Data up the wazoo

We’re making incredible progress. I really hadn’t expected to actually meet all data collection goals in 2 countries, but it looks like we’re on track to do just that. We had our second focus group today and our fourth key informant interview. We’ve got one more of each and then surveys and then we’re done in Swaziland. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed with the amount of transcription that needs to be done…and then of course the coding and analysis of the data is after that. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a completely wonderful overwhelmed, not at all like the awful overwhelmed feeling I had when all this started and I wasn’t sure I was going to get any data. I’m still not sure how things will work out in Zambia, but I’ve certainly got enough data now to keep me busy for a while, so it definitely takes some of the pressure off.

The content of the focus groups has been great. Since Swaziland is currently implementing the model of accreditation that Lesotho plans to adopt, we’ve been asking participants in Swaziland what their advice would be to Lesotho. The responses have been great. The suggestions for improvement of the current model and the rich descriptions of the key ingredients for success have been great. At the start of this, I had planned to do a within-country analysis to share with each country in addition to the overall papers that would cut across countries. What I realize now is that each individual country may actually benefit as much if not more from our findings in the neighboring countries. And I am really excited about how useful this information will be to the current accrediting bodies in the region.

The logistics of the focus groups have had a few kinks. They’ve all started about 30-45 minutes late, which is, of course, expected. But providing lunch has been particularly challenging. It never works out as we expect. Today, we were expecting lunch to arrive at 1 for the participants when we discovered that we had to actually go in person. One of the participants offered to drive half of the participants and then we crammed 5 in our tiny car, which only technically seats 4 people including the driver. It was way less comfortable than a kombi, but we made it. We know now to always expect the worst when it comes to organizing lunch.

Actually, we were quite happy that they were serving hake in addition to the chicken for lunch since we were in a foot-and-mouth disease area. We had no idea what this meant other than the fact that livestock were prohibited from leaving the area. Since we weren’t sure what livestock were affected, we figured we would play it safe. At least until Elena opted for the chicken on her second trip to the buffet. We had a lot of fun guessing about the possible symptoms of foot-and-mouth disease that Elena may start experiencing at any moment until we got onto the internet and found that it only affects cloven-hoofed animals and rarely infects humans. So next time you’re in a foot-and-mouth disease area, go ahead and eat the chicken!

Foot and Mouth

One Comment

Dad posted on June 23, 2010 at 3:29 pm

Did you think to ask where the hake came from? Hopefully not the Gulf of Mexico! And how do the symptoms of hoof and mouth disease compare to those of “gill and fin”?
It’s wonderful that you are so positively overwhelmed. Since you have such great cooperation in Lesotho and Swaziland, if you have not done so already perhaps you could get some of those kind folks to give you references to their counterparts in Zambia.
You mom is glad you post your adventures after the fact!

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