February 24, 2021

PMA Burkina Faso's Female Interviewers: Building Confidence Among Women to Speak Freely

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Assia Niodigo

They are the first level of the data collection mechanism set up by the Higher Institute of Population Sciences (ISSP) to collect data for the Performance Monitoring for Action (PMA) platform. They are the Resident Enumerators who, in both rural and urban areas, interview households, women and girls on issues related to PMA's research areas: sexual and reproductive health, family planning, and Covid-19. Each based in an enumeration area in the Center-East region of Burkina Faso, Assia Niodigo and Solange Yabré are among the 167 Resident Enumerators of PMA-Burkina Faso.

Assia Niodigo's experience with ISSP began in February 2016 when she joined this institute as Resident Enumerator for the PMA 2020 Project, with the Tapoa province (East Region) as the first enumeration area where she participated in several waves of PMA surveys. "My motivation to work as Resident Enumerator for PMA is mainly related to my interest in the research theme that the project is working on. Knowing that the data generated by PMA is of great use to my country, this is something very important to me," she says.  Since 2019, she is now based in the Kourittenga province where she covers the Koupéla-centre enumeration area.

Solange Yabré is in her second year of experience as a Resident Enumerator. She is in charge of the Bagré-village enumeration area in the Boulgou province. She says: "Working as a Resident Enumerator in a project like PMA is an opportunity for me to do a job that I have always been passionate about: going to meet women, making contact with them, and gathering their point of view on RH/FP, a topic that they say they are not used to dealing with easily, even when they meet among themselves, women.” 

 From December 14, 2020 to February 28, 2021, like their other colleagues, Assia and Yolande    will travel through their enumeration areas to collect data from Phase 2 of PMA-Burkina   Faso, using smart phones made available to them by the project. The modules covered by this round are all related to reproductive health.

The Harmattan (a cold and dry wind blowing across the country at this time of the year) will  not discourage Assia and Yolande from collecting data for this Phase 2 of PMA in the field. To do so, they get up early, brave the Harmattan and meet the women with whom they have to interview.

  Assia and Yolande have been able to adapt to the realities of the rural area where women begin to go about their business at a very early age. "Most of the time, before seven o'clock in   the morning, I am already in my enumeration area. That's when it's easier for me to find the women at home. I also realize that this is the best time to talk to them. Since they are not yet immersed in their daily activities, the women are ready to easily answer my questions," says Yolande.

In order to carry out their mission, all the Resident Enumerators received training administered by the ISSP that, in addition to the content of the survey modules, considered communication, confidentiality, and possible difficult scenarios they would face in the field. This training was necessary because it allowed for making the respondents comfortable enough to speak freely on the sensitive reproductive health topics that are discussed during the interview. On this subject, Assia says: "If confidentiality is respected, women open up to us to talk about all the subjects we discuss.”

One of the peculiarities of this Phase 2  is the fact that it takes place in the context of corona virus disease. Assia and Solange are well aware of this and respect the recommended barrier measures: compulsory wearing of masks, respect of the distance from the people they meet, use of hydro alcoholic gel.

While waiting for the end of the data collection in this Phase 2 , Assia is pleased that these measures are also respected within households: "Generally, when I visit a household, in addition to respecting the other measures, I apply the gel on my hands and ask the respondent to do the same. However, in one household, I myself was greeted at the door with the gel to disinfect my hands before starting the exchanges. This is a good thing in the fight against the disease.” 

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