Our unique home visit process is just one of our methods of collecting information so that we can measure impact at The Women’s Bakery (TWB). Other methods include a baseline survey, a pre and post test survey before and after training, a follow up survey after a few months of working in the bakeries, and a social impact survey involving focus group discussions.
This month, we are taking a closer look at the home visits, run by Ruth Uwera, our Operations Officer. The purpose of home visits is to conduct informal interviews with the women bakers to collect qualitative data to corroborate with our other, more quantitative data. Home visits give us a better understanding of why increased salaries matter to the women bakers, and notify us of programmatic shortcomings. Ruth visits each of the women bakers in their homes and has conversations with them about their families and their lives after they started working at TWB. These visits last 5-6 hours and occur once or twice a year. In the future, we may increase the frequency of home visits, as we have seen how beneficial they are to the support and empowerment of the women bakers.
The types of questions during the home visits range from nutrition for their families, capacity to purchase and cook nutritious meals, and monthly expenses. At TWB, we consider choice a powerful tool for opportunity. Therefore, we do not dictate what women should spend their salaries on, but rather observe what they choose to spend and any lifestyle changes they may have experienced since working at TWB. Typical changes noted include increased savings, eating more nutritious meals, and better individual and familial hygiene.
Earlier this year, Ruth completed a series of home visits. What she found was incredible--the women bakers had advocated for and started a savings account, were eating two meals a day rather than one, and were eating more nutritious meals. One woman made her living space for her family safer by renovating her roof. Although changes in lifestyle may look slightly different from woman to woman, our home visits most clearly demonstrate that the power of choice allows for great improvement in quality of life for every woman.