- Social and resource mapping
Community Social and Resource mapping is a method that helps us learn about a community and its resource base. A Social and Resource Map drawn by community members helps to learn about the social structures and institutions found in an area. It also helps us to learn about social and economic differences between the households.
The idea is not to develop an accurate map (to scale) but to use the visual to get useful information and community perceptions regarding available resources and social structures.
Participatory mapping exercises are useful to identify existing natural, human and material resources, social structures and institutions in the community, and develop a shared, common understanding of how they influence the community with reference to the opportunities and challenges they face.
Time required: 1.5- 2 hours
- Decide where and how the maps will be drawn, and by whom. If working with a mixed group, it might be useful to have men and women draw maps separately. First draw the resource map, and afterwards fill in the social map (or – if the community combines both – that is also ok). Maps can be drawn on the ground or in the sand, on a flipchart or blackboard.
- Decide who will draw the map, if possible make a separate male and female group. Because men and women might use different resources â€“ it might yield additional information to bring the two groups together to compare their perceptions. If different interest groups are present in the community, make sure that each groupâ€™s interests are recognized. Mapping done in smaller groups helps everyone to have the opportunity to provide their input. Larger groups can be helpful to get a better representation of various perspectives in the community at one time.
- Drawing social and resource maps
- Find a large open place to work. If drawing a map on the ground, find material that can be used to show different items on the map e.g. sticks, pebbles, leaves, sawdust, flour, dung or any other local material.
- Start by placing a rock or leaf to represent a central and important landmark.
- Ask the participants to draw the boundaries of the community (hamlet/ village/street)
- Ask the participants to draw other things on the map that are important. Do not interrupt the participants unless they stop drawing.
- Once they stop, you can ask whether there is anything else of importance that should be added.
- When the map is completed, facilitators should ask the participants to describe it. Ask questions about anything that is unclear.
- Use the key questions to guide a discussion about resources in the village. One or more facilitators should ask the questions, another should take notes on what is said.
- Make sure that your copy of the map has a key explaining the different items and symbols used on the map.
- It is recommended to make a copy of the map – either on paper or photograph, in order to be able to share it with others, and/or in the report and/or use it at a later stage. Make sure to indicate compass directions in the copy.
Mapping needs good and well prepared facilitation. Be aware that some of the issues that might be discussed could be sensitive issues for the group.
If people find it difficult to understand this tool, it will be helpful to draw a simple example for them. During the whole process, take care that once somebody has given a statement, you ask the others whether they agree, disagree or want to add something.
The note-taker must ensure that all important points of the discussion and other information is also documented. Make sure that all symbols and their meanings are recorded.
The purpose of the social map must be very clear to all participants, make sure that the participants do not have wrong expectations. For example, they might think that the poor households will get food donations, which is completely wrong. Make sure that the objective of having all households shown on the map will be achieved.
- Resource map â€“ key questions
- What resources are available? Where are they located?
- What resources are abundant? What resources are scarce?
- Who has access to which resources? Does everyone have equal access to land? Do women have access to land? Do the poor have access to land?
- Who makes decision on land allocation?
- Where do people go to collect water? Who collects water?
- Where do people go to collect firewood? Who collects firewood?
- Where do people go to graze livestock? Where do small animals graze?
- What kind of development activities do you carry out as a whole community? Where?
- Which resource do you have the most problem with?
- Which resources are most useful for further development?
Social map â€“ key questions
- What are the approximate boundaries of the community with regard to social interaction and social services?
- How many households are in the community and where are they located?
- Is the number of households growing or shrinking?
- What are the social structures and institutions found in the community? Where are they located?
- What are the different kind of households (groups) living in the community, and where do they live e.g. religious groups?
- Ethnic groups
- Different professions/ income sources?
- Poor/Rich? When do you consider people poor or rich?
- Female-headed households, child-headed households? Are there households with more or less resources?
- Home gardens?
- Their own water sources?
- Their own toilets?
- Access to roads
- Transect walk
Transect walk is a tool for describing and showing the location and distribution of resources, features, landscape, main land uses along a given transect. In the context of nutrition, this method will give an idea of the food grown around the homestead and also the condition of water, hygiene and sanitation in the community. Walking through the village provides an opportunity to observe how people go about their daily activities, and also build an informal rapport with the community. These observations help question or support the information gathered in the other steps.
Time required: approx. 2 hours.
- Decide the area to walk through. Even though the process is informal, you will still need to decide what areas you are going to focus your observations.
- Assign tasks -If doing this exercise in a group, make sure that all assessment team members are tasked with focusing on specific issues, along with general observations. One way to divide the group is across sectors i.e. agriculture, gender, nutrition/food, and WASH.
- Record events -It is important to record under what conditions you observed things. This will help the team to remember the context and increase validity. For example, if you are visiting the community during a particular season or festival or event in the community â€“ the behaviour will be different as compared to a â€˜normalâ€™ day.
- Summarize -At the end of the day make sure that all notes are in a shareable and concise format. The entire group will then be able to understand the observations during the data analysis process.
This method is very subjective to the observer. Interpretation of information may be biased and can change quickly. The results of this activity should be verified later by the community. It is important to show respect, as in many cases people are being observed without their knowledge. If the process includes a meeting or similar activity, permission should be sought. If you want to take pictures or record audio, request authorization from the community members. This will avoid potential misunderstanding.
The facilitator should be alert at all times to observe the surrounding environment, being aware of biases that exist and making sure information is cross-checked through the use of other tools.
Points to observe
- General information
- Distribution of the population (average age of people, dominant work, gender)
- Daily routine (What are people doing? Are school-aged children in school? Who takes care of the children at home? Who is working in the fields)
- Typical family structure (what kind of families – nuclear or extended? Any female-headed households? Child-headed households?)
