GSIF Blog Post #4

Evelyn Velasquez-Moreno

Professor Khanjan Mehta 


14 February 2020 

Blog Post #4

Based on your life experience, skills and interests, what would a design process that is both uniquely yours and effective look like? 

One design process would be to create a study that works toward research in our project of addressing malnutrition in children under the age of five years old. These research designs would contribute to background, purpose of research, questions and hypothesis; our design would provide information on reliability and validity on each measure based on data. In addition, our project would contribute to taste-testing, sampling or recruiting participants, and making sure we have the right supplements/ingredients for our recipes. 

Identify your three most important stakeholders and list five UNIQUE attributes for each one of them. 


  • Mothers and their Children:


      • Will be the ones using our product the most, even though it’s available to everyone in Sierra Leone
      • Their feedback will be most important
      • Greatest need for product
      • Their feedback will help us make ingredient choices and create successful business and marketing plans 
      •  Main drive/motivation behind our entire project
        • Mothers with children will be approached and asked if they are interested in participating in our research 
        • Children are critical to our research because they are the target audience of the products 


  • Vendors:


      • Will be selling our product and getting it out into the market
      • Will be our partners in this venture
      • Are going to help a lot in marketing the product
      • The vendors will be those who are responsible for integrating our product into the village’s culture
      • They will be the image of our product when mothers buy them


  • Bakers:


    • Will be making our product before it goes to be sold
    • Partnership with them is one of the most valuable because without them, we can’t move forward in our venture at all
    • Provide them with our ingredients/recipes/preservatives 
    • Our best insight on local cuisine and our first impression of the products; they legitimize the cultural immersion we are trying to instill with our project
    • Responsible for the quality control of the product

Identify three ways in which you will validate your project concept, technology, usability, and business model.

Three ways in which we will validate our project concept is through the usage of human subjects research– provide information on the reliability and validity of each measure. We will have references or results prior to each measure; and we will work towards stating the details of the statistical or qualitative analysis that we will use to analyze this data. 

  1. We will have a questionnaire that we will use for mothers in Sierra Leone that will be used to get a better understanding of their family’s daily lives and whether they would buy our products. The questionnaire will give us feedback on the recipes. 
  2. Taste-Testing: During each interview, we will ask participants’ children to try our three products. For the children, we will observe their facial expression and reaction to each food. For children 18 months and younger, we will rely on behavioral observations and the help of their mothers to gauge whether or not they like each food they try. 
  3. Our plan is to recruit participants through the help of World Hope International (WHI), a non-profit organization located in Makeni, Sierra Leone. We have worked most closely with Allieu Bangura, Global Director of Health and Nutrition at WHI. The pre-established relationship will help us build trust with members of the community. WHI and previous student researchers in Sierra Leone have recommended that this be our plan for recruiting participants, and they have explained that this is the most effective way to interact with people in Sierra Leone. 
  1. Give three examples of something very interesting you learned from a friend that was a completely alien concept to you.
  1. Perspective: Learning to adapt in a foreign country
    1. Although I was born in the United States, at the age of four, my parents and I moved to Mexico. I lived in Mexico for three years– I went to school here and learned to adapt to my own environment through communicating with adults and other children my age in school. By the time I turned seven, I moved back to the United States, where I had to learn to adapt to my new environment. Although it was a complete culture shock, I eventually learned to speak English through communicating with friends who taught me how to read, write and speak. They read books with me and helped me with the English alphabet. Gradually, my English began to build up, and I learned to interact with other children and adults through the support and help of my friends. 
  2. Idea: When I was five years old, my father taught me how to use cow poop for fertilizers. Growing up in Mexico, my father owned a papaya farm, where he used plenty of cow and horse poop to fertilize the soil in order to raise his crops. He taught me how to fertilize fields and harvest through strange methods, as well as how to carefully pick the papayas.
  3. Religion: Growing up, I did not know much about different cultures and religions. I grew up Christian in Mexico, where I only focused on practicing one specific religion. When I moved to the United States, I learned about the religion of Islam through a Muslim friend. She talked to me about the Qur’an, which is something close to the Bible– something that I too could relate to practicing and reading in my religion. In addition, I learned about their 5 Pillars, which made me think about my own practices as well in the Christian religion. In terms of the 5 Pillars, she taught me about their practices of fasting and Ramadan. I soon began to become more familiar and open-minded about the different civilizations that practice their religions around the world, while growing up in the United States. Today, I am a Religious Studies minor. 


