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Graduate Assistantships: Guinea Worm Eradication Program

  • Obang Adhom, front left, relaxes with members of his Abate crew on the Mulé commercial farm in Ethiopia’s Gambella region. They do the tough work of measuring and treating the farm’s 81 ponds on a rotating 28-day cycle to help eliminate Guinea worm disease. (Photo: The Carter Center/R. Youngblood)

Guinea worm (GW) is a neglected tropical disease that causes pain and suffering amongst the humans and animals who become infected with the parasite Dracunculus medinensis. Since 1986, The Carter Center has led the international campaign to eradicate Guinea worm disease (GWD), working closely with ministries of health and local communities in endemic countries. Unlike other neglected tropical diseases, there are currently no chemotherapeutic interventions, such as drugs or vaccines, to treat or prevent GW; behavior change interventions and disease surveillance reflect the core activities of national Guinea Worm Eradication Programs. Despite inherent and emerging challenges, global Guinea Worm Eradication Program (GWEP) efforts have fostered substantial reductions in human cases of GWD from 3.5 million in 21 affected countries in 1986 to 27 cases in six countries in 2020.

Project Summary – the GWEP Data Mapping Initiative:

The Carter Center’s GWEP team is comprised of individuals with multi-disciplinary backgrounds and expertise in research and evaluation; program design, implementation, and management; behavior change; and veterinary health. The team has identified an opportunity for a graduate student to support GWEP’s new data mapping initiative. The purpose of this initiative is to improve data collection and strengthen measurement at various points along the Program’s theory of change for enhanced monitoring and evaluation. For this specific assistantship, the graduate student will work with GWEP team members to collate all variables collected by Chad’s national Guinea Worm Eradication Program (CGWEP) across its various data collection initiatives (e.g., surveillance and response systems, implementation and scientific research activities). The student will develop a data dictionary that catalogues pertinent details related to each variable and the higher-level data domain (construct) to which the variable taps. With assistance from the GWEP team, the student will then map all higher-level data domains and constituent variables against the Program’s theory of change to pinpoint redundancies and identify measurement gaps along this pathway. Upon the conclusion of this mapping exercise, the student will make recommendations regarding: 1) where and how to pare back redundancies, 2) alternative methodologies and/or metrics to improve measurement, and 3) additional data domains and/or specific constituent variables that may be considered in order to address prevailing measurement gaps along the Program’s theory of change. The Program will use this mapping tool to make decisions about whether and how to modify various CGWEP data collection instruments.

Anticipated Deliverables:

During the assistantship, the graduate student will be responsible for contributing the following deliverables to the overarching GWEP data mapping initiative:

-A detailed data dictionary cataloguing all variables and data elements, by higher-level data domain, that the CGWEP is capturing across its various data collection initiatives;

-A data mapping tool that tracks all data domains and constituent variables collected by CGWEP against the Program’s theory of change; and

-A written report summarizing: 1) the methods the student used to collate and catalogue CGWEP’s data domains, constituent variables, and data elements, 2) a synthesis of the results of the data mapping exercise, and 3) recommendations for CGWEP’s data collection initiatives.

Benchmarks for Student Contributions to the GWEP Data Mapping Initiative:

During the assistantship, GWEP will use the following benchmarks to assess the graduate student’s work progress:

-Benchmark #1: Draft data dictionary provided for internal review and feedback by (date to be discussed with student during project orientation)

-Benchmark #2: Draft data mapping tool provided for internal review and feedback (date to be discussed with student during project orientation).


-Currently enrolled graduate or doctoral student who has completed at least two semesters of academic coursework in a master’s or post-master’s level program

-A 20-hour per week commitment for a period of 9-12 months

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Assistantship Deadlines

Apply for a Carter Center Graduate Assistantship

The 2021-22 graduate assistantship application opens on Feb. 5, 2021 and closes on April 8, 2021.

Program: 9-12 MONTHS
(August start)

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