jeph mathias

recent larger projects

Across the wide span of my work look for these recurrent  themes:  interaction between different levels and groups of humanity, complexity, inclusion and  relationship between people and planet. They appear and reappear in their myriad guises.  

Taking Mental Health to the community, Afghanistan. In Feb 2017 I used systems thinking and Outcome Harvesting philosophy to evaluate a mental health clinical service provider. It is of high quality and well managed but runs parallel to government, has access barriers and, most importantly, does not touch social determinants which are the major driver of mental health issues in Afghanistan (and the rest of the world). Recognising this we started defining a pathway towards an adaptive, complexity aware community mental health project integrated with clinical services. Mapping out a viable future pathway is "evaluating what is not here, but might be"- a wonderful challenge! I hope to continue being involved with this excellent project and the radical transition of its vision and directions. 

Update- August 2017 The project requested I assist with design of the new project which will dive Ito the complex and chaotic world outside the clinic doors. Because of security concerns in Afghanistan the team came here to Mussoorie where we had 8 wonderful days of project design and learning which Included 3 field trips. I look forward to seeing how the project evolves from here.   

 Monitoring System for Community Mental Health, India A project in Uttarakhand is trying to build "community mental Health Resilience"- a concept that is  hard to formally define but for me understandable and coherent. I am working with four teams of community health workers and their M and E officer to develop a system to monitor this almost indefinable concept. We will use alot of narrative collected by community workers  and other staff as well as a qualitative research database in the cloud. I love the intangible-but-coherent nature of the challenge and the range of methods from simple stories in Hindi to latest IT technology, perhaps in javascript.

Outcome Harvest Cambodia. Outcome harvesting is having a conversation with a context. A conversation unlike an interview or an interrogation is a gentle, open ended process. Two really enjoyable features of this harvest were the participation of 8 community and NGO staff members and NVivo, a qualitative research package. I felt I got the richness of local Cambodians listening to stories from the context combined with the information processing and storage capabilities of computer software. It was a really enjoyable evaluation. 

Harvesting in Kampong Speu, Cambodia. 

Harvesting in Kampong Speu, Cambodia. 

 Outcome based livelihood project, Indian Himalayas - I evaluated this project 3 years ago, helped develop a new OM design and now accompany them towards recognising, capturing and responding to outcomes in their integrated livelihood and environment project. I really enjoy following the outworking of our OM design over time, to a new project area and watching  team culture evolve towards an outcome focus. 

Presenting Ideas creatively  is a strength and something I really enjoy

Presenting Ideas creatively  is a strength and something I really enjoy

Conference Presentation, New Zealand -  As a Dev. Studies research fellow I wrote and presented “Development as regime shift” looking at the meaning of development and pathway to its achievement.

Interactive Course in Complexity, Chang Mai, Thailand. Asked to give theoretical and practical approaches for an organisation with a very complex context in the Thai/Myanmar border areas.

Outcome Harvest, Cambodia - An intense and particularly challenging evaluation in North –East Cambodia with an NGO working entirely with indigenous people of three different language groups in a rapidly changing context. Complexity personified, this was perhaps my most enjoyable evaluation to date. 

Mentoring New Zealand Development Studies Masters students. on project design  in India and  evaluation in Cambodia. 

Community Mental health competence, North India - I worked on design and now monitoring  and evaluation with a mental health project aiming for outcomes around community inclusion of poor and mentally unwell people in North India. I have long term involvement with this outcome mapping project, trying to build skills in harvesting outcomes at many levels and integrating them into work. I am now working on a monitoring system with their field workers using tablets to capture and process key changes and integrate them into the project. 

Outcomes and Complexity Workshop, India - A Bangalore development consultancy asked for an interactive workshop on complexity and outcome based thinking in development. 

Assessment- Indigenous Health and Conservation, North-East India - I assessed NGOs working with indigenous people, their land, rights and trajectories for an international funder about which projects they might accept and what made them suited to their vision and their  context. 

Design with a Rights Based Organisation, Orissa, India.. A rights based organisation moving to a more complexity nuanced approach to social change for communities in Orissa. Worked with them adn funder on an Outcome mapping design and monitoring system. 

Child Marriage, India -  An initiative out of TISS (a high quality social sciences institute). The design and monitoring system for a large international project trying to affect change around forced and child marriage in the poorest sates of India is my brief.  I love working at the academic/thinking end of this large, ambitious, important project.

Outdoor skills training.  NCF staff crossing the Spiti river, June 2015

Outdoor skills training.  NCF staff crossing the Spiti river, June 2015

Snow Leopard Conservation, India - Conservation concepts and biology: Participatory snow leopard conservation is a dynamic interaction of biology,  Himalayan people, land, climate, policy…I also ran an alpine skills and wilderness medicine course for field staff.

“Definition to Design,” with a Leprosy NGO, Nepal - An interactive week went from philosophy and self definition with this leading  NGO to OM design and strategies with the NGO and its partners (including government). In a fascinating progression from pathogen to people we shifted focus from leprosy to social context -stigma, marginalisation, livelihood and disability . Including partners in design workshops hugely assists  good design and acceptance of new methodologies and thinking. Negotiating values, philosophies, protocols and styles within and beyond the NGO was complex  and enjoyable in the extreme. That that they've now presented their OM design to an " OM sensitised"  government department is tremendously satisfying.  

Playing around with complexity concepts.....Development in  Complexity Workshop, New Zealand  Feb 2016

Playing around with complexity concepts.....Development in  Complexity Workshop, New Zealand  Feb 2016

Conference Presentations, USA. I was part of two panels, one on Outcome Mapping and one on Outcome Harvesting at the important American Evaluation Association Conference in Chicago, Nov. 2015. I loved throwing ideas around at a major international conference and was pleased that our presentations generated lots of interest. 

Development in Complexity Workshop, New Zealand - an 'ideas’ workshop for academics, funders, grassroots workers and government staff. Our  three days of fun together went from complexity theory to throwing balls at each other to designing  complex projects ourselves. 

Expedition Medicine workshop. Nepal.  I presented a workshop on Expedition Medicine to doctors At the Asia Pacific Travel Medicine conference,  Kathmandu, March 2016. Not development  but good  fun creatively presenting  ideas and concepts.