched most of them later in the months following the end of the course. I do regret not attending more of the events live because it would have been a much better tool for learning and I would have had the opportunity to ask more questions directly. So, I would probably tell students that they should browse through the course calendar at the beginning of the course and pick a few live events during the four-week period that they are most interested in and plan into their schedules to attend those.

The second piece of advice I would give to students is to actually use and take advantage of the knowledge within each course participant. There are a huge range of participants that all have different backgrounds and areas of expertise and, as I mentioned earlier, most of my problem solving was a result of discussions that I had with other participants.

Interested in taking this course? New session begins January 25, 2016. Apply and sign-up for our Technology for Monitoring & Evaluation course here in order to gain new skills and join an incredible network of professionals from all over the world! For a full list of the courses we offer, feel free to visit our online course catalogue

About Amira

photo (1)
Amira Elibiary is a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) specialist with 10 years of experience in research, grant-making and program management; over two years of experience in the corporate social investment sector for education, health and social development projects. With a keen interest and extensive experience in democracy, governance, advocacy and rule of law work. Amira holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs from American University and a BA degree in Economics.

TechChange courses are designed for busy young professionals. In any of our courses, you will find yourself taking the course alongside international development field and headquarter staff, university professors and students, freelancers, and so many other kinds of eager learners. Today, we are excited to chat with Eva Erlach, who is a full-time law student in Vienna, Austria and also works part-time for Ground Truth Solutions. Eva recently took our Technology for Data Visualization course. We caught up with her to see how she was able to apply what she learned in the course.

How did you come across the TechChange course?
At Ground Truth Solutions, I am regularly tasked with producing reports on the perceptions of crisis-affected people during humanitarian actions. In order to visualize the data, I was looking around for the best resources to learn more about data visualization. I came across TechChange’s Tech for Data Visualization course on Twitter and my employer helped me pay for the course.

Have you taken online courses before? What did you think of the TechChange course?
This was actually my first online course and I was very impressed. The ability to interact with other participants in the course was great! Also, since the live events with guest experts were always recorded, and I could revisit the course materials for four more months, it really gave me flexibility to manage my time to make the most out of the course. There were a lot of resources — which is always better than having less — and that gave me freedom to either just get an overview of the topic or dig deeper on the topics most useful to me.

Are you new to data visualization?
I have actually been doing data visualization for a while, and mainly on Excel. I also knew of the other data visualization tools but wasn’t sure which ones were good ones and how to really work with them. This course gave me the insights I needed on different data visualization tools. It also helped me see that you can do much more data visualization just with Excel. Most of the other data visualization software tend to be expensive, so learning more about data visualization on Excel was great.

How did you use what you learned in the course at Ground Truth Solutions?
I worked on Ground Truth Solutions’ three reports on community perceptions in the Nepal crisis. As part of the Inter-Agency Community Feedback Project, Ground Truth’s role is to provide the government of Nepal and aid agencies with real-time feedback from affected people and recommendations based on that feedback.

Our audience for this report were agencies involved in the humanitarian response in Nepal. Since the agencies wanted to be able to print and disseminate the reports to field staff as well as email to their branch offices, we decided to do a pdf report instead of an interactive dashboard. I used R for the analysis and created the graphs on Excel. I then created the maps on Inkscape, and used a python script for the labels and colors.

A snapshot of Ground Truth Solutions' Community Survey Report 3

A snapshot of Ground Truth Solutions’ Community Survey Report 3

I was able to visualize the data in a better way because of the course. The reports are available on our website to download and we have been promoting it all over social media.

How has the course been useful to you?
The course really allowed me to understand data visualization on a deeper level, and to realize that we really need to think about the audience for any visualizations you work on and the kind of message you are trying to communicate through the visualization.

Would you recommend this course to a friend or colleague?

Interested in learning more about how to use technology for your organization’s data visualization needs? We start our next Technology for Data Visualization online course on Monday, November 23! Join participants like Eva in this four-week online course!

