Drew Griscom Roos


Afghanistan Field Report: Epilogue

Excerpts from field reports during my trip to Afghanistan to deploy CommCare with female, illiterate CHWs

Seemed like a good time to get out.

Having completed the primary objective – initial training and rollout – early last week, the final days of the trip have been mellow. Time has been split between tackling remaining issues with the app, and having wrap-up discussions with the Field Implementor and local staff, making sure they’re ready to carry the project forward.

Thursday was Celebration of Islamic Revolution in Afghanistan (which one?) day, so it was an office holiday and gave me time to focus on the remaining tech issues w/o having to worry about the afghan staff. We resolved the auto-send issue, which was due to missing permissions as a result of my building locally instead of via build server. I was confused because a signed app automatically reject requests for unsigned permissions instead of popping up the authorization dialog like unsigned apps do. This had the potential to be a major show-stopper, so it was a relief to see the cause was so minor.

[more boring shop talk omitted]

All these wrap-up briefings seemed to sink in, but only time will tell how well they’re actually managing the project on the ground. Communication will be important but also difficult. The Field Implementor and I were in a good spot by the end of the two weeks, but 6,500 mi/8.5 hrs away is a different story. CC’ing and keeping one of the better English speakers on their team in the loop could be a good idea.

On my last day I got the grand SUV tour of Herat. It’s funny how ancient cities always look so small from google earth, yet so huge from the ground. Currently in Dubai for two days of R&R; fly home Thursday; probably in the office on Friday. Hope no-one has taken my desk… otherwise, which seat will I take?

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