All posts by Alex Kellerstrass

mPowering Seeking Research and Mobile Content Intern

Research and Mobile Content Associate

Scope of Work for Research and Mobile Content Intern

Background: mPowering Frontline Health Workers (mPowering) is a USAID partnership that aims to contribute to the elimination of preventable child and maternal deaths by accelerating the use of mobile technology to improve the skills and performance of frontline health workers.

mPowering’s ORB content platform ( connects  frontline health workers and trainers to high-quality, mobile-optimized training content. ORB brings into one space curated, quality- assured, multimedia materials from multiple content developers; and the content covers the RMNCH spectrum for health workers and supervisors. mPowering also works in building collaborations to help governments use the power of mobile technology to strengthen maternal and child health services, sustainably and at scale. mPowering promotes sharing of learning and ideas to generate evidence and information on the use of mobile technology by frontline health workers.

Position Overview:  The Research and Mobile Content Intern will assist with data collection and desk review efforts devoted to two research projects – one on evaluation for mHealth programs, and another synthesizing mPowering’s Global Learning outputs. In addition, the intern will support mPowering’s ORB platform, including identifying new content and, coordinating posting of new content to mPowering’s ORB platform, and carry out other duties as assigned.

The Intern will work closely with mPowering’s Senior Program Coordinator and Sr. Country Advisor in the Maternal and Child Survival Program (MSCP) offices in Washington, D.C.  This is a part-time position, paid on an hourly basis.

Period of Performance: Date of hire through May 2016, with possibility of extension.

Activities:  The following activities illustrate the types of work that will be carried out by the employee, though other related duties may be requested.

  1. Research and Global Learning:
  • Support ongoing desk research to collect and review studies devoted to the evaluation of mHealth technology. Assist in summarizing the results of the review.
  • Assist in the collection and analysis of data related to ongoing research activities, which will be distributed to members of mPowering’s network (as well as other channels of distribution).
  • Analyze mPowering’s Global Learning outputs from program inception to date for key themes to inform upcoming synthesis.
  • Assist with background research on training approaches, country programs, or other relevant topics as requested
  • Respond to partner inquiries and carry out partner-requested research tasks
  • Attend partner-led and other public events and brief mPowering team
  1. ORB Content Support:
  • Scan resources submitted to ORB to determine which content should be forwarded to our Content Review Team.
  • Upload content onto ORB and identify new content and content providers to initiate new submissions to the ORB content review process.
  • Communicate with mHealth audiences (trainers, content developers, etc.) to facilitate use of ORB
  • Participate in presentations and webinars to promote ORB content, as appropriate
  • Provide input into future developments for ORB, with an emphasis on country ownership and sustainability
  • Structure ORB content into training courses for country programs, as needed.

Deliverables: Deliverables will be related to the above activities, with format, deadlines, and other details to be agreed upon by the intern and supervisor.


  • Enrollment in relevant Master’s level program.
  • Strong research and information organization skills in public health.
  • Experience (academic or professional) with education/training for health professionals.
  • Interest in the use of mobile technology for health; mobile health experience is a plus.
  • Excellent and analytical writing skills.
  • Professional skills, including strong interpersonal skills, organization, and willingness to learn.


To Apply: Please send a resume or CV and short covering note to

What Does mPowering Do?

What does mPowering do?

Before joining the mPowering team in January 2016, I’ll be the first to admit that I had a limited understanding of what exactly mPowering is. I knew that mPowering focused on mobile resources for community or frontline health workers. How they actually did that—I had no idea.

In my new role as Sr. Program Coordinator for mPowering, I have been learning through immersion how mPowering works. We work through country programs, global learning, advocacy, and our online content platform, ORB. This allows us to increase collaboration, learning, and support for frontline health workers in our partner countries and in the mHealth world.

I’ve learned how often collaboration is mistakenly underestimated in global development. Like anyone who works in the global development field, I have noticed how a large number of organizations have initiatives operating in the same regions without utilizing the overlap of objectives with other organizations. Collaboration doesn’t always seem feasible, but it’s a mindset that can be strengthened with time and intentionality.

mPowering builds collaborations between governments, donors, private sector, and civil society to achieve stronger health systems and strong support for health workers. Many times, this starts with simple conversations over coffee that uncover how one person’s need can be met and strengthened with another’s approaches or solutions.

