The last two weeks have been incredibly busy with the final preparations for the census. We spent one week in Santa Lucia training the six enumerators that will be out in the field collecting our data and then spent the following week field testing the survey instruments in four communities (Concepcion Centro, Guachipilincito, San Marcos Centro, and San Jose). Both the training and the field testing went well; we’re still tweaking minor aspects of the forms, but the bulk of our questions are working and the enumerators are capturing the information fairly well during the interviews.
Currently, I am working on the final revisions to the forms and also collaborating with the enumerators on the exploration and socialization phase of the census. We have two main goals during this phase: 1) to gain the trust and support of community leaders in our target areas, and 2) to create maps of those target communities. We began by holding a general community meeting at the new clinic in Concepcion last Sunday. About 30 people attended and the event went smoothly. The enumerators and I have been having follow-up meetings with the key people in Concepcion this week: the vice-mayor, members of the health committee, prominent teachers, members of the water committee, health volunteers, and others. This process is relatively informal; we generally just show up at these peoples’ homes or track them down in town. Additionally, the enumerators have started collecting gps coordinates for each structure in each community and sketching corresponding maps. The mapping process enables us to personally introduce a large percentage of the population to our work, and these lists of houses and maps will be used when the enumerators return to implement the census questionnaires.