About Eva
Eva Erlach is a program analyst at Ground Truth Solutions. The aim of Ground Truth is to support humanitarian actors to systematically listen and respond to the voices of affected people. Eva holds an undergraduate degree in Development Studies and is currently finishing her law degree at University of Vienna, specializing in human rights. She has volunteered on social projects in India and Uganda and has experience in the field of asylum law and domestic violence.

TechChange alumni are always doing amazing things. They have launched mHealth apps to help with HIV prescriptions in South Africa, started mapping projects for maternal health in Ghana and more. Today, we feature an alumna from our Mapping for International Development course, Dominique Narciso!

Since taking our course last year, Dominique has gone on to found her own mapping platform, AidWell. We caught up with Dominique to hear more:

Tell us about AidWell
D: AidWell is a crowdsourced mapping and collaboration platform that would make it easy and simple to know the development stakeholders within a given issue area, such as youth development or water.

What inspired you to start AidWell?
D: During my time at Georgetown’s Master of Science in Foreign Service Program, I began to see the emerging trends in international development, where new players were growing in influence and new types of innovations were being implemented across the globe. I thought to myself, what if there was a way to see how all of these organizations are connected, visually?

Then I took TechChange’s Mapping for International Development course and really saw the possibility of visualizing this information, which pushed me further to make AidWell a reality.

Why a mapping platform?
D: If you are looking to learn about what issues different organizations are working on today, there is currently no mapping tool that consolidates this type of information in an easy and user-friendly way. Right now, it is a tedious process to find that out; you may do some google searches, reach out to your networks, or laboriously look at some NGO directories.

AidWell steps in to make it easier to just see it all in one platform on a map. It would serve US-based organizations looking to make connections with local development stakeholders and for in-country organizations looking to collaborate and learn from one another.

Dom with her team Dominique with her AidWell team

Where is AidWell right now?
D: Since starting-up, I’ve conducted a multitude of informational interviews with international NGOs, foundations, social enterprises, and donors to learn more about the need and potential viability of a mapping platform. Currently, our small AidWell team is conducting mini-experiments to understand demand and pinpoint the major challenges faced by potential users, when looking for local information of organizations.

Where do you see AidWell in a few years?
D: My vision for AidWell is to create the leading stakeholder mapping platform for the international development field, a mapping platform that opens up the possibilities for new connections and innovative ways for sharing knowledge. In the next 3-6 months, the AidWell team will be working on proving the concept, building a minimum viable product, and testing the platform in three pilot countries.

Some potential uses for this platform would include:

  • A first stop for program designers and donors when gathering information to design partnerships, cross-sector collaborations, or collective impact strategies
  • A resource for local organizations to see who is working on the same issues in their country, and potentially a virtual space for collaboration and learning
  • A country stakeholder map service for grantmakers and implementing organizations, that inform funding and stakeholder engagement strategies

Where does AidWell fit in the bigger picture?
D: With the Sustainable Development Goals being released the end of this year, there has been lots of conversations around cross-sector collaboration and public-private partnerships. One goal that stands out in this sentiment is Goal 17: ‘Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.’

This one goal is a sign that the way development is being done will continually change, as we reimagine the way organizations work with one another, how knowledge is shared across sectors and across borders, and how unlikely players can contribute to innovative approaches for development. I believe AidWell can be a part of this bigger goal, by helping organizations make that first step in knowing and engaging with the right organizations from day one.

Check out Dominique’s platform, AidWell here. If you would like to help with AidWell’s research and/or share ideas on mapping, please get in touch with Dom at with the title ‘TechChange: AidWell Suggestion.’

Interested in learning more about how mapping can impact social good, check out our upcoming course on Mapping for Social Good that begins on October 26, 2015.

About Dominique
Dominique Narciso is a skilled relationship builder, creative implementer, and forward-thinking leader in the international development space. She has over eight years of experience working on community development initiatives, social enterprise, and economic development. She is the Founder of AidWell, a start-up organization working to catalyze cross-sector collaboration through a web-based mapping platform to connect and map out players in the development space. She worked at Social Impact as a Business Development Manager, designing their international processes for future business opportunities. During her service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica, she co-designed several youth, women, and economic development initiatives with community members and local leaders. She has a Master’s of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a dual BA from UCLA in Communication Studies and Women’s Studies.

