What is the household survey?

The survey aims to seek information related to livelihood activities, changes and outcomes resulting in food security and gender equality related issued issues. It also wishes to understand local land transaction dynamics and agricultural commercialization processes.

In which Districts was the survey conducted? And why were these Districts selected for the survey?

The interviews were conducted in four Districts situated in three Provinces; Santuk District in Kampong Thom, Snoul District in Kratie, and Oyadav and Andoung Meas Districts in Rattanakiri. Each location is characterized by specific local dynamics related to land, migration and agriculture commercialization. In short, the two Districts in Rattanakiri are home to indigenous peoples who are affected by numerous large-scale investment projects from international and national rubber companies, as well as from national elites; Santuk District in Kampong Thom is affected by economic concessions: it was first exploited by forest companies and then by a Vietnamese rubber company.The District is inhabited by a mix oflocal residents and in-migrants. Since it is a former forest concession area, the status of land property of local residents is ambiguous. Last Snoul District in Kratie is an agro-industrial zone. It has attracted better-off people who invested in commercial crops.

How many people did you interview? And how many men and women?

In each Province, we conducted interviews in 200 households (in Kampong Thom, 96 women and 104 men; in Rattanakiri, 86 women and 114 men and in Kratie 117 women and 83 men). A pre-designed questionnaire was used,and a household sample was randomly selected in the four Districts. For the purpose of the comparative analysis between Cambodia and Ghana, the same questionnaire is about to be used in both countries, with slight adaptations to local contexts.  In Cambodia, the questionnaires also underwent some modifications during a participatory training workshop with provincial Departments of agriculture of the three target Provinces.

Who conducted the survey interviews?

The staff of the Department of agriculture (PDA) who attended the training workshop participated in the administration of the survey questionnaire under the technical support of the CENTDOR team and of two Master students from the Graduate Institute, Geneva. Village mapping was conducted and samples were randomly selected from the village map. Village heads and deputy heads were asked to assist in making appointment for interviews.

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When did you conduct the survey and why did you choose this period?

The survey interviews were conducted in August 2016 in Rattanakiri and Kampong Thom, and in September 2016 in Kratie. During this period, it is easy to meet local people for interviews since it is the middle of the farming season. Outside the farming season it would have been difficult to find local people for interviews – most active laborers tend to migrate seasonally to look for additional job opportunities in urban areas.

What kind of challenges did you face?

The survey questionnaire was conducted in collaboration with the Department of agriculture (PDA) whose staff has no experience in doing research work. Intensive training was organized so that the staff could work with us. The skills of PDA team members varied largely: after some time several of them could work independently but others needed further support.

Even though we call it “household survey questionnaire” we had chosen to integrate questions legal issues and politics in order to meet our research objectives. This could create some difficulties for enumerators.

When we started conducting the survey, political tensions emerged in Cambodia. Our counterparts (PDA) did not allow us to keep the intended questions related to legal and politics into the questionnaires. The legal and policy/politics questions will therefore be given specific attention in the second round of qualitative interviews.

The survey will be conducted in the following months in Ghana. What kind of lessons can be learnt from this first experience and what are your suggestions for our partners in Ghana who will begin the survey soon?

In addition to the challenges mentioned earlier, it is important to agree on the terms and their definitions as any difference in understanding will affect the quality of the data. For example, what does “family network” mean? What does “extended network” mean? Collecting data related to inputs and farming practices from multi-cropping plots is complicated for enumerators who may miss some information about certain crops. Clear instruction to the enumerators is a prerequisite.

Again there is a need to assign an experienced field supervisor to double-check and support the enumerators during the survey. Since the Ghana team is going to use tablets for the survey, double-checking the questionnaire after each interview is not easy. The Ghana team may need to put extra efforts in training before the survey. In Cambodia, we can still provide support during the survey because we use hard copy questionnaires.

Two Master students from the Graduate Institute, Geneva have joined us during the training and field survey phases. They have documented our training and fieldwork. So we would suggest that the Ghana team go through the students’ field reports to learn both the good and the bad lessons from our experience.