THE Astriid / GMA WORKING RELATIONSHIP

Astriid is a UK registered charity (No. 1176645) providing a “matchmaking service” between job-hunters who have life-challenging, chronic health issues and organisations willing to give these enthusiastic and skilful people a chance in the workplace. Their system is part “search” with keywords entered into a database system and partly “human instinct” on the part of the capable Astriid staff, understanding what is required (of GMA) and who best to fill the roles.

 

Many of these Astriid job-hunters are willing to volunteer pro bono for NGOs like MapAid, while others preferring to work for fee-paying organisations. Since initiation, MapAid has taken on two longer-term job-hunters turned volunteers and one paid job-hunter on a short-term basis. These include a lawyer, a business person, and a statistician, all of whom have added great value to the projects they have been involved in.

“Astriid candidates suffer not only from illness and disability, but in many cases a chronic lack of confidence. In our four short years we have found that helping these individuals back to work through the voluntary channel is a great way to build confidence and self-esteem, step by step. For this reason, organisations like MapAid play an enormously valuable part in our operation, creating opportunities for talented individuals to restore the normality of work to their lives.”

Steve Shutts

CEO, Astriid

“Global MapAid has directly benefitted from ASTRiiD's active engagement, being able to fill roles as diverse as a statistician, a lawyer, and a website developer, and we have tremendously appreciated the excellent work outputs of our ASTRiiD personnel.”

Rupert Douglas-Bate

Chairman and Founder, MapAid

One of the activities an Astriid job-hunter turned volunteer has worked on is our SEADS project (Sustainable Employment Anonymous Descriptive Survey). For SEADS, Dr Nicola Reeve – a statistician and computer scientist – kindly provided outstanding volunteer support, that was accurate and timely, to such a degree that while MapAid are happy she is now moving onto a wonderful new opportunity, we are sad to see her go, as we achieved so much together!

The Personnel

Dr Nicola Reeve is a statistician and computer scientist with advanced degrees from the Universities of Lincoln and Lancaster. Nicola is passionate about using her skills to benefit public health, and has carried out various significant real world studies to benefit society. Nicola is also a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society. She likes reading, crochet, and blackwork embroidery in her spare time!

Dr Reeve was key in two specific projects – UK/Norwegian Prisons Study plus contributing statistical analysis for the Tiyeni (Malawi) Project – as well as the Sustainable Employment Anonymous Descriptive Survey (SEADS) along with Mohammed Hussien. Further to these wide-ranging projects, Dr Reeve put forward ideas and initiatives that would assist GMA’s essential volunteer corps by driving fundraising and including rewards scales for those involved.

KEY Astriid/GMA PROJECTS

On the face of it, the Norwegian Prison system has had vastly more success rates with regards to prisoner recidivism and the question was asked: why not in the UK?

The objective of the UK/Norwegian Prisons Study was to investigate the economic case for a Norwegian style prison system in the UK, with a view to calculating the Social Return on Investment of adopting best practices here in the UK. The project would also include liaising with key individuals to better understand how their prison system has benefited them. The final work would then be presented to the relevant divisions of government including prison personal, senior justice stakeholders, policymakers, the public.

The aim of this project was to investigate whether deep bed farming does give higher yields, mostly using maize. Utilizing Remote Sensing data (Satellite images), farm location boundaries collected by field agents in Malawi, as well as the understanding of GIS knowledge and expertise, the project aimed to understand the impact of a low-cost water conservation technique upon farm yields, over several years using Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data.

Collating the survey data, Dr Reeve provided the statistical analysis of the crop yields of more than 100 small farms – half being with and half without the DBF technique – in Malawi.

The survey’s aim is to help bring about employment – this is directly connected to building peace, helping reduce social unrest or violence, as well as crime. SEADS is primarily a data collection exercise, involving as many different people as possible, from all backgrounds and all walks of life. The point of the survey is to evaluate how diverse influences make a difference to the level of success of a person’s career, and even try to understand whether the various influences have a compounding effect or not. Identifying the best questions (put forward succinctly and clearly) to ask willing participants goes a long way in gathering the correct data for optimal results… to make a difference. And here, Dr Reeve has been central in designing and running the survey data gathering. Find out more…

Find Out More About Astriid