Today, we’re excited to share an interview with TechChange alum Ladislas Hibusu! Ladislas has completed 5 courses and is currently taking his sixth. Learn more about his journey and how TechChange has impacted his career below.

1.  What got you interested in taking TechChange courses?

I first heard of TechChange from a colleague who was a TechChange alum. At the time, I was grappling to understand my new role as a Global Health Corps (GHC) fellow at a local NGO that was dealing with behavior change. My new position meant that I had to have certain skill sets if I were to succeed. It was around that time that my colleague shared TechChange’s TC111: Technology for Monitoring and Evaluation course. After reviewing the course content, I jumped at the opportunity to sign-up.

2.  After completing your first course with TechChange, what made you enroll in more courses?
After taking TC111: Technology for Monitoring and Evaluation, I was particularly fascinated with the themes, exercises, case studies, featured articles and reading materials but most importantly the top-notch industry experts from the live sessions who provided great insight on real-time trends. The recorded videos have also been a useful tool for expounding on themes such as mHealth, mAgric, mEducation, mFinance and other topics. The industry experts such as Joel Selaniko gave great insight into their area of expertise. However, TechChange facilitators like Norman, Kendra and Jennifer will tell you that what I am particularly passionate about are the great tech tools and platforms that are a big piece of the course. The unique nature of the tools and the way the recorded and live demos are presented is something anyone wanting to go further in their career could not resist.
I have positioned myself as a competitive data engineer not with a degree in an engineering field, but with the willingness to learn and lean on the shoulders of the experts that these TechChange courses have introduced me to.

3.  How have TechChange courses impacted your career?
The most significant impact that TechChange courses have offered me are the skills that have translated into making me competitive in the job market. While taking TC111, I was engaged as a Data Quality Consultant in an end-line evaluation of the project impact. Immediately after, I was hired as an independent Technical Monitoring and Evaluation consultant with two reputable international NGOs. Sooner rather than later, all I will need in my work life will be my eyes, head, hands, a mobile phone, laptop with Internet connectivity and the appropriate state of the art software. I will have earned my reputation of “getting jobs done” beyond the hire’s expectation.

4.  What is your advice for other participants taking a TechChange course? How can they get the most out of it?

Research broadly: Go beyond the course content, especially in their areas of interest, as this will enable them to know exactly what to ask from the expert speakers in order to get the maximum benefit.

Utilize the networks/connections: TechChange connects us to global experts and thought leaders in their own areas. For instance, I found that the project that one of the experts and TechChange alum Mira Gupta was working on was similar to what initially drove me into taking the TechChange courses. Engage with other participants too as they have a wealth of experience on this topic. I have received valuable resources out of the TechChange platform from the colleagues I met via the courses, which have been a great boost to my career.


About Ladislas

Ladislas Headshot

Ladislas Hibusu is a researcher and a Monitoring and Evaluation consultant. Over the years, he has come to love making research inquiries and helping students and companies on baseline, mid-line and end-line evaluation of their project impacts. He has also worked on the technology side of data documentation. Before working with Jhpiego as a consultant, he was a Global Health Corps fellow in the 2013/14 year and also consulted with Futures Group Global Inc. as a Data Quality Consultant. After receiving his college degree in Library and Information Studies and Demography, he spent time working as a Librarian and life coach at an organization that helps orphaned and vulnerable children realize their dreams. Ladislas can be found on Twitter at @tracykhibusu


How has TechChange’s course affected your career? We would love to hear your story too! Reach out to us at

As TechChange and our alumni community continue to grow, we’re sharing the stories of some of our rockstar alumni who have taken the tools they’ve learned and resources from their TechChange courses to make an impact. This week, we traveled to the OpenGov Hub to talk to FrontlineSMS Project Director Trevor Knoblich, who participated in our TC105: Mobiles for International Development course in March-April of 2012. Pursuing his interest in mobile technology in humanitarian response and journalism, Trevor combined his past background with his new connections and knowledge from TC105 to successfully land a job at FrontlineSMS.

