Saturday, February 14, 2009

The survey process begins!


Life has begun to get a whole lot busier here in Niger lately. For the past 3-4 months I have been working to build a baseline survey that our team can use with both people groups we work with. Kristi and I spent a bunch of time translating it into Fulfulde and Tamasheq then. Great for language study!

What's a baseline survey you ask? Well it is a survey we ask a large sample of people so we can find out their base level of development. We are asking questions about their overall health, deaths (causes), births (locations),  vaccination use, breastfeeding practices, sanitation facilities, distance to water, perception of the quality of the water they use, household goods they own, nutrition, education and a bunch of other things as well. There are 32 questions on the survey. With this information, we will be better equipped to see the problems and strengths of each area. It will help us to identify issues to target, health practices and overall areas that we can address through teaching, partnering with them, and sometimes to start our own projects where needed.

So what have I been up to? Well last week a great lady named Emily arrived on the scene to work with me for almost 6 weeks. She has a similar development degree as me, and this summer she was in Niger working with Samaritan's purse on a project. We really hit it off, and things ended up with the invite to return now to work with us for a short period! So Emily arrived and we spent the first week putting the survey into the final format, designing all the training for local surveyors we are working with, and getting all the kinks ironed out. Let me tell you, we had a lot of late nights trying to get it all finished! But so great to work across from her, tossing ideas back and forth and enjoying each other's company!


The scene of the crime. (my office is a little messy!)



Proof positive that a Mac and a PC can work together in perfect harmony!



Now this past Thursday and Friday we had a group of villagers come up from one of the Fulani villages we work with called Teppe. We are training them to administer the survey in their own village (approx 1000 people) and another neighboring village. We have worked with this group before as they are part of a development community that was formed at the village level that we partner with for training every week and projects. So not only is this continued training for them, but they are also passing on the blessing by being part of the team to help work in a neighboring village. They are not paid for their work, it is all part of the development process and we are proud of their excitement and dedication! The hard part of the last few days was the teaching itself. The women who came are illiterate (they will participate to listen to answers and help make things flow and make them culturally correct when just a woman is answering questions )and two of the three village men are very painfully slow readers. We did hire two additional people who are strong French/English/Fulfulde speakers who are helping facilitate and train and it has been a tremendous help. Each day it took us much longer to make it through the intended material than we had hoped.

Emily hard at work teaching a section


Yesterday we did some practice interviews in town with some locals who volunteered and we were proud to see how much progress they had made! The first few days in the village they will be working alongside one of our strong translators and sometimes with our teammate Kristi,  and after that we anticipate they will be strong enough to do it on their own!  We gave them homework to continue reading over the survey out loud 5 times a day this weekend and Monday we head to the village even earlier than planned to have a little more training time on site!

More of our wonderful trainees!



Monday to Thursday we are in the village of Teppe doing the surveys. We will get as many done as possible, but secretly (not much of a secret if I write it on the blog is it!) I am hoping for at least 60 individual families (representing roughly 360 people). Then we are back in town for a few days before heading back that direction for another 4 days of surveys with the Fulani people. After that-its the Tamasheq people's turn! (more on that later!). After all the initial surveys are done, we hope to have information from close to 1500 respondents!

Thank you for all your support. Thank you to Paul who is carrying the load at home, even helping with meals for the survey team, to free me up to throw my energy into the survey project. It was my brainchild to do this project and I am so excited how the team is working on it, and by the great information this will give us to help us focus our future works, and to give the results back to the people to help them analyze and prioritize their own goals!

This picture made me think of my sister in law who loves necklaces. Michelle - you think YOU like bling :) Check all this out! The ladies were beautiful and head to toe in bling!

survey3 survey2


I am sure I will have new stories and pictures when we get back from the village - so wish me luck, pray for our health and also for the success of our little (not so little!) project!!


See you next week!




andrea said...

Now you are speaking my language! It is amazing the similarities in our training in development and health promotion. All my work in my previous position was program development and evaluation - surveys, evaluations, program planning based on needs assessments. Just seeing the words and reading your plan gets me excited (two geeks are we!). Can't wait to hear about how this all goes - I would love to be there and be part of this! A

Anonymous said...

What exciting work Chantelle - this is what it's about isn't it...or a big part anyway..(this process)Praying on for all of you.


Cindy said...

One day we WILL get together for a coffee...
Great work! I will be praying for you.
Love the the way is that your pic. on Coffeegirl? If it is, you got my vote!