Logic Model/Theory of Change

Evelyn Velasquez-Moreno

Professor Khanjan Mehta

CINQ- 388

9 February 2020 

Develop a M&E plan for your venture. – Clearly list all assumptions. – Identify short-term and long-term success metrics. – (Optional) identify specific methods to measure the metrics


  1. List the top 20 questions your team needs to answer to advance the venture forward. Categorize the questions if necessary.
    1. What is the project about?
    2. Why is the project important?
    3. Who is impacted by the project?
    4. What is the main objective/goal?
    5. What steps will be taken to reach the objective?
    6. Where will we execute our project?
    7. Who says those people need help?
    8. Why can’t they help themselves?
    9. Why can’t someone else help them?
    10. Why do you think your project will be successful?
    11. What are some of the nutrients used for the project?
    12. How much culinary experience is needed for the project?
    13. Why do you think people will buy your product?
    14. How do you intend to keep the project running after you leave?
    15. What is the timeframe for your project?
    16. How will you use your time wisely?
    17. How are you qualified for this project?
    18. How do you think the community will react to your project?
    19. How will you incorporate the project into their culture?
    20. Will your community’s culture accept the project?
  2. Develop and Visualize the Theory of Change (Logic Model) for your venture.
    Inputs Activities Outputs Outcomes Goal Alignment
    • Time
    • Research
    • Ingredients
    • Environmental Conditions
    • Preservatives
    • Funding
    • Materials (packaging)
    • Recipe experimentation
    • Communication with local businesses
    • Experimenting with packaging
    • Contact packaging professionals
    • Developed recipes and packaging for products
    • Maintain partnerships with vendors
    • Continued feedback from community
    • Healthier, well-nourished kids
    • Reduced growth stunting
    • Affordable and accessible nutrient dense foods
    • Goal: reduce malnutrition and stunting
    • Outcome: achieves that 







Spring Outcomes: 3+ new recipes (muffin, pudding, bouillon cubes/peanut butter balls), developed packaging for recipes, analyzing the costs and taking them into consideration, make sure we use products that are accessible to the community in our recipes

Summer Outcomes: Feedback on recipes, even if negative, progress based on feedback, continue work we’ve been doing; 100 of each product a day sold by end of fieldwork

 3. Goals, Outcomes and Outputs 

In terms of our goals for this project, our goal is to reduce malnutrition and stunting in children under the age of five; we will measure this goal through developing communication with the Sierra Leonean community, and possibly through an evaluation technique. Our outcomes, or what we hope to solve: we hope to have well-malnourished by developing recipes with the nutrient and vitamins needed, as well as reduce growth and stunting from children under the age of five. We hope to have affordable and accessible nutrient dense food. We will calculate this through research and we will measure this outcome by analyzing the sales of our recipes. In terms of our outputs, our group will develop recipes from which we will sell. We will calculate this output by working to analyze the nutritional values of our recipe and analyze the sales consumption. 



Second Blog Post: Addressing Cultural Issues

Evelyn Velasquez-Moreno

Professor Khanjan Mehta

CINQ- 388 

31 January 2020 

Blog Post: Cultural Issues 


Cultural Issues for Malnutrition in Sierra Leone: 

One of the cultural issues that may affect the project of malnutrition in Sierra Leone is Vitamin Deficiencies in children under the age of five years old. The objective of our project Fieldwork in Sierra Leone works towards developing and introducing products that can work towards alleviating malnutrition in children under the age of five years old in Sierra Leone. The two products we will be working with include muffins and pudding that contain the necessary amount of nutrients, such as four essential micronutrients: Vitamin A, iodine, iron and zinc. In order to avoid this widespread problem in the country, we will be continuously modifying our recipe to increase shelf life and analyze our product’s environmental impact. Malnutrition in children consists of an unbalanced intake of energy and nutrients. In developing countries, like Sierra Leone, chronic malnutrition is common among children under the age of five years due to limited access of nutritious foods because of increasing costs and demand. Chronic malnutrition is dangerous because it leads to a severe condition known as acute malnutrition which increases the risk of life-threatening conditions like diabetes, iron-deficient anemia, and hypertension. Furthermore, we will work towards developing nutritious and affordable foods containing four essential micronutrients, vitamin A, iodine, iron, and zinc. 

Another cultural issue that affects my project is the food availability in Sierra Leone. For our project in Sierra Leone, our students will be developing two nutrient-dense, sweet potatoes based products, muffins for children ages two years and older, as well as a pudding for children over six months. The food availability in Sierra Leone is scarce, our project of malnutrition will be able to preserve the ingredients needed to bake these recipes, such as sodium propionate, ascorbic acid, and citric acid were evaluated. To conclude, students began the early development of a clinical study to determine the success of the muffins and pudding regarding the prevention of acute malnutrition. 

 Through clinical studies, we will work towards figuring out important information about the participants, such as whether or not the kids are growing normally, along with taking measurements of the participants. 

