Laurie Liskin with the 2014 Kenya DHS team.
From left to right: M.G. Obudho, Michael Musyoka, Sara Head, Laurie Liskin, John K. Bore, Andrew Imbwaga, A.A. Awes (back), Christine Mbuli, Rebecca Kiptui, James Munguti (back)
After 12 years with The DHS Program, 58 trips to 17 countries, and almost 40 years in international development, I’ve decided to slow down. As of January 2016, I will retire from full time work and explore the pleasures of retirement.
What to make of the past 12 years? First, I marvel at how the field of dissemination has changed since I joined DHS in 2003. So much of what is standard now—eLearning, tweets, infographics, data apps, and desktop video production, either did not exist a decade ago or was just beginning. The field of dissemination and personal communication has exploded. We can see the growth everywhere. In Kenya, for example, only 13% of households had any kind of telephone in 2003. Just 11 years later, in 2014, 86% of households have a mobile phone, many of them smart phones. Facebook is ubiquitous. Access to information has never been easier.
Second, I am profoundly grateful for the chance to work with the dedicated team here at The DHS Program. All of our staff—the diligent data processors, the incredibly creative dissemination team, talented researchers, capacity strengthening experts, the overworked survey managers, and of course, our stalwart program managers—are committed to ensuring that DHS, SPA, and MIS surveys are the highest quality possible.
Third, I cherish the opportunities I have had to collaborate with our country partners. After multiple trips to Tanzania, Bangladesh, and Kenya, in particular, I am lucky to have worked with survey specialists, communication experts, staff from USAID cooperating agencies, and our partners at USAID missions. The work has been challenging, exciting, occasionally very frustrating, but most of all, lots of fun.
Best of all, the program welcomes a terrific new Senior Advisor for Communication. Erica Nybro has worked with The DHS Program since 2004 and has pioneered new products and activities including the DHS User Forum, the Mobile App, and training in data visualization. I look forward to seeing her lead dissemination at The DHS Program in exciting new directions.
So, I bid farewell to my colleagues and friends in Rockville and around the world. Thanks to all for a wonderful 12 years with The DHS Program.