August 2016 saw the World Olympics bringing countries together in Brazil – meanwhile in Baltimore, PMA2020 hosted an Olympics of another kind: the annual Data Management Bootcamp, which was in full force for two weeks, kicking off the training on August 8.
The two-week marathon was truly global: 18 data managers from 10 countries, including Narendra and Punit, from team India, who were unable to join in person but participated remotely from Jaipur, India at the Indian Institute of Health Management Research (PMA2020’s implementing partner for the India survey). Despite the distance and time difference, they fully participated in the workshop activities, going the extra mile – from 7,500 miles and 9 hours away.
A true champion, Narendra was not phased by having to participate remotely: “I can manage if [my supervisor] will give me the flexibility for doing work. Without being boastful, I am very eager to learn so time zone doesn’t matter to me. All things can be done if anyone has willpower. And I am very happy that I am the youngest data manager. One high five is attached.”
(Photo: Narendra and Punit joining virtually, conversing with PMA2020 Technical Advisor Dr. Linnea Zimmerman with Rohit, PMA2020/India representative and Senior IT Manager at IIHMR)
Narendra’s high five was met with three more as his supervisor and the two other PMA2020/IIHMR teammates supported his and Punit’s full participation in the workshop.
With this spirit, Narendra, Punit and the rest of the PMA2020 data managers dived right into the bootcamp, learning how to transform paper surveys into Open Data Kit (ODK), the mobile application that allows field staff to administer the PMA2020 questionnaires on the phones. An atmosphere of healthy competition and collaboration was evident throughout the workshop as the data managers gained skills and practical experience in the statistical analysis software STATA, Google Earth, and in understanding key indicators in policy settings. All country teams had ample opportunities to apply and demonstrate their new skills frequently by sharing with the group and obtaining constructive feedback.
When asked about the schedule adjustment, Narendra expressed, “Security guards are very active over here [IIHMR]. They came and checked two times daily at night and they offered us tea at 1:00AM. We got full support from them as well.”
(Photo: PMA2020/India. Team India mimicking an Olympic "Bolt" gesture to celebrate successful completion of the PMA2020 Data Management Olympics - IIHMR, Jaipur, India)