Mekdes (PM) – What are the challenges you faced during intake experience and how did you deal with those challenges?
Dereje (FR-HR) – During intake time, I faced three challenges. The first issue was owners who were unable to read or write because they were unable to read the consent document. This happened with two separate respondents. They were both Tela house owners (traditional alcohol brew place). So, I asked them to propose a solution that is comfortable to them. And they suggested they will let their children read it first and awaits me before the next appointment.
Employees posed as company owners/managers for the intake questions was the second challenge I faced. Since the answers to the intake questions must come from the managers, I asked first for the manager of the business, and the employee informed me that they were and signs the consent form. When I asked about the business’s income and expenditure, they told me that they were not the managers of the place after I asked a series of questions. This happened many times and consumed a significant amount of my time.
The final issue was that after making an appointment, some managers were unavailable. They gave me phone numbers to call, but most of them were unresponsive. So those were some of the difficulties I encountered during the intake process.
Mekdes: – Something else I would like to mention is that I sent you Tim’s motivation video on YouTube, right? Tell us if you showed them this video and what impact it had on them.
Dereje – Yes, I showed the video, but it didn’t seem to make much of a difference in my experience.
Almaz (FR-HR) – This experience taught me a lot and I was very excited about it, but it was also an experience that presented me with many challenges. It was a unique experience because the intake process differed from census.
The advantage of the census process was that it was enough if we only found employees of the company; it did not necessitate speaking with the owners or managers or making appointments, so we simply registered the firm we located. However, since the questions were comprehensive, we needed owners or managers of the company during the intake process, and because most of them were unavailable, we had to go back several times, which took a long time.
Many of the owners were self-assured, so they had high expectations of us; they didn’t pay attention to us, tried to ignore us, and didn’t even listen to us. As a result, persuading them to take part in the intake took a lot of discussion. When they tried to discredit us or make fun of what we were saying, I tried to sit with them politely to show them that I was confident of what I was here for and that it was a serious matter. This took a long time with them and required me to return a few times. I even visited a location four or five times. These were the different challenges I had encountered.
Another thing I’d like to mention is the video. I attempted to show the video to everyone and did so at the end of our session. I tried to show the video to those I thought would understand it, and some people appreciated it, others praised it, and one person even said he knew the person in the video (this person did not accept to participate at the end because of another issues). But, in general, I enjoyed the experience; it was fascinating. The most difficult part was going to the same location several times to locate the managers, and some of them refused to provide data.
On Harar, the most difficult part was locating a company with many employees and two or three business lines, and when I did, they declined to participate in the study. They had awareness about the business, but they didn’t have a trust on the country business system, they felt as though they were being spied on.
Some of the owners were arrogant and reluctant to cooperate with us; their attitude was something along the lines of “who do you think you are to ask me these questions?” Some of their remarks included, “Why do you want to know such kind of information?” Some of them were willing to cooperate, but they were hesitant because they had already been spied on and their company had suffered as a result. As a result, those I expected to participate turned out to be unwilling in the end. But, in any case, it was a worthwhile experience.
Henok A. (FS-DD/HR) – The key issues we ran into during the intake process were when we told them the research would last a year and explained what it was about. Some of them were dissatisfied. They declined to take part in the research, claiming that they may not be available or that they don’t have time.
Another issue arose when we informed them that we would be reviewing their financial transactions every week for the next 12 months. For some of them, the fact that it would be every week was a burden. So, in general, we attempted to resolve these issues by discussing it with them. We told them, emphasizing that they did not have to be available every week; they could do it over the phone and set a date ahead of time at their convenience. We also tried to clarify to them that a year was not that long, that the process was easy, and that no extensive or difficult work was required of them. We also told them that they would disclose their financial transactions as a team with the assistance of the field researchers.
Another statement we received was about their skepticism about the study’s validity and how they haven’t seen any research that has had an effect or resulted in visible improvements in their lives. We attempted to resolve this issue by emphasizing to them that this study was not ordinary research conducted for a school graduating thesis paper, and that we, ourselves, would not have done it if it did not have a meaning at the end, as shown by the fact that the research took a year to complete. Also, if they are interested in knowing the results of their own data analysis, they can obtain it. These were some of the things I worked on as a supervisor.
Another problem was people who didn’t answer their phones. We attempted to resolve the issue by visiting them in person to see if they were available. It was not forced in any way, but some people believe that talking on the phone wastes their time, and that we weren’t giving enough emphasis to the study. As a result, we encouraged researchers to visit them in person and speak with them face to face.
