Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Wednesday number 2

Wednesday is here and again the hot African sun is beating down. Everything is quiet and peaceful all around the lodge except for the sound of tropical birds and sweeping of the leaves from the grass.

Yesterday I had a great meeting with someone working at IFPRI, finding out about some of the great work they are doing here analysing agricultural policy and providing technical support and advice to government. Aside from that it was a quiet day with some productive work on what I was doing before I came out (so glad I bought my own copy of Stata!). Met with my colleagues in the evening where we went over the final issues for village selection (which I will hopefully finalise today by acquiring a map from the statistics office) and went through some issues with translation of interview questions into chichewa. It was interesting to see how difficult it can be to express exactly the same meaning (e.g. with some nuances not existing in chichewa or vice versa). Thankfully I have an excellent colleague doing the translating.

Today I'm hoping to finalise village selection, as I said, after getting a detailed map of the district. So glad selection is being done here as I really needed the first few interviews and discussion with my colleagues to decide on the procedure. Hopefully after that I will be able to contact the next set of Ministry of Agriculture staff for interview. These should take place today or tomorrow, after which it will finally be off to the first village to complete interviews of the village head and a sample of farmers.

Also managed to have a great discussion yesterday with my colleagues about the local significance of different housing characteristics (material used for the walls, roof and floor) as I am using data on this from previous surveys to create an index of socio-economic status. This local understanding of what materials mean (e.g. having fired mud brick walls) will be crucial for accurately capturing differences between households.

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