FEATURE24 August 2020

Hearing girls’ voices: conducting research during the pandemic in Bangladesh, India, Malawi, Nigeria and the US

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Girl Effect’s Lucy Powell reflects on the challenges of conducting research with girls during the pandemic.


Girl Effect works to support adolescent girls in low- and middle-income countries to make choices so they are healthier, more educated and financially secure. Designed to ensure that girls’ voices are actively influencing the programmes that affect them, Technology Enabled Girl Ambassadors (TEGA) is Girl Effect’s female-operated digital research tool, allowing girls to collect real-time insights into the lives of their peers.

Young women, aged 18-24, are trained using a bespoke mobile app and, through a partnership with the MRS, become qualified digital researchers – TEGAs. We have been working with the MRS since 2016 to provide TEGAs with the MRS Certificate in Digital Interviewing Skills, awarded at the end of the training process.

TEGA faces perhaps its biggest challenge to date with Covid-19. It is, traditionally, a face-to-face methodology, but given that this type of fieldwork is not currently possible, we have had to evolve to ensure that we are still meeting all research needs while remaining true to the methodology. ...