Let me start with some background information (attention: this is boring). There are many villages in the four provinces we are working – around 5,000 that we know of – and they are scattered out over an area the size of France. We call these villages Lowest Level Units (LLUs). Why? Well, the IRC – for logistical reasons – grouped many of these LLUs together into so-called CDVs; entities of around 1,200 people. Then to make things even more complicated five CDVs are themselves grouped together into so-called CDCs. Now, TUUNGANE gives each VDC $3,000 and each CDCs around $60,000. To make things more complicated not all CDVs and CDCs are in TUUNGANE. Via a public lottery about half of all CDCs were selected for TUUNGANE. OK, there we go:
1. Get LLU data together.
In 2007 a baseline survey was undertaken in 600 LLUs (see previous post). Next year we will undertake another survey in the same 600 LLUs PLUS in another 600 LLUs. Consequently, it is kind of important for us to know in which CDV and CDC each LLU is (yes, hurrah for the acronyms). Also, we have to know which LLU is in the control or treatment group, whether we did the baseline survey there, what their population size is, etc. Of course, this data is scattered all over the IRC place, very messy, or simply missing. We have been working on this for the last few days; i.e. boringly sitting inside behind a laptop (but in the sun with a glass of wine).
2. Geo-locate villages.
Another thing we have to know about these LLUs is where they are located; for many LLUs we have no clue where they precisely are. What we want is the geo-location of these villages. Therefore, we are preparing to: hire people, train them how to use GPS-devices, get GPS-devices, hire motorbikes, get petrol, make maps, etc. These guys have to visit all 5,000 LLUs and have to take longitude, latitude and altitude information. Let me not start about the costs and size of this project.
3. Violence measurement system.
We received a grand from USAID to put a measure in place that gives information on local-level violence. In these two months we will pilot the “Phone Project” in 4 villages.
4. Clean the baseline survey.
We also have to clean the data we obtained from the baseline survey (see previous posts). This is a lot of work but it is going relatively smooth; a bit of coding once in a while, looking at the hardcopies of the surveys, etc.
5. Pilot the final survey.
Finally, we have to pilot the final survey. That is, there will be questions in the final survey that were not in the baseline survey, and it likely that there were questions in the baseline survey that were not good. To make sure the new question in the final survey are good, we have to pilot them. We have finished a draft of the final survey (Macartan is currently looking at it). The next step is to hire teams of people, train them how to do the survey, and send them out into the field to 8 randomly chosen villages.
6. Flying to the provinces.
For many of these things we have to be physically present in the different provinces. While number 4 will only be done in Sud Kivu (where we are at the moment), number 2 and 5 will have to be done in each province. Also, to doublecheck number 1 we have to sit around the table with provincial directors, to make sure we have the correct LLU information. Bottomline, in upcoming weeks we will have to fly to each province, which is easier said than done. There are two ways to fly around: MONUC or ECHO (there is a third – the DRC’s own airline companies – but one should only do that if one likes to crash). Both are free, but MONUC is unreliable. One goes to the UN airport, gets in the plane, and at the last moment they kick you out because there is something or someone more important than you that also has to get on the plane. It take on average 2.5 tries to get a MONUC flight. ECHO (from the European Union) is more reliable. Problem is that one should be on a list to get in. Via via we can get on the list. The only problem is that ECHO only flies out of Bukavu on Tuesdays and back to Bukavu on Thursday. Planning is complicated here (but fun!).
Some final random things.
- Simon doesn’t like foufou. Peter only likes it because he can then eat with his hands;
- Oranges are green (and grow in our garden);
- Corn also grows in our garden, but right next to the trash heap;
- Simon and I have many light-blue shirts with us, which is not wise. We look like MONUC;
- There is a small shop run by Pakistanis inside the MONUC base. We bought a $2 movie there (“Yes man”);
- Because the shower has no pressure (and no hot water for that matter), we have a bucket shower each morning.