Exchange to Change January 2017 - Page 25

25 and entitlements among rural women . This was followed by binary logistic regressions to determine the association between knowledge of these services , rights and entitlements and the actual utilization of maternal health care among rural women .
E2C : What do you consider the most important policy recommendation of your research ?
Civil society-led gender budget initiatives , working in collaboration with other maternal health interventions , should actively target the users of maternal health care . It is not enough to presume that once services are genderresponsive , they will automatically lead to increased utilization among the rural poor .
E2C : You got a ICP “ sandwich ”
scholarship from the VLIR . How did you divide your time between Belgium and Uganda ?
I spent the first nine months of the PhD taking courses in Europe and returned to Uganda for 11 months , during which I worked briefly ( three months ) as an intern at the civil society organisation to orient myself with gender budgeting and civil society work in the Ugandan context and collected qualitative data . After 11 months , I returned to Belgium , initially for three months , followed by four months , and finally 11 months to complete the PhD thesis write-up and defence . In total , 24 months of the PhD were spent in Uganda and 27 months were spent in Antwerp .
E2C : How did you experience working and living in both Belgium and Uganda over the past few years ?
I enjoyed the experience living and working in both places . Apart from the months in which I collected data from the field , living in Uganda for at least four months each year afforded me the opportunity of maintaining physical contact with my relatives throughout the PhD . The months spent in Belgium enabled me to concentrate on completing data analysis and the write-up of the thesis , as there was less distraction . I was also able to expand my network of friends from both places .
E2C : What was the best , most beautiful moment of your PhD ?
The best moment for me was at the end of the pre-defence , when the professors of my jury informed me that I could proceed to publicly defend my thesis , subject to a few changes .
E2C : And what was the worst , most difficult moment ?
I would say the most difficult moment was the realisation that my initial research topic could not be feasibly studied in Uganda , which resulted in altering the research question two years towards the end of the PhD . This made the last two years of the PhD draining , as twice the effort needed to be expended to make up for lost time .
E2C : To conclude , can you tell us the most important thing you have learned during your time at IOB ?
I have learnt to be an independent researcher and to explore and perfect uncharted methods of evaluation .
Exchange to change January 2017