Another issue on the intake was respondents’ reluctance to participate by not picking up their phones or repeatedly rescheduling appointments; we attempted to resolve this by going in person, as supervisor, with the field researchers and explaining the study’s intent simply and thoroughly. After that, those who had initially declined to participate changed their minds and agreed to take part in the report. This demonstrates that explicitly explaining the study’s purpose is effective in persuading people to participate.
Another thing is about the woman who was listed earlier, the one who couldn’t read or write, which I told you about (referring to Mekdes). I spoke to Wondwosen about whether she should be included in the intake or not, and that is something you (referring to Mekdes) should determine. And if this woman is unable to write or read, it would be a problem for us if she is unable to maintain consistent financial transaction records for the coming year. We will have a hard time recording on Finbit.
So, those were some of the difficulties we encountered and overcame. Thank you.
Mekdes: You’ve made an excellent point. Didn’t we say we would share their data at the end of the project? I was planning on inquiring whether they had said anything about it.
Etalem (FR-DD): Thank you. Those who had a strong understanding and were able to participate during the census process in Dire Dawa did not hesitate to participate again during the intake phase.
The fact that we could speak to someone we met at the work place we visited during the census process, so we spoke to employees we found at the time, but when it came to the intake phase, it meant talking to the owners or managers, so getting a hold of them was a challenge. And when I finally got in contact with them, we had to start from the census stage all over again.
When it came to the consent form, they said they had to read it first before signing it after they understood what the study was about. As a result, we had to reschedule it for another day, and when I arrived for the appointment, they told me that they needed to discuss it with their families before signing it.
Another difficulty was that if we spoke with the husband first, he would lead us to the wife to speak with her instead.
Another thing I’d like to mention is that some people made wonderful comments. They said that this study would influence people’s lives. These were people who run middle-class businesses, and they also told us that they maintain financial transaction records because the government requires them to. They also recommended that businesses at a lower level should learn from them. It would be great if there could be a training session or a forum where they could share their experiences.
That is everything.
Tigist (FR-AD): I had little difficulty during the census phase because we just had to register businesses. However, when it came to the intake process, we wanted to speak with the owners, but we couldn’t locate some of them; some were living overseas and couldn’t be reached; others refused to engage in the study. There was one case where he pretended to be an employee of the business when, in fact, he was the owner, and he told me the owners were gone somewhere far away, so I had to go back and forth several times.
Furthermore, since the places I visited were business centered, there had been a lot of research done before, so they would ask me how this research would help them, and if not them directly, how would this research benefit the country.
Some people have informed me that they were only going to participate now because the consent form stated that they could withdraw from the study at any time. This worries me because it could lead to a lot of rejection down the line.
Another example I’d like to share is a person who was willing to engage in the research during the census process, but when it came to the intake phase and I told him he needed to sign a consent form, he declined to sign anything and told me this is a research, and we can have a conversation without signing it.
Some people advocated for them to be given training.
Amsalu (FS-AD): I believe Tigist covered most of it. But, before we get into the challenges, let’s start with what we’ve learned from this experience: we’ve learned how to convince people and communicate more effectively. We also discovered that most of the businesses we spoke with want to be compensated for their one-year involvement in the study.
When it came to the difficulties we faced, as she previously said, during the census process, some people registered their names incorrectly, which we attempted to resolve ourselves.
Another, and perhaps the most difficult, aspect of our visit was locating managers or owners; most of them were very often unavailable.
Another issue was the consent form; some people were hesitant to sign it even after learning that they could withdraw from the study at any time. And they were also hesitant after learning the type of questions they would be asked, which were related to their financial transactions, because they were afraid that if they disclosed such information, the government would raise their taxes in the long run. As a result, most of them refuse to sign the consent document.
We will see how things go in the future; I believe we will have some issues with the consent forms.
Other difficulties have already been reported.
Kebede (FR-AD): The consent form was the first hurdle we had to overcome. Most people were scared when we told them they had to sign the consent form, and even after reading it carefully, they were still afraid to sign it because they felt like they were signing a contract deal they could not back out of, or that the consent form had a hidden agenda they were not aware of.
It would have been ideal, in my view, if the consent form’s signature was not needed at this time.