Here is Trevor’s story, in his own words.

Why did you decide to take Mobiles for International Development?

Technology in humanitarian assistance was rare in back 2009. Back then, I remember how there was not yet much data sharing and effective data management between aid agencies. As a journalist working in humanitarian response, I became interested in how mobile technology could address various challenges throughout the world. Through my own research, I heard about different projects that involved data mapping and reporting of challenges with service delivery, such as infoasaid, but it was difficult to find a one-stop resource that gave me a good sense of emerging technology in humanitarian work. I wanted to know, what’s happening around the world? What tools are available for me to find out? And what tools are appropriate for my organization?

What was useful to you from TC105?

After doing a search on Google, I found TC105 and immediately enrolled in the course to get an overview of how mobile technology is being applied across international development. I found three key features of TC105 very valuable to me: the relevant information, the interactive experience, and the access to a network of experts in mobile tech.

  1. A central hub for the latest information for mobiles in development. TechChange’s TC105 became a central hub for emerging info and latest applications of mobile technology in the developing world. The TechChange team did a great job at selecting the most relevant and useful information for participants in the course by pulling all types of resources into one space. They included industry reports, real-world and current examples of tools like Magpi and FrontlineSMS, and practical case studies that inspired participants to try the tools out.
  2. Interaction, participation, and global dialogue. The unique interaction built into this TechChange course platform encouraged participation among my classmates. TechChange did a good job of getting participants to talk to each other with game mechanics. I liked the small size of the class that had ongoing global discussion forums (sometimes at 03:00 AM in certain places in the world) and incentives for me to stay actively engaged throughout the entire course. Live demonstrations of the mobile tools discussed in TC105 changed my perception and understanding of how some of those tools were actually used in real life.
  3. Access to a network of industry experts. TechChange invited and vetted an impressive lineup of global experts that presented for TC105. The “Live Event” discussion sessions were especially useful because real practitioners shared their anecdotes of the daily realities they face, and often shared industry resources such as website links and reports that sometimes are not yet on the course syllabus. For example, one of the speakers I remember most was Amy O’Donnell. She was representing FrontlineSMS and was extremely knowledgeable about community radio. In her discussion, she shared research papers and industry knowledge on best practices in the mobile tech space. Beyond these live video conference discussions, TechChange is always pushing for face to face connections when they can through alumni happy hours and a general open door policy.

How did TC105 ultimately impact you and your career?

Taking TC105 ended up being a smart career move. By keeping in touch with Amy O’Donnell, with whom I shared a common communications-oriented background, I eventually landed a job at FrontlineSMS as Project Director for the Knight Media Project. In this role, I manage grants and program design by connecting journalists with FrontlineSMS mobile technology for data management. It’s inspiring work, as I help journalists coordinate their staff, freelancers and citizen journalists, as well as reach out to a broader audience.

Advice from Trevor for taking TC105:

  1. Leverage TC105 within your own organization. If you’re advocating for your organization to adopt these new mobile tools and applications, you will have a variety of useful materials from TC105 to help make your case.
  2. Take TC105 first. Before taking any of the 200 or 300 level courses, TC105 gives you a good overview of emerging mobile technology and will help guide your selection for a deeper dive specific applications of mobile phones..
  3. Participate as much as you can. You’ll ultimately get more out of the course the more engaged you are with your classmates, the professionals who are presenting, and the TechChange staff.

About Trevor

Trevor joined FrontlineSMS in June 2012, and leads FrontlineSMS’ Knight Media Project. Prior to joining FrontlineSMS, Trevor worked as a humanitarian response coordinator with Lutheran World Relief, developing practices and protocols for emergency response in developing countries. His experience includes developing mapping and tracking systems for deployment of humanitarian aid.  Before that, Trevor worked as a federal policy reporter in Washington, DC. His role allows him to combine his skills and experience in both international development and journalism. You can find him on Twitter @mobiletrevor.

To enroll in the next TC105 session, please click here.