Completion of my assignment in Nepal with F2F

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Myself and the participants in the 2014 workshop in Bharatpur, Chitwan, Nepal – Provided by Winrock Intl. and USAID.

This morning we met with the USAID staff here in Kathmandu, Nepal and debriefed them on my assignment, signaling the end of my work here. Though I only spent six full days with the host institution at AFU, this experience has been a great opportunity. I truly feel that I’ve helped a developing country (a little) to increase their capacity to do agricultural and natural resource research, albeit indirectly through introducing them to R.

During my brief time here, we manage to cover:

  1. Getting started with R (What is R, an overview of R-project.org resources, installing and running R, walkthroughs of using the Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN), accessing internal and external help, documentation, an overview of packages and their use, and detailed applications of RStudio)
  2. Data management (reading and writing data, data types and factors including: vectors, matricies, arrays, lists, text and characters, dates and time, and dataframes)
  3. Basic statistics (summarizing a sample, summarizing categorical data, comparison of samples, relationship between variance, association between categorical variables)
  4. Calculations and manipulation (calculations, defining subset of data values, sorting data, forming factors)
    Syntax and data entry (reading data, syntax of commands, logical operations, building and using sequences, handling missing values, testing and coercing classes, and generation and use of random numbers)
  5. Hypothesis Testing (testing difference in variances and means, t-tests, tests of distributions, interpreting output)
  6. Modeling (fitting a line, fittings non-linear curves, multiple regression, regression with grouped data, interpreting output)
  7. Analysis of variance (specifying the treatment, syntax of model formulae, analysis, designs with several error terms, saving information from the analysis, other facilities, advanced designs, summarizing results and interpreting output)
  8. Advanced graphing (scatterplots, boxplots, histograms and bar charts, time series, pie charts, and saving plots in both the base plot and ggplot2) and
  9. Programming  in R (developing custom functions, object structure, and “for”, “while”, and “repeat” loops, ifelse statements)

On a personal note, this was my first trip to Nepal, let alone south Asia and it’s been hugely eye opening. I now clearly see the need for further technology transfer and assistance, so that developing countries can benefit from global advancements and increase their own capacity. Activities such as those I’ve been engaged in here in Nepal are key to empowering local people to solving their specific problems. I firmly believe that the countries of the developed world cannot solve the problems in the developing world by giving physical of fiscal goods to them, but we can lessen the learning curve and empower individuals by providing help understanding technology emerging practices and removing barriers.

We need to promote the sharing of technology and information so that people and communities in developing worlds are aware of the resources that are available to them and thus may become self-empowered.

Next stop, Bangkok and then a short hop back to the States!

 

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