Since there will be a selection procedure and 16 people will be chosen, it will be simpler to persuade the chosen just once rather than all the people in the intake phase.
Since some of them, even after reading the form, thought there was a disparity between the copies because it had two copies, one for them and the remaining, and since they were in business, they misinterpreted it, they didn’t have faith in us.
First and foremost, when we asked them financial questions, they assumed that if they told us their true income and expenses, the government would know. As a result, they became even more terrified when it came time to sign the consent form.
All we had to do during the census phase was contact the employees of the businesses we visited, and they registered after learning about the study and agreeing to participate. However, we were required to speak with the owners during the intake process, so we had to start over with them, explaining the study and showing them the video. After that, they understood the intent of the study; however, when we asked them to read and sign the consent form, it took more time because, for one thing, they were very busy people who would tell us that they couldn’t read it right now and that the information we had given them was sufficient for the time being and that we should return at a later date. Because of the consent form, this took almost two or three days.
For example, in Mojo, there was a clinic called Dr. Naol Clinic, and the doctor arrived at 3pm, and there were so many patients waiting for him, and because he was selected, I had to speak to him, and after I was allowed to go in to explain what the study was about, and he agreed, but he couldn’t sign the consent form right away because he wanted to read it carefully.
So, the consent form was the most difficult part for me. It would have been preferable if the consent form signing had not taken place at this time. It would have been great if it had happened after the selection.
Another point I would like to make is that, as I previously stated, during the census phase, we registered employees after explaining the research and getting their consent to participate, but when it came to the intake phase, we had to start all over again, like we did during the census phase, because we needed to speak with the owner. This was a new challenge for me.
Another issue was that the owners or managers were not present at the workplace. So, we tried calling them and they were willing to chat, but because the consent form was a concern, they wanted to read it first, which took a long time. As a result, all the difficulties stemmed from the consent form.
Chaltu: I am Chaltu Birhanu, for those of you who don’t know who I am. I am Adama’s Field Researcher. Like the others have said, the intake process was better than the census phase. The challenges, however, were quite similar.
The first challenge was unable to locate the owner or manager of the businesses, as we were supposed to speak with them during the intake process. As a result, I had to return several times, which took up my time.
The second challenge was with the consent form; even though the owner had read it during our visit, they decided to reschedule a meeting to sign it. Since they needed time to consider it and talk with others before deciding and signing it. The second factor with the consent form was that it did not include my address; they pointed out that it did include supervisors and other people’s addresses, but not mine. If this was a legitimate study, my address should have been included because they had direct contact with me and had no way of knowing if the other addresses were real or whether I included it myself. And I attempted to overcome this by emphasizing that I was the one with whom they were meeting in person, and that my address had been given to them during the census process. So, the consent form was a problem, and it posed similar concerns as mentioned before by others.
Another issue with the consent form was that it said, “We were not part of any government officials or from any political agencies,” causing them to be even more suspicious and accusing me of being a government spy. When I showed them the Adama administration office collaboration letter, they said it was written by the government and that it was written this way so I can regain their trust. As a result, it was challenging experience.
When asked if they were willing to be a part of the study during the intake questionnaire, they would say yes. When I asked them about financial related questions, such as whether they would be able to reveal their savings or some other financial transaction, they would block me from going any further. They were adamant about not disclosing any information about their financial transaction.
And, based on previous experience, I attempted to clarify the situation by explaining the importance of the study and pointing out how the government, they as individuals, and I as a researcher would benefit from it. As a result, our country will benefit. It was thanks to studies like this that developed countries got to where they are now. And if any non-profit organizations, non-governmental organizations, or the government want to help in the future, they would need research-based information. And if you are a part of this study and it’s written, and it’s disclosed that it was performed in Ethiopia, any organization that comes to Ethiopia in the future will use the data as a guide, which would be a huge opportunity for our country.
This type of research has never been done before; it’s new, and you never know what tomorrow will bring; it may be beneficial to you. Participating in the research would not be a problem for you unless it causes you harm in any way. And this is how I tried to deal with the problems I was having, by sharing what I knew, but there were a lot of obstacles during the intake process.
Mekdes: Thank you so very much. Let us not forget about Tim’s video, as I previously said. And what they said when you told them about the diary data that they would get at the end of the research.
Henok B (FS-AA): OK, like most of them I wrote a lot of challenges, but I will try to keep it short and focus on the common issues related to Addis Ababa only.
