Research Methods Training in Kabul, Afghanistan

Future Generations Empowerment (FGE) conducted its first certificate program earlier this month in Kabul, Afghanistan. The training, organized by Future Generations Afghanistan’s Executive Director, Ajmal Shirzai, was designed for government officials at the Research and Policy Department of Afghanistan’s Deputy Ministry of Youth Affairs (DMoYA). Trainers, all either alumni or current students of Future Generations Graduate School, focused on four types of research: Applied, Description, Evaluation, and Quantitative .
The applied research section was led by Besmillah Sakhizada (Class of 2013). Sakhizada presented his “Family Health Action Group” research that he has been working on since 2006 in Afghanistan’s Bamyan Province. Applied research, he argued, is conducted in response to a specific problem that requires a solution.
Descriptive research, on the other hand, is designed to define the objectives, facts, and characteristics to be investigated. This section was led by Amanullah Hotak (Class of 2013). Hotak discussed how he is using descriptive research to improve local governance in Central Afghanistan through his own NGO, OLSFG (Organization for Local Services and Future Generations).
Evaluation research is the process of determining the value or worth of something. It is oriented toward formal and objective measurement of the extent to which a given action, activity, or program has achieved its original objective. Tahir Khalil (Class of 2014), discussed the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) program that he has been leading in six provinces of Afghanistan. The program was recently evaluated by an independent evaluator. Khalil spoke about the evaluator’s planning and execution processes, their key findings, and how they could be implemented.
Lastly, the section on quantitative research was facilitated by Ajmal Shirzai. Quantitative research generates and analyzes numerical data and usually seeks to establish causal relationships between two or more variables, using statistical methods to test the strength and significance of the relationships. Shirzai explained his research project, “Identification of Positive Deviance Communities in Eastern Afghanistan.” This research was comprised of three phases, each phase having three steps. The first phase was the collection and analysis of quantitative data using composite variables for security and development. This session helped the participants to learn how the quantitative data can be converted into qualitative information.
The training was funded through an Alumni Learning & Action Collaboration grant that FGE received in 2015. Future Generations Empowerment is an Afghanistan-based NGO that was formed in 2015 by Future Generations alumni in order to apply their skills and knowledge to community development, good governance, peacebuilding, and environmental conservation for the empowerment of local communities (mainly youths). The group is already planning a similar training for youth groups throughout Afghanistan.