Data collection in Uganda: One goat at a time, rain or shine

by Rogers Adiba, Mercy Corps Uganda ◊

To show impact later, you need to measure what you have at the start. Simple enough. However, conducting research in remote areas requires a diligent team effort and dedication.

Amidst the challenges of heavy rains, broken bridges, bad roads, unreliable electricity and mobile network coverage, and the ever mobile and shifting kraal and herds, dedicated teams managed to collect data from 545 persons and their livestock in May and June 2018.

The Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) Vaccine Associate Award, which is part of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems, conducted its baseline study in selected districts of the remote Karamoja sub region in Northern Uganda. For the survey’s two components, teams collected sociocultural information from the community and serological information from sheep and goats.

Herders in Loyoro, Kaabong district (credit: R. Adiba)

Training and Preparation

As a first step, in early May 2018 researchers from the University of Florida trained six local enumerators (three Karamojong and three Pokot speakers) on research ethics, data collection principles and tablet usage to administer the survey. The purpose of the sociocultural study was to expand understanding of the contexts (for example, women’s empowerment, livestock disease burden, and vaccination practices) that affect adoption of the vaccine. Researchers used an abbreviated Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (A-WEAI) to gain localized knowledge pertinent to understanding the livestock sector and household decisions on livestock.

At the same time, the team from Makerere University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) prepared for the task ahead: collection of more than 1,000 sheep and goat blood samples to determine the antibody levels against PPR. This vital information helps researchers understand how much PPR is circulating and it compares this data to information collected after vaccination at the end of the project.

Working Together

Starting on May 14, two field teams spent five weeks collecting data — no matter the conditions. Each team of five was comprised of three enumerators, a CoVAB graduate student or technician from the Karamoja Veterinary Laboratory, and a field supervisor from Mercy Corps or Tufts University. The teams collected household data and animal blood samples from 50 randomly computer-generated GPS points in the three target sub counties of Nakapelimoru, Kotido District, Loyoro, Kaabong District, and Loroo, Amudat District. Every day, in each randomly selected site, teams completed at least 10 household surveys, 2 A-WEAI tools, and 28 blood samples from sheep and goats from randomly selected herds. The sampling exercise drew large crowds with several young herders volunteering to assist. While interacting with them, the team members shared information about PPR and what to do when encountering new cases. At the end of each day, all completed survey tools were uploaded to the server while the blood samples were processed and kept refrigerated. The sero-survey team and field supervisors coordinated with other livestock keepers for the sampling activity in their community for the next day.

Amidst many challenges, 339 men and 226 women were interviewed and 104 A-WEAI tools completed. Also, 1,400 blood samples were collected and are currently being analyzed.



Avatar photo
Posted: February 5, 2019

Category: Livestock, Pests & Disease
Tags: Disease, Goat, PPR, Research, Uganda



December 10, 2021

great post!

Kedir Abdi
September 16, 2021

Change... change... change... We are working for change! Building the basis for One Health and Food Safety in my country Ethiopia. Be Positive Always! Yes we Can! Kedir Abdi

Wellington @EkayaEkaya
May 6, 2021

Dear Yitagesu, We are excited to have you going through the CapDev Grand Challenge process. Feel free to get in touch. Your invitation for the ‘Integration gender into livestock research training course’ is on the way!!!

Erdachew Yitagesu Tesema
May 6, 2021

Thank you Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems, based at the University of Florida & ILRI. I am one of the feed the future innovation lab project funded young livestock researcher. I am glad to be screened for the long term CapDev training.

Belisa usmael
February 25, 2021

Great team (lab and field) and great work! Go ahead again and again!

February 25, 2021

good!,go ahead,

Ibsa Aliyi Usmane
February 24, 2021

Thank you very much proffesor Arie, we work for change not for lunch(field team slogan).

Ross Colgate, PhD MPH
February 24, 2021

Congratulations CAGED team, both on your important work during the pandemic and getting CAGED off the ground! We're following your progress closely and look forward to learning from the excellent science you're producing!

Ibsa Aliyi
September 20, 2019

Dr. Sara Mackune is very intelligent person who I always work with her in practical research activities in Ethiopia. May God bless Dr. Sara Mackune.

February 26, 2019

this is nice story

Adiba Rogers
October 18, 2018

A great personality, a fast-paced thinker with a strong passion for whatever she does.

Sanjoy Chandra Bhattacherjee
October 18, 2018

Hello Alice, I am pleased to hear your experiences. I am also working with Mastitis in our area of work and now I am involved in a dairy project here in Bangladesh. I am going to participate in an international mastitis forum this month. I want to hear more from you about your training of dairy farmers on safe and clean milk production. How can I do that? I will be very pleased to hear from you.

Arie Havelaar
October 17, 2018

Working with Sarah is one of the great pleasures of being associated with LSIL; she is fully dedicated to whatever she does and never fails to deliver. She also is a great traveling companion!

Kathy Colverson
October 17, 2018

Sarah rocks! I'm only too honored to work with her on a daily basis :)

Catherine Karow
September 26, 2018

Amazing woman!

Kelly Quintana
September 26, 2018

Amazing. Such an intelligent and compassionate woman doing incredible work. Her projects are changing lives all around the world in the present and for the future.

Beau Beery
September 20, 2018

Um, wow, she doesn’t have to stutter when someone asks her if she is making a positive difference on the world. I am proud to know her.

J. Parrish
September 20, 2018

Busy? You can’t even imagine. As her lucky husband and the father of our 3 kids, I’m uniquely qualified to confirm this lady is extraordinary and amazing in every way.

September 19, 2018

Thank you Mrs. Alice for your contribution on the improvement of milk quality and safety in the value chain in our community. Keep it up

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