The Devil is in the Details

I’ve been the staff writer here at LWR for five and a half years. But it didn’t take me that long to see that my colleagues really do live out a lot of the organizational values and culture.

Take our commitment to monitoring and evaluation, for example. At one point, one of LWR’s coffee machines died (we love our Fair Trade coffee, so this was an urgent matter!). Some offices might simply replace the old coffee machine with an identical one – but not at LWR!

Instead a small group of staff conferred and discussed how the old coffee machine worked. How many cups of coffee do we think it yielded before it broke? Did staff like that coffee maker? Is there another coffee maker that would better suit our needs? (Incidentally, yes there was!)

Blackboard that says 'Our coffee is an experience that chalk is unable to convey'

This may seem like a lot of effort for a coffee maker but that’s just how we do things here at LWR. And it extends past our office conveniences.

We’re serious about measuring impact

We’re serious about measuring impact to ensure our programs are effective. Sometimes this tells us great things about ourselves – like how our work to educate families in Africa on protecting themselves from malaria seems to be working. We’ve seen an increase in bed net usage and instances of people seeking treatment for malaria symptoms!

LWR staff talking to program participants
Staff in the Philippines evaluate the effectiveness of LWR’s emergency response and Quilt & Kit Ministry.

And sometimes this exposes room for improvement. Such was the case when we underwent an agriculture meta-review that looked at what we know of the impact of our agriculture work. We learned we still have work to do to ensure we are designing programs in a way where they can be measured and impact can be properly assessed.

As a result, we’ve made an action plan that provides more monitoring and evaluation support — at the project level as well as here at headquarters — as well as training and tools. And we intend to share our tools with other organizations working toward sustainable solutions to poverty — because experience tells us that working in partnership makes us stronger!

We are Stewards

We do all this because we are committed to transparency and accountability but also because we are stewards of the gifts invested by Lutherans across the U.S. to end poverty, injustice and human suffering. As such, we are called to make good use of God’s gifts!

So whether it’s something as simple as a coffee machine or as complex as program design, we’re passionate about making sure our work works!

And we’re also open to conversation. If you ever have questions about our programs, email us at, contact us on Facebook or via Twitter.

Thank you for your support!