By Robert Tapfumaneyi
More than 30 women from Gokwe district, Zimbabwe have been trained in data collection in order to diffuse the’ fear factor’ informants experience when taking part in health research.
The workshop, part of the Zimbabwe Gender Challenge Initiative, was hosted by Research Triangle Institute International in conjunction with the Women and Aids Support Network (WASN).
Speaking on the sidelines of the workshop, director of WASN Mary Sandas said the services of local women have been engaged to reduce the apprehension many feel when taking part in research on health inequities.
“The enumerators will use the local languages in the collection of data using questionnaires that have been developed, and we hope this will help many people to open up and provide as much information as they can about their health history,” said Sandas.
The organisers hope the women will be able to provide information on how society, particularly at grassroots level, understands the meaning of gender equity through the pursuit of rights. They also hope to capture how health, gender and economic struggles vary across geography, religion, wealth and class.
Also discussed at the workshop were the challenges the women will face when collecting data, such as the attitude and hospitality of respondents.
Evince Mugumbate, communications manager of WASN, said most of the participants were drawn from various female community working groups.
“These women have been trained in various health issues such as the use of both female and male condoms, community health care, and home based care among others and we hope that they will be able to get more information as the locals now have faith in their health work,” said Mugumbate.
The overall objective of the data collection is to increase the availability of high quality data on gender to enable informed decision-making and strengthen the capacity for gender related operations research in Zimbabwe.
WASN is a non-governmental organisation empowering women and girls in Zimbabwe to seek and obtain public health action in order to protect and maintain the right to good health. The organisation has been involved in a extensive capacity building in Gokwe South since 1996.