More than 300,000 Ugandans have risen from ultra poverty toward economic self-sufficiency since 2016 with guidance from Raising The Village. Through its agricultural inputs and trainings, support for micro-business development, and other capacity-building programs, the nonprofit is dedicated to addressing persistent barriers that trap rural communities in hardship.
“In the remote parts of Uganda, there are so many factors to consider when it comes to moving the needle on poverty,” says Shawn Cheung, founder and CEO of Raising The Village. “Whether that’s access to water, adequate healthcare, income opportunities, or roads — the better we are supporting communities in their prioritization of needs, the more effectively we can adjust our model to deliver the resources people need most.”
Cheung and his team rely on data analysis, measurement, and reporting — supported by the Alteryx Process Automation (APA) Platform — to help Raising The Village make the kinds of “agile pivots” that drive greater success.
“Since we’ve been able to build Alteryx into our everyday workflow, it allows us to bring projects on track and correct course very quickly. We’re able to customize our program according to the community’s needs and priorities — and achieve maximum impact.”
— Shawn Cheung, Founder and CEO, Raising The Village
Moving Beyond the Busywork of Manual Data Management
Raising The Village partners with households and villages to create time, space and opportunity to focus on improving their overall quality of life and work toward their future. Similarly, Alteryx frees up more time for the nonprofit’s staff to spend advancing sustainable development instead of chasing after data. Tasks such as building the nonprofit’s quarterly master scorecard of project goals and outcomes — which used to be two people’s full-time job — now take just minutes in Alteryx.
“Before, we had to do a lot on manual data entry, formatting, and cleaning in Excel spreadsheets,” says Cheung. “With the amount of correction involved just in preparing our scorecard, we weren’t spending enough time running our regressions or analysis of the key relationships between different pieces of information.”
For example, assessing whether the average attendance at training sessions on sustainable farming sessions in different villages influenced their crop yields the following season was a challenge. “We were losing valuable time in processing the analysis,” he says.
Then Cheung learned that Raising The Village could receive a free Alteryx license as part of the Alteryx for Good program. Created to help nonprofits accelerate their missions and amplify their positive impacts through more intelligent, data-driven decision making, Alteryx for Good helped Raising The Village launch its new analytics framework in late 2020.
“Suddenly, we gained so much space for our team to actually do what they're best at, which is analysis,” he says. “Alteryx software is equipping our project officers with real-time insights on the key drivers of success in a community. For us, that’s a major breakthrough — because we can immediately tell what we need to do, how do we need to change.”
A Clearer View of How Actions Drive Impact
Raising The Village tracks data on household income, employment, livestock assets, crop returns, and time spent on non-economic activities — such as fetching water and firewood — in more than 300 Ugandan villages at any given time. With only a small team of officers managing these remote initiatives, Alteryx provides crucial data-sharing visibility across various regions and project types.
Since launching the platform, “we’ve confirmed there’s a strong relationship between the number of women in leadership positions within a village and the acceleration of household incomes in the community,” says Cheung. “Sharing our findings on the value of gender equity with partner communities helps change perceptions. That’s one example of how these tools are enabling us to make informed decisions and maximize impact.”
Alteryx is also helping the nonprofit better understand and address the inverse relationship between villagers’ economic prosperity and the distance they travel each day to collect fresh water.
“That kind of insight helps us build a stronger case for investing in projects that improve people’s access to water, because we can clearly show how the time savings connects to ending ultra-poverty,” he says.
“By cutting down the amount of effort it takes to monitor and evaluate our progress, we can reach more people and provide a greater range of choices on improving their livelihoods.”
— Shawn Cheung, Founder and CEO, Raising The Village
The enhanced data visibility in Alteryx also helps Raising The Village build greater support among its donors.
“We've always collected data about our impact, but we weren’t always able to present it in a way that really showed people how the work we do is reaching people who are most in need,” he says. “Now, I think our partners are going to feel even more confident about where their resources are going because we can demonstrate our impact through metrics that are meaningful to them.”
Raising The Village has set a goal of reaching at least 1 million beneficiaries by 2023. But with nearly 400 million people worldwide living in ultra poverty, Cheung says the ability to move faster using technology like Alteryx is among the organization’s top priorities.
What is Ultra Poverty?
Ultra poverty is one of the most challenging and complex issues of inequality we face today. Nearly 400 million people earn less than $0.75 cents per day, living without access to food, water, safe shelter, education, and healthcare. Ultra poverty robs bright, motivated, and hard working people of the opportunity to make choices and have a real chance at life.
“We have to look at serving marginalized communities in a different way,” he continues. “It’s incredibly challenging to raise household income from 45 cents a day to $2, but it’s essential if we’re going to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.”
Cheung and his team are still uncovering new ways that Alteryx can help them convert data into clearer insights — and transform even more lives.
“We want to expand the scope of information that villagers can use to make decisions and take action,” he says. “With Alteryx, we’re better able to identify and prioritize our most successful programs — then build upon those successes as we reach out to more communities.”
Nonprofits: interested in learning more about the Alteryx For Good program? Apply here.
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