Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I’m Heading Back to the Congo

Yesterday I booked my flights. May 13: NYC -> Jo'burg -> Kinshasa. Then the IRC organizes internal flights, and May 21: Lubumbashi -> Jo'burg -> NYC. Indeed. Less than a week in Congo! Quite nuts. Why?

Our evaluation of the Tuungane 1 program – one of the world’s largest community-driven development (CDD) programs – is done. It's a very serious evaluation. It started in 2006 with a baseline survey (I only joined in 2008). The final survey employed almost 100 enumerators, worked in over 1,120 villages for around 1.5 years (Oct’10 to Feb’12), has a very solid (behavioral) measure to measure the impact of the development program, etc. Up to now the results have only been shared with a small group of people: DFID (the donor), the IRC and CARE (the implementers) and a set of academics working in this field of research (EGAP). As soon as we go public I’ll write more on this blog.

I travel with Macartan and Raul. The reason for the trip is to present the results to, first, DFID’s country team in Kinshasa. Then a few days later (in Lubumbashi) we present to the national and provincial teams of the implementing partners (IRC and CARE). After that Raul stays in the Congo to do fieldwork for his dissertation and Macartan continues to Nairobi to present again. I fly out on the 21st back to NYC.

I would have loved to stay longer. My team is working in South Kivu at this very moment (collecting data for my dissertation) and I really would like to meet them, check their work, etc. Moreover there is lots to do for Tuungane 2 – the second stage of Tuungane 1 and about three times as big. Unfortunately I can’t; on the 24-25th there is WGAPE at Berkeley. This is a twice-a-year-get-together of economists and political scientists from Berkeley, UCLA, etc. that work on the political economy of development of Africa. Via Macartan I was able to go there. I’m exited because there are some really amazing scholars there doing very interesting work. Luckily Raul will meet up with my team though in Bukavu.

Two more things:
  1. Did you know that if you book your flight at Orbitz.com you'll be flying to the “Democratic People’s Republic Congo”
  2. Food for thought: I often write too fast when using my phone and select “y” instead of the “t” so often my “you”s becomes “tou”s. Now the big question is: Where is the “h” coming from in Shakespeare’s “thou”? The “h” is not that closely located to the “y” on a phone's keyboard. Why would Shakespeare make those mistakes?

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