In March the EPI team visited Northern Uganda to begin the second phase of the EPI project with the Justice and Reconciliation Project (JRP). We spent a lot of time troubleshooting how to most effectively do the surveys to longitudinally measure change over time in our three communities of Atiak, Odek and Kanyagoga/Kasubi. This was our first pilot with the handset surveys using mobile phones to collect data via an application. We learned a lot about the pitfalls and challenges encountered when collecting survey data like this in these communities and had to make many last minute decisions. It was a great exercise for thinking on our feet!
We also spent some time with the Pact Sudan team that came down to Gulu to reconnect and catch us up on the challenges they are confronting in South Sudan. Our research has been slightly derailed because of the ongoing conflict there and we are working in two new communities now. We hope to start the survey process in our communities in South Sudan in the next couple of months.
We were also joined by Rich Chere from our partner CCMT in Zimbabwe. It was great to be able to connect with him and learn more about the challenges EPI might face in Zimbabwe. CCMT has now begun the first phase of the EPI project in Zimbabwe and has conducted focus groups in two communities.
The best part of our March visit was the fact that all the partners (except for IJR) were able to come together, get to know each other and talk about their experiences. We were also able to go out into the field together to exchange ideas on the survey process in Uganda. This was invaluable to the EPI team and we hope it was helpful to the partners as they begin to think about what the surveys will look like in their countries.