Making progress, kidogo kidogo.

Perhaps it was no coincidence that name of the NGO providing us with our phones, Kidogo Kidogo, is the Swahili term for “little by little.” Things are still moving along towards implementation of the baseline survey but not exactly setting any land speed records. Considering we have to coordinate the schedules of 3 NGOs and a university with a 7 hour time difference, our progress has actually been quite good, but we are a few days behind where we would have initially liked to be.

FINCA was able to provide us with our list of women eligible for the study, but now the challenge is to figure out how best to contact them since they, of course, do not have cell phones. This will require moving through the chain of command at FINCA: notifying the branch managers of the regions we are going, who will then contact the supervisors closest to the village banks, who will notify the loan officers who have direct contact with the women. It is, needless to say, a tedious process in the best circumstances, and FINCA will soon have its hands full with end of the month closings.

In spite of this, I am very fortunate to be working with a highly skilled team of enumerators from REPOA who have proven to be a great asset. The implementation will fall more heavily in their hands once we get in the field, because communication will be almost exclusively in Kiswahili when we leave Dar, so their ability to understand and contribute to the study has been a huge plus. Last week, I met with the team of enumerators and revised the survey translation to better capture the targets of our questions. Today the team is practicing the survey here in Dar to see if there are any more issues/mistranslations and get a feel for the time required to administer the survey. If it is too long, we may have to put it back on the chopping block and see what we can cut out to streamline the survey while still capturing the essence of the desired measurements. We will also be meeting with our contact at FINCA to map out the villages where the women are located and come up with a plan for how to most efficiently reach all of the women.

After today, all we need is an official word from the parties involved that we are ready to begin and a concrete start date, and we can begin the process of contacting the women. If everything goes perfectly, our team could be in the field by Thursday, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed on that one…

Till next time,

Tim Wright

Go team USA!