May 19, 2011 – It’s been a week since I arrived in Rwanda and many things happened already. In Kigali, I met with the director of Girinka (One Cow Programme) at the Rwandan Animal Resource Development Authority (RARDA – the livestock unit of Ministry of Agriculture in Rwanda) and the researchers at the Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (IPAR-Rwanda).
Coincidentally, both RARDA and IPAR are interested in evaluating the girinka programme this year! As the government managing body, RARDA is interested in evaluating the programme structure, implementation, and operations side of things. IPAR’s approach is much broader and comprehensive: from girinka programme theory of change to impact attribution, IPAR wants to conduct a proper evaluation piece (i.e., using experimental methods with control group comparison and longitudinal design).
If the timing is the essence, I must admit I feel pretty lucky to come at the right time when both RARDA and IPAR are starting to work on their formative studies. Both RARDA and IPAR people were genuinely interested in my research and encouraged me to stay on board with their initiatives (for example, they invited me to sit on the technical committee of girinka evaluation research initiative). After meeting with these partners, I felt ‘inflated’ and wishful ideas started to flood my mind. Maybe I should join RARDA’s evaluation team and work on the country-wide assessment this summer? Or, perhaps I can partner with IPAR to work on a much more rigorous and longer-term evaluation study? All these thoughts started to overwhelm my mind, and I started to doubt about my ‘little research’. My first temptation and trial. After a hard soul (re)searching and guidance from Kevin (my mentor at IDRC), I regained my confidence and decided to focus on my research work again. That is why I am here.