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Dobility is excited to be speaking in two sessions at this year’s MERL Tech conference in Washington, DC on Sept 5-6, 2019. Make sure to check out our sessions, described below, and stop by our booth. Also, stay tuned to our blog for reflections and insights after the conference.

Can’t attend in person? Follow us on Twitter using #MERLTech to stay up-to-date.

Beyond “Make vs. Buy”: Making MERL Tech Work for YOU

Curious about how the “sausage” of MERL software gets made? Our founder and CEO, Dr. Chris Robert, will join other notable practitioners from MSH, Bluesquare, and DevResults to discuss the approaches and challenges of developing MERL software that meets the needs of development and humanitarian professionals. Participants in this session will leave with a fuller understanding of how software companies operate, how various business models work in practice, and why finding the ‘perfect’ MERL tech solution can be frustrating. Learn more here.

Collecting Data in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings: Approaches, Principles, and Tools

What does it take to safely collect accurate data in challenging environments? Dr. Chris Robert and Lindo Simelane of Dobility will join Integrity Global, an international consultancy that supports evidence-based programming in complex environments, to present relevant approaches, tools, and considerations for data collection in fragile and conflict-affected settings. In this interactive session, they will lead participants to draw from their own experiences to develop a set of principles for conducting data collection in these environments. More details can be found here.

Chris Robert


Chris is the founder of SurveyCTO. He now serves as Director and Founder Emeritus, supporting Dobility in a variety of part-time capacities. Over the course of Dobility’s first 10 years, he held several positions, including CEO, CTO, and Head of Product.

Before founding Dobility, he was involved in a long-term project to evaluate the impacts of microfinance in South India; developed online curriculum for a program to promote the use of evidence in policy-making in Pakistan and India; and taught statistics and policy analysis at the Harvard Kennedy School. Before that, he co-founded and helped grow an internet technology consultancy and led technology efforts for the top provider of software and hardware for multi-user bulletin board systems (the online systems most prominent before the Internet).