Semi-Independent Research Projects

Over the past week, Robert and I have moved away from lecture-based instruction or guided exercises and have started to assist workshop participants with semi-independent research projects. With each of the participants now able to use ArcGIS to create maps centered around pre-determined themes (usually foreign aid or violent conflict), we felt that allowing workshop participants to make maps that were of interest to them would help to bring the trainings full circle and ensure that they would be able to apply the skills they have been practicing. We also broke up the trainings and created a schedule so that we could meet with each of the participants one-on-one to develop their ideas and make sure that all workshop participants were comfortable working with the software independently.

While each of the participants has had interesting ideas, though we could only find enough data to progress with some of them, one participant’s project was particularly noteworthy. Her organization has begun tracking the sexual assaults reporting in 5 of Uganda’s major daily newspapers, carefully documenting the dates and locations of the crimes. While this data is hardly comprehensive, and it certainly overrepresented urban areas in its statistics, it is a valuable snapshot that allows for relatively easy display in ArcGIS.

Additionally, I have begun working on a short briefing that will accompany a far larger report on the successes of the Action for Transparency program. This briefing, which will incorporate several maps and data visualizations, should serve to make a dense, technical report more accessible to interested parties.

In the coming week, which is my last at Transparency International Uganda, I will be traveling to Hoima in the west for a conference on environmental compliance in the oil and natural gas sectors. I will also be working with Robert to finish the semi-independent research projects.