The intake process, like the census phase, was a difficult time for us; we had a lot of new experiences, but we handled it well because it was our job. I’ll try to explain everything because there were many opportunities and challenges.
For me, I had the opportunity to visit four or five different locations in Addis Ababa, which provided me with a great opportunity to know different areas.
There were a lot of programs from your (Mekdes) side during the census process, there were change of plans but on the intake phase, it was much better with the exception of what happened lately, things have stopped changing at the last minute. So, it went well; we worked well together; in fact, the seven of us, including Wondwosen, were more like family, and we called each other often. We get swift answers from both Wondwosen and Mekdes when there are issues. Our field team, including myself, had excellent communication; we communicated via telegram as much as possible.
As a supervisor, I had the opportunity to travel to a variety of locations with various field researchers, and I watched them showing the Tim’s video to as many of them as possible. They couldn’t show the video to anyone because it was subtitled, and most of them were really busy. Many of them had specific questions about our company, L-IFT, so the video was beneficial in that regard. Furthermore, my team and I had the FINBIT app installed on our phones and had signed up as users, so we were able to demonstrate how the app functions and how useful it would be for them if they had the opportunity to use it. And while most people responded positively, and some even became more interested as a result, one person from Addisu Gebeya told us that this was nothing for him. Apart from that, the FINBIT app was very useful.
Snowballing was also a great opportunity to find some of the firms….
Mekdes: Let me interrupt you here to ask you a question about snowballing; the result we got using snowballing was very small, just three from Addis Ababa, and we’d like to know why.
Henok B (FS-AA): Snowballing is very challenging. In Addis Ababa, for example, we tried to use snowballing at the end of the cense and intake process. There was no firm that was not addressed from the mapped area that was given to us. We discussed this if you remember (referring to Mekdes), and snowballing was about firms that were not addressed, not firms that were already included during the census process and were not selected, so we couldn’t include them even though we found them using snowballing.
And most of the owners and businessmen were only familiar with businesses in their immediate vicinity. We also attempted to use snowballing indirectly ourselves but it was not effective because when you observe one firm, you must guess if it has staff, if it is a producing firm, if it is eligible, and plenty of other factors. It was also a very exhausting experience. When we asked other people, they were reluctant to give us any information because they were suspicious of us. Finding three firms was, therefore, a huge achievement for me.
Mekdes: Yes, I was just interested in learning about it for the sake of the experience.
Also, I’d like for you all to tell us by including, for example, after speaking with a businessperson, you could ask them which school their children attend or which hospital they visit when they’re sick, so raising such questions was one of the ways we discussed to use as a guide.
Henok B (FS-AA): Yeah, we questioned them in this manner for the most part. Most of the people we spoke with worked in places other than where they lived. As a result, they would send their children to a nearby schools and go to the hospital nearby. Also, our field researchers attempted to use snowballing by the region in which they resided, but the results were unsatisfactory since people’s willingness to share such knowledge was extremely poor.
This experience taught me how to approach people in new ways. Because approaching people in Addis Ababa, especially businessmen, was difficult; no one would speak to you just because you had a paper; they were tough. As a result, I learned how to handle people because of this experience. And because I had the opportunity to go with each field researcher and see how they approached people, it occurred to me that you can approach people in a variety of ways.
Even with the consent form, it was a problem because most people didn’t understand the term, so I saw the filed team use various tactics to persuade them. I just got involved at the very end when things got too complicated. These were some of the most memorable moments I’ve had, as well as excellent opportunities.
When it came to challenges, the first and most pressing issue was a significant lack of awareness. Despite my extensive experience with various research projects, conducting one in Ethiopia is extremely difficult. The public’s awareness of research is extremely low.
Long-distance walking was the second challenge. Some of the places, such as Megenagna, which Eden was given, required long distance walking that took the entire day. As a result, some of the field researchers found this difficult.
Other issues, such as owners not being found at the workplace or refusing to participate, have already been reported. But there was one thing about refusal that was different: there was indirect refusal. if our tracking sheet can be seen, there were places where we had gone to ten or more times. They would not refuse to participate outright; instead, they would reschedule over and over. And this was very challenging.
There was a greater chance of finding owners around industrial areas, and their willingness to participate was also higher. But what happened to us in those industrial or business-concentrated areas was that, for example, in the area known as “Ensra,” Esthiwote registered about 32 companies, and since they live so close to each other, they knew which ones were selected and which ones were not, and they were asking why they were not, which created problems about the selection process.
