Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Building capacity through FTF FEEDBACK’s Population-Based Survey Implementation

This blog post was written by Jessica Fehringer of University of North Carolina and Jeanne Downen of Tango International.

The Feed the Future (FTF) FEEDBACK activity carries out capacity building efforts in four different areas: impact evaluation, performance monitoring, data management, and knowledge management. To date, the performance monitoring component has received the greatest focus. FTF FEEDBACK has trained 987 individuals in survey implementation to enable them to implement Population-Based Surveys (PBS) in the Feed the Future Zones of Influence (ZOI) in Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Tajikistan, Nepal, Zambia, and Kenya. Training covered the use of electronic tablets to collect and transmit data, interviewing techniques, anthropometric measurement techniques, household listing procedures, and human subjects’ treatment. 

Following training, FTF FEEDBACK surveyed trainees from a sample of countries (Rwanda, Uganda, Nepal, and Tajikistan) to assess their ease in applying the training skills learned and to identify additional training needs. A total of358 trainees responded – 79 percent were enumerators and 21 percent were supervisors/team leads. The respondents reported ease in applying the training skills during their work on Population-Based Surveys; for example:

  • 98.6 percent reported little or no difficulty applying the skill of “obtaining consent;”
  • 97.2 percent reported little or no difficulty applying the skill of “explaining questions so that respondents understand and are able to respond accurately;” and,
  • 99.4 percent reported little or no difficulty applying the skill of “using tablets for data collection.” 

FTF FEEDBACK also asked these trainees about areas where they would like more training.  The top five areas of interest for additional training were:

  1. How to explain and translate questions to respondents (43.3 percent of respondents)
  2. Managing the interview data on tablets (40.0 percent of respondents)
  3. Interviewing techniques (38.4 percent of respondents)
  4. Obtaining informed consent and introducing purpose of survey to respondent (33.8 percent)
  5. Completing and reviewing the questionnaire on the tablets (32.3 percent)

Respondents also expressed interest in additional training on handling data recovery in the event of tablet system malfunction.  Looking at differences by country, Nepali respondents reported much higher interest in additional training across all potential training topics; and, Tajik respondents showed higher interest specifically in anthropometry.  These differences may reflect cultural and/or contextual differences. For example, there was particular hesitation amongst Tajik enumerators to test anthropometric techniques in their mixed-sex group.

The PBS survey implementation gave the trainees the opportunity to build their technical skills on using electronic tablets to collect data. This was the first time for many trainees using tablet computers. Most people mastered the tablet technology quickly, as the majority was already very familiar with mobile phones. For some trainees, it was their first time trained on the ethics of interviewing human subjects. Trainees reported that the training helped them to build their interview skills.

In future PBS training, FTF FEEDBACK will continue to ensure that survey data collection staff know basic interview techniques, consider contextual differences that may impact training, allocate more time to training on survey modules that may be more challenging to explain to interviewees, and emphasize managing tablet interview data. FTF FEEDBACK will also add one to two more training days for enumerators, so that during training, enumerators can identify topics on which they would like to receive additional training before commencing data collection.