Week Nine: Reporting on Time Spent in the Field

        I’m now done with nine weeks in Uganda, meaning I only have one week left! This is hard to believe, as my time here has really flown by, and a big part of me is not ready for it to end. This week at work, I’ve been busy writing a report to capture the results of the trainings that SAFE ran in Kitgum last week, where they taught traditional leaders and village elders about land rights and conflict mediation. To measure the impact of these trainings, my colleagues and I designed pre and post-surveys for the participants. I let the facilitators know about the results of the pre-training survey before the training started, so that the facilitators could emphasize the issues that needed the most improvement. After the training, the participants were asked the same questions again, so that we could measure any changes in their understanding of the material.

        The results of the surveys have been all over the place. On some questions, the participants improved tremendously after the training. On other questions, the participants performed about the same both before and after the training. And on other questions, the participants performed worse after the training than they did before. To further complicate things, the trainings were taught in Acholi, and the surveys were written in English. Although the survey questions were translated for the participants, my colleagues are now realizing just how much a language barrier may have contributed to confusion during this process. Overall, however, the traditional leaders have demonstrated a strong understanding of the material, and a general improvement on the post-training surveys compared to the pre-training surveys. While this experience has shown me that development work and M&E work can be quite complicated, these are also generally promising results.

        Outside of work, over the weekend I went on a road trip with my roommates and several friends to Ssezibwa Falls. We spent the day hiking up the rocks around the waterfall, grilling, having a picnic, throwing a frisbee around, and generally just enjoying the outdoors. The waterfalls were such a peaceful, meditative background that helped to inspire great conversation. I have really come to appreciate the people that I have met during these travels, and the beauty of the outdoors here. While a part of me is looking forward to the next adventures that await me at home in the United States, it will certainly be hard to say goodbye to this part of the world.