But we’d convince them it was by lotto because we were afraid, they wouldn’t understand if we told them, it was because they didn’t have enough employees or because of the type of work they do that they weren’t chosen. Some people also thought we were from NGO institutions. Some people were debating whether to sign the consent form, claiming that they would sign it after the others had done so.
The sun was also a challenge during the intake period; it was extremely hot, particularly around Kality; I went there once and had a nosebleed the next day. I am not sure how Samuel handled the situation at that location.
There were also places where it was unsafe to go, especially for women, and going alone was another challenging experience.
We had trouble locating firms on the locations they claimed they would be, even though we used GPS; we could not locate them.
Since we were going to the workplaces as a team in Addis Ababa, some of the work that was performed by different field researchers was offered to another, but they had no trouble recognizing the workplaces they visited themselves. So, this was another challenge. There were often several trips to the same workplace. So, those were some of the obstacles that weren’t previously mentioned.
Etsehiwot (SFR-AA): Henok listed most of the difficulties. However, as others have described, finding owners at work was difficult in my experience. Most people would ask about the benefit of participating in the research after it had begun. Some people asked where we came from because our country’s political situation is so bad. Since most merchants distrust the government, they were suspicious of us because we seemed to have come from one of the government offices, so they were uneasy. And after we told them where we came from, they were still uncomfortable. As a result, gaining their confidence has been difficult, and I believe this is due to the current state of the nation.
When we asked them if they would be able to participate for a year, they would ask as to what benefit they would get. So, I would tell them that at the end of the report, we will provide the results of their own financial data, and this will benefit them in two ways: they will see their financial transactions for the year, which could be useful for obtaining bank loans, and they can also submit this to the government, so this was the mechanism I used to persuade most of them.
Most of them were hesitant to share their financial information with us. Since we don’t provide them with more assurances about the confidentiality of the information, they offer us.
What if you give my financial information to my rivals or other government officials? Show me the strategies or scheme that ensures the security of the information I provide; and these were some of the points posed by most of them. So, in my opinion, we still need to figure out how to ensure the confidentiality of the information they provide for us. Even if they consent to participate for a year, we’ll need to demonstrate the level of data protection we have.
There were many obstacles when it came to the consent form. Before signing anything, most of them would say they needed to speak to the other shareholders, or the manager of the business would say he needed to talk to the owner first or talk to their wives.
Another thing I noticed was that most people do not believe in the importance of research. The majority of people who live in industrial areas have had prior encounters with other researchers, so they’d say the previous experience had no use to them. They say that even a single visit, let alone several visits over the course of a year, is exhausting. I’m not sure those who decided to participate for a year will stick around, so we’ll have to show them how this study is different from the others.
In general, I’d like to point out that some of the businesses chosen for the intake didn’t meet the requisite requirements, for example, there were firms chosen that didn’t have any employees or just had one, so we’ll need to check those out before moving on to the dairy process.
Samuel (FR-AA): Well, my experience was like the others. I’ll talk about some of the difficulties I faced personally.
We felt the problems in the intake process would be better than the census phase because we already knew where the workplaces were. However, the problems were much more difficult than during the census process. Most of them have already been mentioned, such as the difficulty in locating the owners. For example, when I visited at the industrial villages, the owners ran a variety of companies, so the chances of finding them during our visit were slim to none. And if we did find them, they rescheduled us because they were too busy.
The second challenge was getting people to understand what the research was about. Even after explaining it to them thoroughly, they would still ask me questions that I hadn’t expected. At Debrezeyit, we had this experience with most of the owners during the census phase.
As previously stated, the consent form posed the greatest difficulty. Even after reading it carefully, most people still didn’t understand it and refused to sign it.
And, since I was assigned to the industrial village, it was extremely difficult for me to show them the Tim’s video because most of them were too busy to even answer the question I had, let alone watch a video.
I used the technique of persuading people to participate in the study by telling them that we will share their financial information with them at the end. I told them it would be useful for bank processes because banks used similar systems, and that learning about it would be beneficial to them in the future.
Overall, it was difficult, and the approach I devised was to schedule an appointment ahead of time. Two, calling them and asking where they were so I could come to them at their convenience, because questioning them over the phone might not be the best approach because they might think it’s from the government or they might not take it seriously. As a result, I tried to speak with them face to face as much as possible.
