Using the MSC technique for evaluating the interventions

We piloted the MSC process for the BVV intervention in the trial pilot site in Botswana in November 2011 and undertook the process in all BVV sites from December 2011 to February 2012; we undertook the MSC process for FW intervention in March and April 2012.

The CIET coordinators who implemented the interventions directly or indirectly, also collected the MSC stories, approaching community members who had participated in the interventions. The three-country spread, widely separated trial communities in Botswana and Namibia, and different languages, meant it was impractical for coordinators to collect stories from each other’s countries. But they swapped between communities within each country wherever possible. Community contacts (such as the BVV community facilitators) helped identify potential story tellers from among participants, and participants led to other participants; we did not attempt random selection of story tellers.

The CIET team meets in Johannesburg to discuss MSC stories

The CIET coordinators recorded basic information about the story tellers and their level of participation, obtained their consent to use their stories, and then asked them “Please tell me a story describing what you think is the most significant change in your life that has been a result of your involvement in

”. They wrote the stories in the local language of the tellers and later translated them into English.

The coordinators and research leaders from all three countries read all the stories and then met to discuss them; for BVV in February 2012 and for FW in April 2012. For each intervention, they chose, by consensus, up to four stories per country that they felt best encapsulated important impacts of the interventions, both expected and unexpected.

We produced special editions of the BVV newsletter and FW newsletter carrying selected stories and made these available within the communities. We have conducted content analysis of all the stories for each intervention and we will publish papers describing the findings.

We have reproduced here a set of key quotes from selected stories, linked to the full stories for those interested to read them.