Case Study: Data Entry

The Client

OptionsOptions for Children in Zambia, a non-profit organization, partners with rural African communities to develop sustainable oral health initiatives and enhance quality of life. They work with local, provincial and national government agencies and non-government organizations to ensure their projects align with overarching community development goals.

The Challenge

As part of their annual oral health project in Zambia, Options entered dental screening information on paper. In order for the information to be valuable for program assessment, the data from the screening forms required entry into a database. The screening forms were filled out by hand and contained dental terminology, so accuracy was critical. Furthermore, due to regulations in the United States and Zambia, such as HIPAA compliance, the data needed to be anonymized and secured to assure confidentiality.

In the past, volunteers were tasked to transfer the information into the database. This required specialized training and a time commitment from their busy schedules with limited staff on hand. As a result, little time was left to analyze the results. As a non-profit, Options needed to find a cost-effective solution to manage the data efficiently to assess the impact of their efforts.

“We rely on limited funding, so we have to spend our money carefully. Impact Enterprises allowed us to be more time efficient while meeting our financial criteria.”

-Kerry Maguire, DDS, MSPH Co-Founder & Chair

The Solution

Impact Enterprises management held several meetings and calls with the Options team to fully understand the data collected and the procedures to be followed. Impact Enterprise is HIPAA compliant and was therefore able to advise Options how to bifurcate the database to protect the confidential data.

Working with the Options data engineer, a procedure was established that allowed for the surveys to be scanned, uploaded, and distributed to the Data Specialists for efficient and secure inputting. All data was double entered and discrepancies were rechecked to ensure proper entry. Throughout the process, Impact Enterprises’ management provided questions and feedback to Options so that mistakes were eliminated.

“Meeting the confidentiality requirements, including HIPAA, was necessary in order for us to outsource this work, so it was great that Impact was prepared for this extra step in the data procedure.”

The Impact

Over the course of two weeks, our team was able to input and check data from over 750 screening forms across over 60 data points. Our advice on the dataset allowed Options to improve the screening form and procedures so that future collection is clearer and richer.


The Impact Data Specialists were given a unique challenge throughout the project. The team gained hands-on experience handling large amounts of data and managing several database tools. Working with new terminology required them to think critically and collaborate to work effectively.

“This was an important step to assess the impact of the services Options is providing.”


Five Question Friday – Meet Our Employee of the Month, Moses

How long have you been working at IE?

Moses - 22 years old

Moses – 22 years old

4 months

What are your future goals professionally?

Within the next two years I would like to get a degree or diploma in IT Management.  That is why I am working here to get money for school.

What was your most memorable experience at IE?

Getting Employee of the Month because I didn’t expect that so it was really a surprise.

What are your hobbies?

My hobby is art. I like to make handicrafts, little figures and things like that, because I like working with my hands.

Is there anything you would love to learn in your free time?

I would like to learn more about IT itself because that is my main interest, so I want to learn more programming and expand upon that a bit.

Tell us something you love about Zambia

The tourist attractions, like Victoria Falls. I’ve been many times.

Female employees of Impact Enterprises

Our Young Female Entrepreneurs Are the Future of Zambia

A New Focus on Female Entrepreneurship

Sub-Saharan Africa boasts some of the highest rates of female entrepreneurial activity in the world. Here, on average 27% of the female population are involved in entrepreneurship, according to a 2012 study by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor.

What sounds like a success story is actually the result of widespread economic dysfunction. In developing countries, the lack of formal sector jobs is forcing people into entrepreneurial ventures for income generation.

The world is starting to take notice. With self-reliance being touted as the economic driver of change in the region, women in particular play an important role in economic growth. In Obama’s recent visit to Kenya he brought attention to the issue of female entrepreneurship by saying, “If half your team is not playing then you have a problem. In many countries half the team is women and youth.”

There still remain large challenges to women’s involvement in business. While female entrepreneurship is growing, there are still significant barriers that women face. Beyond just the legal and financial barriers that exist in developing countries, many women lack the confidence to begin a start-up business.

Feel Confident They Can Start A Business


Source: 2012 report by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor

In the 2015 Female Entrepreneurship Index, Zambia ranked 64th out of the 77 countries surveyed. To address the inequity, the United States has launched WECREATE centers in 5 countries, including Zambia, which aim to connect female entrepreneurs with local resources.

Our Impact on our Female Employees

In June, Impact Enterprises launched a weekly workshop series for its female employees, which they have named Ladies of Victory and Encouragement (LOVE). As Nelicy and Dinah, two of the group leaders, explained, “We want this to be a space where we can share our ideas and learn from one another. Building our communication skills is really important.” The workshops will cover topics ranging from entrepreneurship and career advice to self-esteem, gender equality, and being a better person.

Group leader Mary presents her team's thoughts in the leadership deabates

Group leader Mary presents her team’s thoughts in the leadership debate

After the first month, the girls were given an assignment to put their newfound confidence to the test: they were to participate in the upcoming companywide debate workshop without being prompted. The room reacted nervous laughs and hesitation. Nevertheless, several of the women stepped up to the challenge the following week.

In the following session, the women shared their feelings. Cecilia, one of the team leaders, stated she felt she was more capable of expressing herself in large groups now because of the group. Another said she was trying to work on improving her own self-esteem, which she was encouraged to do by the group. Debra stated that she felt the group brought back the energy she used to have in secondary school.

This month, the women delve into the basics of entrepreneurship and risk. Several already have visions for their own businesses, such as Mary who wants to open a bakery or Violet who already sells clothes and accessories. They will discuss what’s preventing them from achieving their goals and how to have the right attitude to tolerate risk.

The LOVE workshops will teach our female employees skills that are invaluable to entrepreneurship and have them overcome the psychological barriers many of them face. By tackling the challenges together, they encourage each other through the process.