Glenn Quarles, Munsieville, South Africa
Things are going well down here in the Southern Hemisphere. I've been here now for about 3 weeks and MAN has it flown by! Calandra Miller and I have both been comissioned to design and implement a needs assessment survey over the course of this summer. Project HOPE has about nine Village Savings Fund (VSF) groups set up and are being taught by 3 local volunteer workers (the majority of participants in these groups do not speak English, hence the need for these volunteers). The groups are comprised of about 20 women each, and the purpose is to educate these women on microeconomics. Ultimately, after undergoing the entire education course (which takes about 2 months of one day a week, weekly meetings), these women will have set up amongst themselves a system for both saving and loaning out money to group members. We're about halfway through the program with multiple groups right now, and Calandra and I have been going out with translators to survey these women on their progress. We are also obtaining a baseline survey for the orphans and other vulnerable children (OOVC) under the care of these VSF members with the same survey tool.
Another task we've been given is to design a survey to cover a broad range of variables to try and gain a better picture of the population in Munsieville (both the formal, government residents and the informal settlements that surround Munsieville). We're drafting it over the next two weeks. Once it gets approval from both Project HOPE and the West Rand Municipality (for all essential purposes, the government authority through whom we need to work to get better access to this population), we will then be able to administer the survey. Calandra and I will be responsible for training 10 pairs of paid staff, a translator, and a survey taker on administering these surveys so as to obtain the best and most reliable data we can. We hope to get approximately 1,000 surveys total (using scientific random sampling methods). This is a rather ambitious undertaking, but Calandra and I feel confident that we will at least be underway in the main data collection by the time we need to return to the USA.