Malawi training & piloting for national attitudinal survey completed

Twenty interviewers and team leaders were trained as part of the Other Foundation's national attitudinal survey of sexual orientation and gender identity in Malawi. What a wonderful bunch of people that will go across the country interviewing the general population about their attitudes to people's attitudes to sexual orientation and gender identity.

Craig Schwabe discussing the overview maps that show the distribution of sampled areas across the three regions of Malawi. Overview maps allow the field teams to plan their daily interviewing. These maps also give a clear idea as to as to whether the sample is effectively distributed geographically. The maps also show how representative the sample is of the general population considering the diversity of urban and rural areas as well as other key social environments that are found in Malawi.

Detailed training is provided on the questionnaire ensuring that interviewers fully understand the meaning and sensitivity of the questions. Training is then provided on the PDAs with the questionnaire loaded. Interviewers are then given ample time to interview one another during role playing sessions. Extensive role playing is required to ensure that interviewers understand the questions and their sequence. It also gives them opportunity to raise issues associated with the questionnaire. Invaluable feedback was received from the interviews that allowed the management team to make key changes to the questionnaire.

Ishmael Makhuludzo presenting on "Understanding human sexuality" to sensitize the interviewers to sexual orientation and gender identity. For many of the team members it was a first time that they had been exposed to aspects relating to sexual orientation and gender identity. Ishmael gave them a thorough understanding and facilitated the interviewers engaging thoroughly on the subject. He also gave interviewers a good understanding of basic interviewer skills needed to implement the study in Malawi.

Having provided detailed training to the teams, they have gone out into the field to do the piloting. Piloting allows them to test all fieldwork procedures and to see how the questionnaire works under actual interviewing conditions. It will also give them an indication of how accepting the general population is to the survey. Initial indications are that the people of Malawi are willing to participate and share their opinions on sexual orientation and gender identity. We can only wish our field teams well as they begin to implement the study across the different regions of Malawi. Zikomo.