Finally, there were some troublesome owners who were difficult to communicate with, and I didn’t want them to be chosen for the intake process, so I reported them. And those were chosen for the intake process once more; one owner was difficult, so I had to wait for Henok to accompany me. So those were some of the difficulties I had to deal with.
Mekdes: Okay, another question I have is about their financial data, which we said we would provide for them and that it would be useful for loans, and I hope you didn’t make any promises to them.
Samuel: No. We didn’t. We wanted to explain to them the advantages of participating in the study.
We told them that this information would be useful to them, and that they could use it if they started a loan process on their own. Since the information was about their income and expenses, we suggested that they can show it to a bank to see how it could help them. So, we never promised them anything.
Mekdes: Yes, some people will assume that if the word “loan” is mentioned, they might think we will provide for them.
Natnael (FR-AA): Most of the challenges were listed by the team, but as field researchers, we were expecting to face them. I will try to avoid repeating what has already been said as much as possible.
It was about respondent perception of the project itself that I would emphasize the most, and I also discussed it on the zoom video meeting we had. I have my doubts on whether they comprehended the study’s purpose. Even if they were able to take part, it doesn’t mean they understood it. By looking at you and the way you portray yourself, they may be willing to participate. They may also read and sign the consent form. However, When do back checks, I find that they have wrong understanding of the study because they already made assumptions about why we were there. This occurs because most of the business sectors we visited had previously received start-up training or other types of training from various NGOs as a form of assistance, and as they told us about their experience, it is the first thing that comes to mind when we approach them. We told them a lot about ourselves, but they still think about us the way they did before. So, as the work begins, if the difference between what they expect and what we offer is significant, it will cause a problem in the future.
Another indication I believe they don’t understand the study’s intent is that the majority of the people we spoke with were extremely busy. They would speak to us half-heartedly as they gave us the little time they had because they had to get back to work. So, this sort of people, who wants to get back to work, go somewhere else, or think about something else, wants to be done with you as soon as possible.
I have faith in those who ask so many questions. Since people who ask a lot of questions are more likely to spend more time with you. However, most respondents do not ask questions, which might make it seem that it is easier for us now and that they have heard us. For example, we finished up with the respondent with him (referring to someone on the team), we both explained it to her well, but we then asked her to explain it back to us, and nothing matched what we had told her. As a result, I believe there should be a better way to deal with such type of things.
There was, of course, the video, which was subtitled, so we tried to screen it for those who were less busy by pausing it in the middle so they could read the subtitles clearly. However, most people were preoccupied. Their expectation of us was not to give them money or a loan, but rather to provide them with training. They expect direct face-to-face class training from us, something that is relevant to their businesses or can build market linkage.
Some people would ask me about the part of the video where it said, “You can learn from this,” and they didn’t understand what we expected them to understand from this. They believed that they would be given trainings. So, this was one of the challenges. We tried to explain it in various ways, but it continues to worry me.
What I’d like to add about the consent form is that I believe we’ve lost companies with several years of experience, various scenarios, because of this consent form. Since most big businesses, those with more than two employees had multiple owners. And during our visit, we were only able to locate one owner; we did not locate the others, but if this consent form does not exist, we will explain it to them and help them understand it. However, those we encounter in person will understand the consent form after we are explaining it to them. They will, however, refuse to sing the form. They do not want to sign anything, even though they are willing to participate. There is a question on the questionnaire about their willingness to disclose financial details, so a question about their willingness to sign a consent form should also be included. As a result, when the multi-owners get together to discuss the consent form, those who haven’t met us don’t know the purpose of it because we didn’t explain it to them, so the majority of them refuse completely.
So, as a suggestion for you (referring to Mekdes), those who have direct contact with the respondents, such as the consent form or similar types, the discussions about the content should include the filed researchers since we see so many scenarios, we will have something to say about the content of the consent form, even if it should be prepared or not, we should be part of that discussion.
Another thing about the consent form is that I don’t see it as a positive but rather as a drawback. The consent form, of course, led them to believe that the research was important. However, they refuse before even reading the section that states that they could withdraw from the study at any time they want. Perhaps if they read that part, they’d have agreed. However, when we bring up the subject of signing, they immediately refuse. As a result, I believe we suffered a setback in that regard.
