Tag Archives: Africa

Garbology for research on condom use

Recently I completed a systematic review of research explaining patterns of condom use in five East African countries. The most basic conclusion is that researchers failed to answer this vital question. The most informative projects employed ethnographic participant-observation, and future researchers should emphasize this methodology – as opposed to the current focus on surveys, on which people demonstrably lie in large numbers. All of this is detailed in my comprehensive report, which is freely available online.

Nonetheless, participant-observation has its weaknesses, and one of these is in producing stats. Numerical evidence of trends is important for understanding whether a public-health program is working, and it’s something that policymakers and journalists expect. Since asking people directly about their sex lives yields disastrously unreliable answers, less-direct methods are needed. Continue reading


Corruption kills kids, too

Outrage over the shooting at Newtown is rightly prompting many Americans to support stricter gun control. But why stop there? People have found so many ways to kill children and other innocents – drone attacks (perhaps 176 children in Pakistan), adulterated industrial products, and, here in Uganda, corruption. Maybe the technical term in Uganda is not “kill” but “prevent the prevention of death,” but the effect is the same. There’s blood on the hands of many people driving expensive cars around Kampala. Continue reading