Data Collector for pwc

This post explains the role I'm playing as a temporary data collector.

The Nigeria Partnership for Education Project (NIPEP) (a programme under the Federal Ministry of Education and sponsored by the World Bank, seeks to improve access and quality of basic education in five North Western states (Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa and Sokoto) with particular attention to girls’ participation and out of school children. A grant of USD100 million provided by GPE (Global Partnership for Education) to support the NIPEP to some selected states’ programmes that contribute to the achievement of this development and objective. The Nigerian federal ministry of education and the ministries of education of the five states lead the programme in partnership with the World Bank as the grant agent. USAID is the coordinating agency.

Accordingly, the NIPEP programme seeks to examine the level of accuracy and validity of information on 2015/2016 disbursements of schools grants and girls and female scholarships as well as to determine the level of appropriateness of the processes involved. The data collection exercise seeks to collect all necessary information aligned to implementation of the objective of the NIPEP programme; it also seeks to provide up-to-date information on the situation of GIRLS children, teachers and women in selected states in Nigeria. The data collection exercise is apparently handled by pwc, as the temporary employment contract I signed was with the company.

The data gathering exercise covers the aforementioned five states in both urban and rural areas, and spans pre-primary, primary and Islammiya schools. My team is made up of five individuals, and we were allocated to 28 schools in Giwa Local Government Area (LGA), and subsequently 27 schools in Igabi LGA, both in Zaria, Kaduna State (out of a total of 972 schools sampled from Kaduna). The task was to administer questionnaires to the Head teachers and members of School-Based Management Committees (SBMCs), acquire photocopies of certain releant documents, and take photographic evidence of claimed developmental infrastructures. The idea was to get information from the schools which aid in monitoring the reception of the grants, their usage and their impact.

My team completed the exercise in time - within the allocated 3 days for Giwa, and 3 days for Igabi LGA. The local government education secretary for Giwa LGA deserves the credit for this, as he organized the clustering of the interviewees in four different locations, which made it easier for us than if we had to visit each interviewee at their respective schools. The local government office also provided us with two cars to take us to the locations, in addition to the car we brought.

The whole exercise provided me with some sense of how fieldwork and data collection is conducted generally, and within the Nigerian context. This contributes towards my ambition of being a researcher. The fact that this was part of the monitoring phase of a development programme’s implementation appeals to my ambition to become a development researcher; hence, unlike other data collectors who were simply doing a job to get paid, I am working with the big picture of human capital development in mind. Therefore, I am interested in the responses of the questionnaire recipients.

Photo: My team standing with the Education Secretary, Giwa Local Government Area, Zaria, Kaduna (I'm the one in the black hat)

As an aside, I do find it strange that all my volunteer positions have coincidentally been education-related – the Rhodes University Toy Library programme (aimed at pre-primary pupils), Global Youth Ambassadorship (aimed at improving children’s access to basic education), and my secondary school volunteer activity (aimed at secondary school pupils). This temporary data collection job also just happened to be directed, unambiguously, at the (basic) education sector. All except the secondary school volunteer work (which I proactively applied for given the scarcity of any other skilled work available in my state) came to me randomly: I arrived late to Rhodes University due to visa delays and the Toy Library programme was the only community engagement slot left; a friend randomly asked me if I wanted to do something for an NGO (without telling me exactly what or the sector it’s in) and later informed me that he had recommended me for appointment as a GYA; the data collection job was something a friend of my friend’s friend heard of because one of the coordinators was his friend, and the information just passed down to me. One more coincidence may warrant an intensive probe into the phenomenon.

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