The BI is pleased to report that we’ve made big strides on the community profiling project. Since July 2011 Nomsingisi Hopisi, our Community-Based Care Worker, and Kate Rice, a long-term volunteer, have been going house-to-house in Nqileni collecting both qualitative and quantitative data on the families in our community. The objective of this data collection is to gain insight into the needs, circumstances, and concerns of the community, so that the community and the Bulungula Incubator can work together to best meet local needs on the ground.
The data that we are collecting covers a range of issues, from child mortality to material affluence (for instance, the number and condition of a family’s huts, and the numbers and types of livestock that the family owns) to educational attainment to hopes, aspirations, and worries for the future. This data is useful for many reasons. For example, through the profiling we are able to identify individuals who are having trouble accessing social grants and necessary medical care. In many cases Nomzingisi is then able to work with these individuals to try to access these much-needed resources. Moreover, collecting information on child mortality over time provides concrete insight into changes in infant and child mortality since the arrival of water tanks several years back. The interview survey itself was compiled by Kate, in consultation with Rejane, Nomzingisi, and Dave, and draws on Kate’s expertise as a doctoral candidate in medical anthropology.
This data is also useful, as we can compare this data to a partial baseline collected by Julia Cloete in 2006. Julia collected quantitative demographic data on many of our local families as part of her Master’s research project. Comparing these data sets will allow us to examine changes in affluence, access to services, and mortality over time.
The profiling of Nqileni village was carried out on a part-time basis, sandwiched around Nomzingisi and Kate’s various responsibilities at the BI. We’re now in a position, however, to devote more time and energy to profiling the other villages in a timely manner. The profiling project is now going to be Kate’s sole focus at the BI, and other local staff are being hired to work part-time as data collectors. We have now finished profiling 117 households in Nqileni, and as of the New Year have moved on to neighbouring KwaTshezi. We hope to be finished all four villages by the end of May 2012. We’ll keep you posted!