By Lisa Nguyen
Arriving in Kenya, I did not know what to expect. It seemed at this point, anything was possible and plans can not always be counted on—especially in a different country and even more so on a entirely different continent. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that not everything can be planned for in advance, mostly when those preparations were made thousands of miles away from the field. For example, before I arrived to Kenya I was under the assumption that Linda Jami would have had its national debut a week before my arrival, however, it did not. As a result, not many Kenyans knew about Linda Jamii which as you could predict, caused issues when trying to find participants to survey about Linda Jamii. No longer could I count on just dong a convenience survey on a pre-selected street corner to collect one hundred surveys. In order to collect or even come close to gathering one hundred surveys, I had to revise my strategy.
Luckily, the team at Changamka offered helpful suggestions on how to collect my goal of one hundred surveys. Suggestions included phone surveys, internet surveys, phoning participants and having them meet us or vice versa. In the end, a combination of the suggestions would be utilized in order to gather as many participant participation as possible in the short week I was there. Linda Jamii subscribers were randomly chosen from the Changamka database, phoned and given three options to complete the survey, by internet, phone, or by meeting at a pre-specified venue. The last option gave participants the incentive of being fed a light dinner if they completed the survey. The operation would be tedious and time-consuming but necessary and the only real option at the time. However, there was a large glitch in the plan. There was very limited funding for this study to begin with but now money was needed in order to phone participants, reserve a venue, and pay for participant’s meals. Luckily, Changamka agreed to fund the venue and the incentives but only for one day. Therefore participants were asked to come to the venue only on the Thursday that week anytime from 5 pm to 8 pm. With this plan, I knew I had only one day—more like just 3 hours–to collect my goal of one hundred surveys since many of the Linda Jamii subscribers were not too responsive to the other two options due to the length of the survey.