University Challenge, Anyone?

Health Committee Meeting in Magwi County

Health Committee Meeting in Magwi County

Aid Works recently partnered with University of Sheffield postgraduates to work with unused data from a large-scale community survey. The survey was originally carried out by the DFID-led Health Pooled Fund in South Sudan with our support, back in 2014.

The University Challenge task was the analysis of this data to understand better the variety of community activities funded by the Health Pooled Fund, as well as those being initiated by the communities themselves. In South Sudan only 44% of the population live within 5km of a health facility and the majority of the population (81%) live in rural areas – making local communities very important in creating demand for health services and supporting activities such as transporting patients to facilities.

The surveys had been completed by implementing partners (the NGOs) providing support in South Sudan, and covered data on: the number of functional health committees attached to health facilities, training provided by organisations, awareness-raising activities implemented by the community, and how the health committees help resolve local conflict. Implementing partners conducted focus group discussions with a total of 122 health committees, covering six out of ten states in South Sudan.

In any survey, evaluation or data-collection process, some data remains unused. However, this leftover data can still be useful and is worth sifting through, and provides a perfect project for those wanting to learn new skills.

In two months, the postgraduates worked their way through the data, presented their key findings and developed a set of clear conclusions. Aid Works provided mentoring and ensured the quality of the work was of a standard that any client would be happy with.

There are a lot of untapped, enthusiastic students and graduates wanting to develop their skills. The University Challenge is the perfect opportunity to analyse unused data and improve the skills of the next generation of aid workers.

To foster the skills of the next generation Aid Works plan to run more University Challenges with future projects.

Get in touch if you’re an organization wanting to donate data that we can use!