Salamu sana! It wouldn’t be a good week on the project without learning a few hard lessons, and we have certainly had a good week! We have managed to meet with lots of potential partners, trying to find out where the best synergies and expertise lies. There have been some good connections made and once our agreements have been put in place we will be able to announce which organisations will be partnering with us locally. For those of you who don’t work in this area, local partners are essential for implementing a project such as this. They possess the knowledge, personnel and contacts necessary to actually do the work on the ground. We, as researchers based in Sweden are ‘out of the loop’ somewhat. The last thing we want to do is impose with our cultural values and risk losing the essence of the information we are trying to find out in a cloud of misunderstanding!
So why was this week so good? Well we realised that the value of our credits is way to high for the communities we will be working in. So much so that what we see as a good thing (as cash payment) may actually end up causing more problems than it solves. We received this comment from several angles so have decided to revisit the payments and reduce them to a level where they still represent an incentive, but don’t become the source of conflict. The good thing about this is that it might enable us to increase the amount of pregnant women we are able to include in this pilot phase.
The next big challenge for us is the ethics approval. Not that we are worried about our ethics, only that the ethics form is about 40 pages long, and the approval process can take up to 3 months. That would be a disaster for the project because no work can be started before we have been signed off. So cross your fingers and hope we get a bit of luck in getting it processed quickly.