Tuesday, July 14, 2009

After being in the field.

The last two days we were in the field. Yesterday we were in Mose; a village with a TUUNGANE project. IRC already build a bridge and will start building a "centre de sante" in about two months. Vincent and Wivini piloted the final survey; this has to be done randomly. As a result, for villages with less than 50 houses we need the following very scientific tools: crayon and a deck of cards. First, all houses are numbered. Then, divide the total amount of houses by the number of surveys one wants to conduct. From the deck of cards draw a card and then conduct the survey in the household that has the number on the card and in the households that have this number plus a multiple of the calculated number.

Thierry in action:Wiveni in action:
While Vincent and Wivini did their surveys (three each), Simon and I interviewed the villagers starting with the chief. Because most people were in the fields and only expected back at 2pm we asked the chief whether he could send somebody along with us so that we could visit the fields and have a look - we are curious PhD-students in the end. It took 45 minutes to get there and 45 minutes to get back. In the burning sun. Why are we so curious again? We then had talks with the women and then with the men.
Towards to fields: Simon, Sherif (TUUNGANE boss for this chefferie), and Patrice (TUUNGANE M&E officer for Haut Katanga):
Today we went to a village that does not have a TUUNGANE project. Because we want to evaluate the impact of TUUNGANE in the correct way only having a survey before the project (2007) and after the project (2011) in the TUUNGANE villages is not enough. Maybe there are things - different than TUUNGANE - that took place in these villages between 2007 and 2011; e.g. economy went up. To separate between these general effects and the TUUNGANE effect one also needs to have surveys in so-called control villages; i.e. villages that also existed in the 4 years that TUUNGANE was in place, but did not have a TUUNGANE project. The village of today was such a control village. Because it had more than 50 houses - and doing the surveys randomly is crucially important - we used even more scientific tools that yesterday: crayon, a deck of cards and … a stick. One goes to the center of the village draw the different directions of streets on the ground and throw a pointed stick in the air. The street the stick aims at is the street that will be numbered; same process again. Things went also smooth today. Vincent and Wivini were great. Simon and I had our interviews with the chief, the women and the men. And Patrice - the TUUNGANE M&E officer here in Haut Katanga - joined so he could see how we do it and we went over the survey with him in detail. We are training him so that he can go to Tanyanika and do it with a team there; we, unfortunately, won't be in the DRC much longer.
Number 47:

Number 44, could have been Obama's house:
Quite a few notes on last two days:
- The village today had a lot of IDPs. They were from the war in 1996. They came all the way from Bukavu and Moba.
- The villages are small. People live close to each other. The walls of the houses are thin. I do not joke if I say that I have a camping feeling when I sit on the ground and talk to villagers (picture: Dutch guy, caravan, camping, etc.).
- Life in these villagers is centered around food and water; around survival. People wake up at around 5am and go to the field and work till around 2pm. The women then start preparing food and collect water (this takes hours). In the meantime the men do nothing. Then in the evening the family can eat. It is incredible, I am already pissed off if I have to walk to the supermarket less than 10 minutes away. And I do my shopping within 15 minutes and only twice a weak.
- Here in Lubumbashi mainly copper and cobalt is mined. We see many trucks heading to Tanzania and Zambia when we are on the road.
- Children here do not scream “MONUC, MONUC”, they just wave. By the way, a white person sitting in a car has a self-imposed "waving-duty".
- Still on the Dutch guy being frustrated (I am going to get at the bottom of this). People in these villages again said: We need a school, etc. So, this time we asked why don’t you build a school yourself? There is (wo)menpower, there is wood, etc. First answer: "We don’t know how to build it". We said that we didn't belief that, because they can build houses. They then gave another answer: "We don’t have the money to pay the teachers". But, all the men are just sitting around doing nothing in the afternoon! I am still frustrated.
- One of the big problems here is that the soil is not fertile. All villagers complained about this. After quite a bit of asking we got to know that - already for decades - the villagers cultivate THE SAME fields. I learned many years ago that that doesn’t work. Each year - of several fields - one has to let one field lay fallow; i.e. should not be cultivated. If a field is constantly cultivated the soil gets devastated!
- All NGOs constantly ask questions like "What is wrong in your villages?" "What do you lack?" Etc. Unfortunately, also we do. But we think this must give a bad feeling to the villagers, maybe make them start thinking about stuff they miss that they never thought off before, etc. So, we always try to end on a positive note and therefore end our interviews with the question "What are you proud off in the village?" Interestingly, or unfortunately, this seems also the most difficult question to answer. The last village said “we have nothing to be proud of.” :(
- The villages we visited are about a 2 hour car drive away from Lubumbashi. While signal was bad several villagers had a cellphone. We asked them where they charged it, and consistently - and in both villages - they said Lubumbashi. Note: these people do NOT have a 4x4 to get there.
- Funny - or actually sad - during the survey some people said that TUUNGANE wasn’t managed well. The reason: because they didn’t receive part of the money themself.
Four final random things:
- We found our blog on another website (www.congonewschannel.net). Our blog is between post from Reuters, Reliefweb, Bloomberg, CNN, Wall Street Journal and Allafrica so it should be ok. However, it is also between posts from the Episcopalchurch, Brooklynrail, and ... Foxnews.
- There are two big brewing companies in Lubumbashi at the moment. Brasimba is here since about 80 years. Then about a year ago Bralima joined and started a marketing war. At the moment the colors of these two companies are literally at each corner of the street.
- I wanted to write this down since the trip to Buyakiri, but I constantly forgot. Because the FARDC (the government army) has little money and because the Belgians left their warehouses full with army stuff when they left in the 1960s, currently many FARDC soldiers walk around with Belgian flags their jackets.
- And a final picture for all the ladies. Ahh. How sweet (and tasty on a fire with some bbq sause):

1 comment:

  1. Hey guys -- there is actually a NEW approach to development called "asset based" which uses tools like asset mapping and asset-based management to work with local communities to identify what they HAVE rather than what they don't have and build on that. You can find out a lot more about this from my friend Terry Bergdall at the Asset Based Community Development Institute based at Northwestern: www.abcdinstitute.org