“What is the value of doing this study?” is another question that most of them have. As a result of this, we lose confidence in them. They might not believe we’re government employees, so they’ll ask why I’m doing this, so I’ll tell them I’m an employee. So, they inquire once more about the benefit to our research company (L-IFT). They’d also be curious as to what NYU stands to gain from this. They will inquire as to who will be the ultimate beneficiary of this. So, we tried to explain different aspects to them by saying that different programs when they choose to provide assistance are focused on this type of research outcome, which will be useful in the future. This is what we attempted to convey. However, most of them have concerns regarding those at the top, and that these consulting companies may have ties to our government. So, this is something worth discussing over.
Another issue was not being able to locate owners, so we conducted phone surveys for those who couldn’t be found in person. However, I dislike phone surveys because this is a year-long study with big goals, and we need to talk to them face to face to make sure we’re on the same page. We may explain it to them over the phone, and they may agree, but it won’t be the same as talking to them face to face. As a result, I tried to meet with them as much as possible; there were times when I returned 9 or 10 times because the places were close together and I could visit each of them in a single visit/day. This was my own personal experience. Thank you so much.
Hiwot (FR-AA): The majority of what I went through was discussed by my teammates. I’ll call attention to those that I believe were overlooked. The most difficult aspect for me was not being able to locate owners at the time. In addition, the owners’ and my schedules were not in sync. Owners come to check on their workplace at night or before work begins, which is before 8:00 a.m.
For example, there was an owner I didn’t want to miss; we had a nice relationship during the census process, so I waited for him until the last day, telling him I will come whenever it was convenient for him, and eventually I found him.
Also, during the intake process, you can verify whether the information provided by the employees during the census phase was accurate or not, such as the number of employees and other such details.
Furthermore, when conducting studies, a consent document must be signed. It’s something I believe in. However, I suspect that some respondents were unable to participate because of it. All signed up for me by visiting them daily. However, they were dissatisfied with the consent form that they had to sign. “How do I know why you’re forcing me to sign this?” they’ll ask. They also raised concerns about the similarity of the two copies of the consent form. And it makes me fearful of what will occur in the future. Furthermore, they have no confidence in international organizations. When some business owners saw the name New York University, they wondered why it was associated with our country.
Another difficult aspect for me was when they asked where our head office was and said they would give me their information there. But I had no idea what to tell them, which was a challenge for me.
Another thing was that the addresses were written beginning with the filed supervisors’ addresses, so I would write my phone number at the top and tell them that it was mine and that they could call me at any time if they needed me.
Most of them will inquire about the advantages of participating in the report. They want a tangible benefit that they can see. During the intake process, half of them expressed a desire for a tangible benefit, while stating that participating in the study provided no such benefit.
For me, the one where we told them we’d give them the results of their financial data was a brilliant solution. What I’ll tell them is that I’ve worked in research before, but this time we won’t just take your information and leave; we’ll actually give you back the information you gave us so you can see for yourself that we wrote the right answer from you.
When there were two or three owners, one of them would agree that the others did not. For instance, it was stated that Agro-processing was required for the study, so I tracked down an individual who ran a grain grinding business. So, I had to include him in the research, but he was never available for me, and on the last day, Henok was with me, so he got out from inside. However, it was obvious from his demeanor that he was refusing to participate indirectly. Because, when we asked him if he was willing to participate, he said yes, and when we asked him if he was willing to share his financial transactions, such as savings and profits, he said yes, but you could tell he wasn’t. Even after I explained it to him, he would ask what benefit we would gain from knowing his income and expenses. I said ‘no’ when asked if I felt he was willing to work with us and wanted to stay with us, but he was chosen anyway. I’m telling you this because you previously said that we only see what he says. And this person would not participate for even a single day, let alone the entire year.
So, when I saw this individual was selected again, I was furious and asked Henok why. It was good for me that I accompanied Henok. Because he could understand why I was mad.
This individual does not explicitly state that they do not wish to participate. It would have been great if he could say that then you would have saved time and energy.
Another thing about this guy is that we can’t claim that he does have employees because he doesn’t, since he doesn’t pay them directly, which I also mentioned in my comment. When a customer requests grinding services, the customer pays them directly. As a result, the owner would not pay them out of his own pocket. So, how can I continue to work with this individual? For the next phase, he was chosen once more.
True, I received an explanation as to why he was selected because he said that he would participate at the time, but as I was asked what my comments were, they should have been considered.