Pupils receive Oral vitamin A immunization at their school in Bungoma county, Kenya 2016

Pupils receive Oral vitamin A at their school in Bungoma county, Kenya 2016

mPowering works to support interactions that spark collaborations to reach shared goals. We promote Global Learning and Advocacy by sharing ideas and information on the use of mobile technology by frontline health workers and helping governments and partners incorporate innovations into training. I saw this effort first-hand during a workshop mPowering co-hosted in spring 2016. At the workshop, private sector, civil society, and ministry of health representatives gathered for a two-day, in-depth discussion to establish concrete next steps in incorporating mobile technology into health systems, at scale, in two countries. Throughout the two-day workshop, I heard attendees comment multiple times of how they felt more progress was made by getting everyone in the same room.

One of mPowering’s greatest contributions to mHealth initiatives is ORB, an online content platform that acts as a library for both sharing and obtaining mobile-ready health worker training materials. ORB is designed with the health worker in mind. Health workers are often working with very few resources, and internet access is not always guaranteed where they work. ORB stores resources that can be downloaded onto a mobile device and accessed without connectivity. ORB’s content meets the needs of health workers by providing training materials in their language and that are relevant to the work they do in their communities.

Before I joined this team, I knew that mPowering Frontline Health Workers was a partnership working to improve mobile technology for health workers, as part of a global effort to end preventable maternal and child deaths. Since January, I have not only learned what mPowering does, and what it means to say mPowering is a partnership, but how important partnership is in accomplishing the greatest goals for development.


Photo credit: Allan Gichigi/MCSP

ORB’s First Year: how we’re supporting frontline health workers

The tragic statistics around global maternal and child mortality are well known, and often repeated. But what we sometimes leave out are the millions of lives that are saved every year – often not in a hospital or by a specialist, but by a skilled frontline health worker in a small facility or a patient’s home.


mPowering and its partners help these health workers overcome one significant challenge they face in their work – getting access to high-quality training materials when they need them, wherever they are.  The ORB platform was created to help trainers, governments, NGOs, and other users find relevant, quality-assured training content, and share it with health workers on mobile devices.

ORB's Home Page


On June 1st, mPowering celebrated ORB’s first year. At a reception in Washington D.C., some of our partners shared their stories of how ORB is being used to improve health worker training:


  • Angela Baker of Qualcomm Wireless Reach talked about the rapid expansion of mobile devices and the new opportunities this brings. She gave inspiring examples from maternal and child health about how mobile devices are bringing people together in new ways to better understand healthy behaviors and to manage their own health.


  • Peter Cardellichio of Global Health Media Project shared a story of a new mother in Pakistan. A health worker showed the mother a video, like this one, about danger signs in newborns. Just days later, the mother recognized some of the same signs in her own baby, and brought her to the health worker in time for successful treatment.


  • Internet connectivity has yet to reach every community; Rachel Feinberg of Outernet described their simple solution – Lighthouse – for providing people in remote settings with access to information. Health workers and community members visiting the health facilities in six rural areas where Lighthouse has been installed (simply and at low cost) are now able to download – for free – content from ORB onto their mobile devices and then view and share the content offline.


ORB Tile 1

  • Okey Okuzu of InStrat Global Health Solutions described the enthusiasm that health workers, communities, and state governments in Nigeria are showing for ORB’s content. Health workers in two states are already using materials from ORB to improve their skills and knowledge in maternal and child health. One state policy maker indicated that his goal is to make the content available in all facilities and training schools, with the potential to train and support thousands of health workers.


Finally, Dr. Ariel Pablos-Mendez of the Bureau of Global Health at USAID described the potential that health workers have to make better health a reality in each of their communities. He reminded us, “Everything we do in development, and especially in health, depends on frontline health workers”; he commended the mPowering partnership for its work in creating ORB as a global public good and accessible library for health workers everywhere.


We thank our speakers, and particularly our event sponsors Qualcomm Wireless Reach, for supporting this celebration of ORB. Read here for more about ORB’s first year. For help using ORB to access or share content, please contact the mPowering team at

By Carolyn Moore