• Presentation

Measuring results in a challenging environment: Maternal mortality in Afghanistan


Darcy, N., Hayes, W., Elkins, C., & Mohsini, Z. (2010, May). Measuring results in a challenging environment: Maternal mortality in Afghanistan. Presented at AAPOR-Surveying on Sensitive Topics Session (No. 178213). Chicago, IL, .


Cross-cultural research raises ethical and practical concerns stemming from differing perspectives and sensitivities across a range of situations, groups, genders, and social and political cleavages. Gathering research data in the context of ongoing or recurrent violent conflict heightens respondent sensitivities, which may be further exacerbated when topics
explored include personal reproductive health choices or life-and-death family decisions. This paper focuses on key data collection challenges encountered in evaluating program impact in the context of a specialty maternity hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan (2007-2009). We present processes followed and problem-solving tactics employed in this case through evaluation design and implementation, highlighting useful lessons
learned on effective approaches to quality evaluation data collection in a context of high stress and uncertainty. Though working in a conflict environment such as Afghanistan presents many challenges, we found it both possible and imperative to develop a solid methodological approach to ensure scientifically sound results. Our paper includes recommendations for others needing to collect evaluation data in similar environments.