Views amidst violence: George Varughese


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Views amidst violence: George Varughese

  1. 1. Surveys as a tool toimprove aid in fragile states The Asia Foundation’s Afghanistan experience
  2. 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. 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. 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. 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
  6. 6. Survey decision environment Pre survey During survey Post survey
  7. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 13. Pictures from the field
  14. 14. Team training…
  15. 15. The terrain…
  16. 16. Interviews…
  17. 17. Thank You!
  18. 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. 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. 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. 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