Panel data takes partnership and patience: first field visit of the Uganda National Panel Survey
Even the best-laid plans have had to be revisited, revised, postponed, or cancelled as a result of the global health emergency that the COVID-19 pandemic represents. In 2019, the SPIA team were making preparations to accompany the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBoS) as they implemented a first wave of a new sample for the Uganda National Panel Survey (UNPS). This would be the second national study of the “reach” of CGIAR, following the publication of our work in Ethiopia. Throughout 2020, as we witnessed and experienced the human tragedy of the pandemic, our colleagues at UBoS and the LSMS team at the World Bank postponed implementation of the UNPS, and urgently reoriented their priorities and resources in order to collect data on the pandemic from across Uganda – by phone.
As Uganda began reopening in 2021, UBoS drew up revised plans for implementation of the UNPS, with new COVID-19 safety protocols and plenty of associated logistical challenges. Enumerators needed to be trained remotely, subjected to COVID testing, and equipped with masks and sanitizer. And that was before UBoS had provided the teams with all the supplies required for the survey operations – GPS for measuring plot boundaries; plant leaf sample collection kits for DNA fingerprinting; tablets for the CAPI applications with the questionnaire; printed booklets with visual aids on crop pests and diseases (see photo below).