- Community interaction (groups, places where people come together, political affiliation etc.)
- Demeanour of people â€“ happy/stressed, healthy/unhealthy, any other visible signs (e.g. skin conditions, physical attributes etc.)
- Housing (types, constrction material, roofs, proximity, space utilisation etc.)
- Home gardens (What is grown? By whom? How much? Condition of the gardens)
- Food storage available? Where?
- Availability of electricity, fuel use, availability of fuel, stoves used.
- Location and use of latrines, defecation sites (condition).
- Location and use of water sources (handpumps, wells-open/closed, taps etc.).
- Health clinics (level/services available, condition, staffing etc.).
- Sanitation (sewers, running water – availability, functionality and type, waste disposal system).
- Open spaces (playgrounds, green areas, uses, condition of spaces â€“ clean/dirty, covered/uncovered).
- Roads (types, condition, length, places reached/ unreached).
- Transport/Vehicles (individual, public, service providersâ€¦).
- School (level, condition, staffing, etc.).
- Animals in the streets (owned/stray, livestock-big/small/poultry, other).
- Common resources (water sources, grazing lands).
- Farms/fields (distance from houses, mode of transport, irrigation).
- Crops (visible standing crop, any significant farming practice, preference for varieties etc.).
- Processing facilities (flour mill, rice polishing unit, home-processed products, outlets for sale).
- Enterprises and economic activities (what are people making, selling, buying).
Food items for sale
- List anything, including fruits, vegetables, eggs, fish and dairy products such as milk, etc, but also snacks, processed food and cooking condiments such as oil.
- What is your impression of the quality of food sold, especially fresh food?
- What is the price of the foods listed? Make sure you use the same volumes at every shop/market.
- What are the volumes in which they are sold?
- Distance people in the community have to travel to reach services (schools, health posts, agricultural inputs and government).
- Where people go to buy things, different markets for different needs.
- Places to eat, drink.
- Places for collective activities â€“ Cinemas? Religious institutions? Markets? Institutions present?
- Stakeholder mapping and analysis
Stakeholder mapping and analysis is the identification of the key stakeholders in a change process. It is a mapping of stakeholders internal and external to the community, their interests, relations, conflict of interests, and the way in which this might influence nutrition and agriculture related decisions. It helps to decide whom to involve while implementing solutions, and in what way. Stakeholder analysis helps to assess and decide whose influence to strengthen and/or whose influence to minimise.
Time required: approx.2 hours
- Preparation-Ideally, it is better to form separate focus groups for women, men and adolescents. Make sure that also the poorest and most disadvantaged join the group. Bring small coloured cards/post-its to the community, including pens to write or draw on them.
- Explain to the participants WHY the exercise is being conducted, i.e. to learn about the organisations/ service providers/ leaders in the areas of agriculture, womenâ€™s affairs, nutrition/health and WASH in the community, and the different views local people might have regarding them.
- Developing the stakeholder map
- Ask the participants which organisations/group and/or individuals that they find useful and important in the community; also ask which organisations from outside the village/area they interact with for needs related to the four sectors. Probe them to include formal as well as small and informal groups as well e.g. neighbourhood committees, local clubs etc.
- On a flipchart ask one of the literate villagers to make a list of all organisations/groups and individuals mentioned and get the group to agree on a symbol/picture to represent that organization. Alternatively, you can also ask different people in the group, to draw a pictures on cards, one per organization and/or individual mentioned as important stakeholders.
- The facilitator then draws a big circle on a flipchart, in the centre or on the ground. The circle represents the community.
- Taking one card/picture at a time, ask the group how important that organization/ individual is for them with respect to agriculture, nutrition, health and WASH-related matters. Try to arrive at a consensus by engaging in discussions on why they consider that entity less or more important. Place the important cards inside the circle â€“ most important ones closer to the centre of the circle, less important ones along the circumference and least importance ones either on the boundary or outside the circle. Record all discussions that take place while deciding where the cards ought to be placed.
- When all cards are put up, confirm the placement of cards in the group. At this point, allow people to debate and change the position of cards if they want to. Record all discussions that take place while deciding where the cards ought to be placed.
- If there is time and interest: i) Ask the group what kind of benefits (or otherwise) they get from each entity e.g. information, services, funds/subsidies, assistance, credit etc.; and ii) Ask the group to discuss and document the strength and weaknesses of the entities reported as most important.
Tips for note-taking
- Record date, time, place, number of participants (men/women), composition (landless/female headed-households etc.) as applicable.
- Record list of organisations/service providers/individuals influential in addressing community matters/problems related to agriculture, nutrition/health, womenâ€™s affairs, and WASH;
- Record list of additional actors who could be potentially useful; kind of support they provide.
- List entities the community does NOT consider as important, with reasons.
- List community members affiliated to any of the entities listed, and their roles/function.
- Take a photograph of the stakeholder map and attach to the report.
- Which organisations/service providers/groups are workingÂ in or withÂ the community in matters related to agriculture, womenâ€™s affairs, nutrition/health and WASH?
- Whom do community members turn to when they have problems related to agriculture or nutrition? Why?
- What types of services are provided to whom? – distinguish between typical services for men and typical services for women (ask them to indicate the differences on the picture cards)
- Who are their most reliable/dependable information providers? Why?
- What information channels do the service providers use to reach their information to the community members?
- Who are their most reliable/dependable service providers? Why?
- If the entities mentioned include membership organizations or groups â€“ ask the criteria for membership; ask if any particular group is preferred/included or excluded, and why? (Indicate those aspects on the picture cards).
- Has there been any change in the number and nature of entities they have been approaching for help in the recent past? What has led to that change?