Situations of Cultural Issues from Experience:  

There were many cultural issues that had experienced growing up in Mexico, such as poverty, religion, education and malnutrition. There are steps to take while addressing the problems of malnutrition in Sierra Leone. These processes relate to fieldwork, clinical studies and developing recipes full on nutrition and vitamins. Poverty for example, was one of these cultural issues. Poverty in a family that is larger than four can be a social problem in developing countries. From my experiences growing up in Mexico, poverty was one of the leading factors of malnutrition, as those who were the most malnourished faced food scarcity. In addition, education, for example, was another leading factor. Those who did not have the same amount of education, especially women, had the most children. It is more challenging to support and maintain a family of many people. In terms of family status, while there are families that are fortunate enough to provide for themselves, others are not so fortunate to be able to provide for their own food, clothes, and health care. To address these problems that relate to my project of malnutrition, these are some of the steps to take while addressing the problems that are affecting malnutrition in Sierra Leone; these processes relate to fieldwork, clinical studies and the development of food recipes. Through these processes, we can work towards providing the sufficient amount of nutrition for those who face malnutrition. 


Cultural Practices that Can Be Leveraged to Address Community and Market Problems: 

  1. Agricultural Productivity: Work as a community to teach farmers how to grow more crops in order to help and provide nutritious foods for people and children who are facing the problem of malnourishment. Through working together as a community, and being able to teach farmers in developing countries to raise crops, there can be a way to leverage the agricultural productivity and food scarcity in developing countries around the world. 
  2. Communication: Since there is a limited access to nutritious foods in Sierra Leone, achieving food security means ensuring quality and continuity of food access. To address and to leverage these community and market problems, we should involve multiple sectors including agriculture, education, social protection, transport, gender, the food industry, health and other sectors, to ensure that diverse, nutritious diets are accessible and available. 
  3. Support Groups for Women: Support groups for women and their children. These support groups can be set in order to educate and support mothers who are and need of the learning breastfeeding practices, in order to ensure all the nutritional needs for their infants.  


First Blog Post: Addressing Blindness in Kenya

Evelyn Velasquez-Moreno

Professor Khanjan Mehta

Creative Inquiry 

24 January 2020 

First Blog Post: Addressing Blindness in Kenya 

I enrolled in this course because I believe Lehigh students, as well as myself, are positive leaders and role models who wish to edify their campus by sharing their interests, fostering a welcoming environment and inspiring other students to take action. I want to contribute to the world and my community by drawing on my own experiences as a Latina, a leader and a team builder. I have a passion for helping others, expanding diversity and building community, and being able to participate in a program from which I will help change the world, is the first step I need to take in order for this to happen. Furthermore, this course will make me a better student because I will be given the opportunity to develop a better mindset and skill set. I will learn foundational skills that will help me with complex problem solving, service orientation and people management, which is important for me to learn in order to prepare for the job force and for when I am working with my malnutrition group in Sierra Leone. This course will shape me into a benefactor for others through the development of my skills and mindset. In addition, not only will this course make me a better student, but it will provide me with experiences that involve leadership and teamwork, community and engagement. 

As addressed, the World Health Organization has estimated that over one billion people need glasses, however, they do not have access to them because of the lack of resources, only having at least one optometrist per one million people. This is a crisis that is impacting the lives of many people because it is limiting their inability to perform in their everyday activities. 

The solution that I have to address this problem is to work towards achieving social impact; my first step will be to develop and have real, meaningful authentic projects that can work towards helping public health issues in developing countries. How can we feel good about what we are doing? The reality is that helping to address global health problems, such as finding solutions to prevent blindness in Kenya, is a process that people have been doing all of their lives, such as volunteering in hospitals and communities.

It is important to realize this: Figuring out solutions to world health issues, such as world hunger and blindness can have its steps; but, how would it be the same to find a preventable solution to cure the risk of going blind in developing countries? We have created a cycle that keeps people dependent on things on a monthly basis for things that are often not well balanced. In this situation, we would need to provide the people of Kenya with the right health access to eye glasses.

It is important to engage the world with television commercials, build boards and other news that can alter this conflict in Kenya. However, even with all of this work that people are doing, millions and millions are people are still suffering from potential blindness. 

Another solution that I would address is to set out to use technology to propose these solutions. Get involved with optometrist’s and companies who are technologically advanced. I believe that technology and innovation have the power to solve real global issues. I would address to work and set up an app, with the motto of ‘Help More and Waste Less,’ from which we can work with brands and corporations in order to divert eye glasses into the hands that need this the most. That can be addressed as social inequality– which occurs when resources are distributed unequally around the world. Those who have enough to own eye glasses, but do not need it; on the other hand, there are those who need eye glasses, but do not have enough to own a pair because of their social class. 

Blindness in developing countries is not being solved, the truth is that it is really just being worked on. There are hundreds of social entrepreneurs around the world, but they will never get to think enough to solve this problem. By addressing the problem of blindness, we can solve other problems. We need to introduce new policies, and change mind and actions; the reality is that this does not solve blindness in Kenya– we can do far more than giving a family eye-glasses. Perhaps we can increase the productivity of organization and technology. In the end, however, it is important to realize this: We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.