Kimetrica, Save the Children, and Technical Assistance to Non-Governmental Organizations (TANGO) International are working together to implement the Livelihoods for Resilience (L4R) learning activity in Ethiopia. L4R contributes to USAID’s Feed the Future (FtF) program to address the root causes of global hunger, as well as to USAID Ethiopia’s Development Objective 1 (DO1) aimed at increasing economic growth and resilience in Ethiopia. In 2018, the team carried out a mixed-methods baseline study of L4R Activity in Amhara, Tigray, Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region (SNNPR) and Oromia. The study included a large-scale survey (3,520 households), 104 key informant interviews (KIIs), and 32 focus group discussions (FGDs).
To measure households’ real-time response to shocks and/or stressors, and inform L4R’s adaptation, in 2019, the team began conducting quarterly, recurrent monitoring surveys (RMS) across the same regions. The RMS collects and analyzes high-frequency panel data regarding household shock exposure, responses, wellbeing outcomes, and changes in household resilience capacity. Mixed-method data is collected from a subset of baseline respondents (900 HHs) and alternates between 32 key informant interviews and 16 focus group discussions to prevent respondent fatigue. Kimetrica’s Ethiopian research team manages all of the data collection logistics and staff costs.
Following the outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in early 2020, Ethiopia imposed travel restrictions to reduce and curb the transmission of the virus. As a result, Kimetrica and its partners, in consultation with USAID/Ethiopia, rapidly and successfully transitioned the RMS from face-to-face to telephone-based data collection for its surveys and KIIs. This adaptive strategy addresses USAID/Ethiopia’s ongoing data needs and adheres to the rules and regulations of Ethiopia’s Federal and Regional Governments; avoiding the risk of virus transmission and safeguarding households, field workers, and staff.
The telephone-based surveys yielded a 98.1 response rate, which exceeded the RMS average response rate of 97 percent via face-to-face data collection. The successful transition to remote data collection was a result of (1) interviewers’ persistence and ability to call interviewees multiple times, as opposed to the limited ability to conduct call-backs with face-to-face interviews; (2) the interviewers’ rapport and familiarity with the households from the previous four rounds of face-to-face interviews; and (3) a sufficient amount of time and financing to make possible all of the necessary logistical and technical preparations for telephone-based data collection.
Sufficient planning was essential for success. This included making sure telephone networks were available in the planned survey areas; establishing a complete telephone directory for sample households (using available data and other sources, such as the local government); ensuring that households had functional telephones; finding out if there was electrical power or other sources of energy (e.g. solar) to charge phones; and assigning focal persons from within the sample-clusters communities (e.g., community leaders, elders, chiefs, etc.) to help fill in any gaps. Collaborating with focal persons on the ground was particularly important as they helped the team identify the best locations for network connectivity and could facilitate the scheduling of phone appointments.
Though ethical approvals were secured at the beginning of the RMS work, the relevant authorities in the government offices were informed about the transition to a phone-based survey.
Kimetrica and its partners are proud to be providing USAID/Ethiopia with adaptive data collection and analytical services it needs to ensure the L4R learning activity continues to meet household needs, especially during this difficult time. These invaluable lessons will be used to inform future remote data collection efforts for L4R, as well as similar efforts for other clients around the world.
Kimetrica provides research, large-scale survey, information management, and modeling and simulation services for evidence-based decision-making and learning. Kimetrica works with governments and non-profit organizations to increase the impact and efficiency of their social investments, enhance accountability, manage critical risks, and build donor or taxpayer confidence. Kimetrica has run projects in over 50 countries around the world and continues to expand its reach. Kimetrica has offices in Broomfield, Colorado; Washington DC; Nairobi, Kenya; and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Find out more at www.kimetrica.com.