Our research in an Ugandan village 

My work experiences in Uganda

As some of you might know I currently live and study in the Netherlands. About my experiences about this you can read here and here.

For the study program we always conduct and carry out projects. In the first two years they are done on regional and national level. In my now third and upcoming fourth year we will be send out to do projects abroad! I am super happy that my study gives me the oppertunity to work and live in different countries!

‘Honey is money!’

It’s a social research project and I am doing it with three other students. We are basically touring around a specific region in Uganda and interviewing beekeepers about their current business and their aspirations for the future. We hope that we can provide a form of „assosiaction model“ for all those groups to join their efforts and establish a strong honey collection and distribution point. If yoU are interested in this kind of work chek out this NGO which we do this project for.

So now I bored you with our technical outline, but I guess you are more interested into what we encountered on our way.

The horror and joy of a researcher

Doing research in a developing country brings certain challenges with. Doing research in remote villages in a developing country even more 😀 Coming from a Western country we all had to adapt to a much more informal and laid back working style. We got to know a lot about the local beekeeping but also visited other local businesses like  a coffee farm and a crafting organisation. It’s great to see those busy and creative people and get to know a country’s culture and people through it’s businesses.

Our challenges:

– 1x car got stuck in the mud

– 1x flat car tyre

– 1x car broke down due to empty battery

-1x got chased  away by crazy agressive bees!

– Countless times: getting lost

– Countless times: dealing with different time perception and work attitudes

Our joys

– Working and living together turns your team super fast into a family

– You don’t need to make appointments with people you just show up- they will always make time for you

– Experiencing the hard work those beekeepers do and get to know their future ambitions is motivation enough to get up to work!

– Well working in a warm country in beautiful nature- what’s not to love about that? 😛

My tips for a happy research

• Always bring some small presents for your respondents if you don’t have budget to pay them

• Bring a powerbank( solar one is ideal!) if you bring your phone to record the interview or if you bring your pad or laptop to work with

• If you can work with paper and pen while you are there rather do that than bringing your technical equipment. Might come across insensitive if you bring alll those fancy gadgets to people who don’t have access to electricity and/or running water

• Invest in a reliable and trustworthy translator= all your data depend on that persons skills! So brief and pay them well 🙂

• Be open and friendly, especially when you can’t speak the local language try to have a calm and friendly vibe around you people will appreciate this

• If your respondents produce something (agricultural products, clothes, crafts etc.) buy something from them or at least compliment their work

• Be patient. Things take time in lots of developing countries, time is relative there so don’t rush people and expect or even demand a ‚Western speed’

This work experience has been really intense but also rewarding to me, it takes lots of time and patients to conduct such a research but it’s great to be in the field and actually work for and with the people who will benefit from this project 🙂

What are your experiences of working abroad, I am curious about your tips, tricks and for sure also funny stories! Leave them in the comments 🙂

Wherever you go go with all your heart! <3

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