Another point to mention is the sights I was assigned to which were around Kotebe and Megenagna. Gurd Shola, Haya Arat, Lem Hotel, and Yeka Park are all included as Megenagna. As a result, it has a very wide scope. So, it was difficult enough to do one, let alone three or four in a day. And you’ll do one if you find the owners, because once you arrive, the owner will leave. As a result, finding two or three people on the same day is difficult.
Another thing that gave me headaches was issues related to numbers. For example, during the intake process, I will announce that I intend to make five or six visits a day. To be honest, I don’t make the ten visits that is expected from us. But, even if it was five or six, I couldn’t find someone when I went to the next one after finishing the first. When you call them, most of them do not answer.
In addition, I received several refusals to participate at clinics due to a lack of time. They didn’t have time to speak to me for one day, let alone a year, so they declined to participate.
We found a lot of clinics during the census process because we didn’t have to speak to the owners; we could just ask someone who knew what we wanted to know. I only got one clinic to agree to participate, and she was willing because she wasn’t a doctor at the clinic; she was only the owner. However, since most clinic owners are physicians, they were unable to participate due to their busy schedules.
Furthermore, most of them feel that study has no value. And the head office, as I stated earlier, should be something to consider, since I was at times unsure of what to say to them.
That’s it. Thank you.
Wondwosen (FM): Okay, Thank you.
I spent the majority of my time communicating with everyone on the team. As a result, I’ll take this opportunity to express my gratitude to everyone.
When I was on the field, I had the opportunity to observe and see everyone working extremely hard. I also went to see each field researcher to see what they were up to. Most of them go above and beyond their abilities to the point where they are concerned about what they will do the next day.
We faced difficulties during the census process. And most of our conversations were about what we were going to do the next day, such as how we were going to extend the borderline or raise the number of people.
When it came to the intake phase, however, everyone on the team had the same question: how do we find respondents and conduct the intake process successfully?
I had the opportunity to observe when they called the respondent, and the way they approached them was excellent.
I was still speaking with supervisors at all hours of the day and night, giving me the opportunity to learn these stuffs.
Any of them would do their job on their own if they didn’t have anything beyond their ability. In my view, no work was not completed because of a technical issue or because they were incompetent. As a result, I’d like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to each of them.
I had the opportunity to witness a variety of difficulties, one of which was the inability to locate owners or managers at the time of a visit. Even if they went to three or four different locations, they wouldn’t be able to conduct one interview in a single day.
The team had already discussed the other difficulties. Perhaps we should talk about it more at the time of reflection, particularly when it comes to consent forms.
The follow-up phase will begin the next week, and the goal is to have the respondents sign the consent form next week, after which we will move on to the next phase.
So, what are our plans for dealing with the consent form issues? Nati had already discussed a few of the problems. And how should the consent form be signed from this point forward?
Should it be completed before the work begins? Because, personally, I don’t think people would refuse to participate in the study because of the consent form. Since most of the participants were enrolled in this study after deciding and agreeing to participate. Or can the consent form be signed in the middle of the work, after the work has begun?
These are a few of my thoughts.
Eden (FR-AA): Okay. Thank you.
When comparing the intake phase to the census phase, I found the intake phase to be less challenging. Perhaps it was because I was given a good location to work on and because I had a fantastic supervisor who aided me greatly, and I want to express my gratitude to him.
I was assigned to the “Ensra” district, and they were excellent respondents, with most of them willing to participate. However, due to required number of employees, they were unable to be chosen.
Other locations, such as 4kilo and Shiro meda, were also easy for me. I was able to find the owners without difficulty because they work there themselves. When I went to Shiro meda for the second round, most of them were very accommodating, as Etsehiwot had mostly handled it well during the census stage. I went to them after first calling them, and most of them were very friendly, and I was able to locate the owners easily.
I also had no trouble regarding the consent form. They were able to sign it for me at the end of our session. They didn’t object to signing the form because Etsehiwot had explained it to them clearly at first, and I had also explained it to them.
At the end, everyone asks, what benefit do I get from participating in the study? What am I getting out of it? That was their inquiry. And they want a monetary or in-kind reward for doing so.
I attempted to show the video to one or two people, but they were too preoccupied with their work to watch it without pausing and replaying it many times.
I also told them that they would receive their financial diary in code form at the end of the study, and while most of them were pleased, some said that they already knew how to maintain their financial records and that They didn’t need any support.
So, if things continue that way during the dairy stage, I’ll be satisfied.
In addition, Henok was extremely helpful.
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