It was during an interview of a school principal, a well-respected man in the community. The respondent was all too happy to cooperate, answering our researcher’s questions in length. But in the middle of the interview, he paused and grabbed her hand, explaining that he holds the hands of disobedient children. But he didn’t let go.
She finished the interview, extracted her hand and left with her colleagues. But it shook us all up, an unnerving and unwelcome incident. For the remaining interviews, we asked a male field worker to accompany our female staff, and there were no more incidents. But as an organization we do vehemently defend and uphold our independence and work towards making the development sector gender neutral. This was a sad setback.
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