Successful Fieldwork in Rwanda

Written by Christine Bigler.

During the last weeks the Rwandan research team conducted more than 1100 interviews in the Northern Province of Rwanda.  This is a big step not only for the Rwandan team but also for the whole FATE-project. Before we were able to focus on the actual fieldwork – the interviews – all sorts of preparations had to be made. First, the questionnaire had to be adapted to the Rwandan context. This was done in an intensive exchange between the team members here in Kigali.

The next labour and time intensive step was sampling. Rwanda is divided into different administrative units: province, district, sector, cell and village. In our research region, the northern province of the country three districts were selected, out of those 21 villages have been selected at random. From every village we met the responsible village chiefs and so were given access to the names and employment of individual households. So we sampled 2,500 households, out of which 560 were randomly selected for the interviews.

Sampling activities in the Northern Province. Source: Bigler Christine 2015.

Sampling activities in the Northern Province. Source: Bigler Christine 2015.

Sampling activities in the Northern Province. Source: Bigler Christine 2015.

Sampling activities in the Northern Province. Source: Bigler Christine 2015.

The first test run has been found, that the questionnaire has got too long, so we had to divide the questionnaire into two parts. Next, it was time to training the enumerators. For the interviews 14 Rwandans were engaged, which were first made familiar on two-day training in Kigali with the questionnaires and the tablets used for the interviews. A particular challenge was the translation of the questionnaire into the national language Kinyarwanda. The always interesting discussions about the correct understanding of English terms, the enumerators showed extremely dedicated and resourceful. It was followed by another day of practice in the field, where the new knowledge could be applied directly and we have analyzed existing problems to be fixed.

After two more days of training in Kigali, we could finally start with the interviews. In two teams of seven people the enumerators conducted the interviews in two passes. They not only braved the bad weather (it is currently rainy season), but also the sometimes very poor road conditions and wide paths on foot from one household to another. Likewise, some households had to be repeatedly visited, there was nobody at home, and especially the men are always on the move in order to pursue their cross-border transactions. Finally, we have concluded successfully the two interview passages and now have a large data set, to its processing we will argue in the next few weeks.

Impression from the field. Source: Bigler Christine 2015.

Impression from the field. Source: Bigler Christine 2015.

Impression from the field. Source: Bigler Christine 2015.

Impression from the field. Source: Bigler Christine 2015.

Part of the research team: Source: Bigler Christine 2015.

Part of the research team: Source: Bigler Christine 2015.

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