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Views amidst violence: George Varughese
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Views amidst violence: George Varughese

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  • 1. Surveys as a tool toimprove aid in fragile states The Asia Foundation’s Afghanistan experience
  • 2. A fragile state environment Highly dynamic environment; uncertain &unstable Strained state-society relations; distrust & suspicion Multiple interests and actors at play; high costs of navigation Insufficient and unreliable information Weak local capabilities Weak physical and transportation infrastructure
  • 3. Some ways that surveys can help Capture trends in a dynamic environment, if done over time Monitor state-society relations over time  What matters? Public opinion vs. expert opinion  Help capture key issues that are normally sensitive and deeply political  Specific issues unique to the state can be studied in depth Can be a public good and used by multiple actors, where coordination risks and fund flows are high  Better inform program design  Better inform spending (targeting and resourcing)  Test assumptions on key issues  As a common baseline to track progress Build local capacity to provide reliable information
  • 4. Varying objectives of TAF surveysObjective Survey1) Inform host government policy- Survey of Public Perceptions of the Mindanao Peace Process (2008)makers and local policy debates Local Economic Governance Index (EGI) in 5 countries Voter surveys in pre-election periods (Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Pakistan, among others)2) Articulate/reflect key concerns Democracy & Conflict in Southern Thailandof conflict-affected populations Survey of the Afghan People (2006-11)3) Inform program design Public perceptions of police (Timor-Leste, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia) Leaders of Influence surveys (Maldives, Bangladesh)4) Inform donor strategies or Survey of the Afghan People (2006-11)international policy Survey of the Sri Lankan People (2010)5) Measure impact of programs Community policing pilot program in Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste (2009-11)
  • 5. Case in point: Survey of the Afghan People Nationwide quantitative survey conducted annually using a structured questionnaire among more than 6200 Afghans 6 surveys conducted since baseline in 2006 Findings at http://www.asiafoundation.org/publications/pdf/989
  • 6. Survey decision environment Pre survey During survey Post survey
  • 7. Some Pre-survey Challenges Objective (s) of the survey Partnerships For what and with whom ‘Localisation’ (Afghanisation) of the survey Ownership and accountability Objectivity Capacity
  • 8. Some Challenges during Survey In general, minimal secondary information available for design  In Afghanistan, last census in 1979, partial only  No electoral rolls Questionnaire development  Compatibility to other surveys within & outside the context  Collaborative inputs  Curiosity questions vs. actionable findings Scale of the fieldwork  Weak to nonexistent local capacity  Challenges with female interviewers
  • 9. …Some Challenges during Survey Weak infrastructure and harsh weather conditions  Mountainous terrain & lack of (good) roads  Long and harsh winters Ethno-linguistic sensitivities/closed society  Conservatism  Insularity Respondent selection and gender balance  Balanced gender coverage at each sample point  Travel restrictions for female interviewers
  • 10. …Some Challenges during Survey Quality control  Added oversight and supervision of field team and data cleaning  Backchecks and accompanied interviews Managing sampling and error  Increasing insecurity and inaccessibility  Greater replacement of sampling points  Error margin can increase
  • 11. Some Post-Survey and Other Challenges Analysis and reporting considerations  Overstating the findings  Interpreting every finding  Emphasizing magnitude vs. direction  Looking beyond topline findings to in-depth analysis, when to move along?  When to integrate with comparisons to other worldwide surveys Dissemination plans and the ethics of research  Selective data dissemination, suppression of findings  Duplicative efforts, sharing of information
  • 12. …Some Post-Survey and Other Challenges Risk management  Antigovernment elements, local strongmen, competitors  Host Government  Donors Way forward: one-off exercise vs. longitudinal – time series  Changing objective over time of conducting large scale surveys of Afghans  Disciplined to team, timing, and, quality control costs  Choice between parachute survey firm and in-house management in early years
  • 13. Pictures from the field
  • 14. Team training…
  • 15. The terrain…
  • 16. Interviews…
  • 17. Thank You!
  • 18. Objectives of the Afghan Survey Use strong social science research to provide credible, policy- relevant information about public opinion on recent changes and trends in government performance, public policy, politics and political processes, and development progress Build social research capacity in the country
  • 19. Dealing with outdated population data Rural sampling -- Combination of PPS and SRS Urban sampling -- use of maps/locality lists in the absence of database such as electoral rolls Innovative field movements for selection of starting points and households
  • 20. Building the field team Extensive training of interviewers & supervisors  Questionnaire  Sampling procedure- field movements, selection of households  Kish grid ‘Train the trainer’ sessions Mock interviews Female interviewer recruitment in each district of selected sample point
  • 21. Innovations Team of women interviewers recruited locally  ‘Mahrams’ for women interviewers Men and women interviewers in each sampling area Modifications in Kish selections  Women interviewers obtained details of female HH members; men obtained details of males