- Key informant interviews
Key informant interviews with knowledgeable people within and outside the community will help gain insights into what policymakers and other stakeholders at district and community level, perceive as positive/desirable and undesirable behaviour in the context of what communities produce, consume and how they make decisions. Loosely structured, using a list of issues to be discussed (interview guides), the idea is to have a free flowing conversation to get an idea of the behaviours that need to change for improved nutrition outcomes.
Time required: approx. 2 hours per interview.
- Key informant interviews ought to follow the mapping exercises (community and resource mapping, transect walk and stakeholder map). Informants are to be selected from key stakeholders at district level and community level. Potential list includes relevant government representatives from departments of Health, Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Womenâ€™s Affairs (social services), religious leaders and local/international NGOs if relevant. Additionally include community leaders, and other local stakeholders.
- Conduct interviews in teams of 2-3 members – one interviewer, and 1-2 note takers (preferably people with different backgrounds as people from different backgrounds see and hear different things while conducting an interview).
- On starting the interview, introduce yourself, explain that the interview purpose is to learn more about the food and nutrition situation in the community and thank the informant for his/her time.
- Seek consent for using the information, from the person being interviewed, and assure them of confidentiality.
- While using the key questions below as interview guides, bear in mind that the interview guides are NOT questionnaires â€“ they contain suggestions regarding key questions and topics for discussion.
- While formulating questions make sure that the questions are open-ended allowing the informant to go beyond a â€˜yes-noâ€™ answer and provide in-depth information. Some suggestions are given below:
- Could you please explain to meâ€¦
- Could you please give an example,..
- Could you tell me more….
- Could you please repeatâ€¦
- Could you please describe/explain again what you meanâ€¦
- I seeâ€¦
- Do you agree thatâ€¦
- Do you have any questions for usâ€¦
- Do you know anything/ something else that might be of interest for us….
- To what extentâ€¦
- Can you tell us a personal story or anecdote about this topicâ€¦
- Mirroring â€“ where you repeat the respondentâ€™s answer.
- While taking notes, please record the following:
- Date of interview,
- Name of informant,
- Name of community/district of work,
- Type of organization (government/(I)NGO/CBO,
- Name of interviewer,
- Name of note taker,
- Total time of interview.
- What are the main issues in relation to agriculture in this community/district?(Probe in relation to self-sufficiency, variation between buying and selling, decision making about what to produce, land ownership).
- What are the main activities of your department with regard to agriculture in the community? (Probe: main crops – staples/cash, promotional programmes, input subsidies, production diversity, stimulation measures.
- Why these activities? What do you want to achieve with these activities?
- What activities are successful and why do you consider them successful? Probe for more information about success in diversifying food production.
- What activities are less successful and why?
- What type of activities will work well in this district to promote food crop diversification?
- Is there collaboration with other departments such as health/nutrition, agriculture, gender, WASH – if so how? If not, why not?
- What are the main issues in the community your department addresses? What programmes and activities does your department carry out? Who are the target groups?
- What is your biggest concern in the community in relation to roles and responsibilities and decision-making between men and women in agricultural production and consumption of food?
- What do you see as the main reasons for this situation? How have these reasons changes/evolved over time? Are there any differences between women and men, and how do they affect them?
- What programmes/community activities are being organized for men and women in relation to nutrition and agriculture? Who organizes these?
- Who takes decisions in the community that concern everyone living in the community? (Religious leaders/community committees/elder committees? Are women part of this group?)
- How do you collaborate with other departments such as health/nutrition, agriculture in relation to your programmes and activities? In what areas? If not, why not?
- What are the main issues in relation to nutrition in this community? (Probe problems and reasons causing those problems). What, according to them, are possible solutions? What resources will be required to implement those solutions?
- What are the main programmes/activities of your department with regard to nutrition? How are issues related to behaviour change addressed in those programmes/activities? How are gender relations addressed in the programmes/activities?
- Which nutrition programmes and activities have been successful, and what are the reasons?
- Which programmes and activities have been less successful, and why?
- How does your department collaborate with other departments, especially agriculture and gender?
- If not, why not? Do you think this collaboration is important?
- Focus group discussions
The purpose of FGDs in this toolkit is to understand differences in attitudes and perceptions that influence decisions related to agricultural production for consumption and for sale, to allocating agricultural income for buying food and related to differential access for different household members. In FGDs, nonverbal communication and group interaction patterns are also important sources of information. FGDs bring us closer to what people are really thinking and feeling, even though their responses may be difficult or impossible to plot or score on a scale.
Time required: approx.2 hours
An FGD allows you to get information from a group. It requires facilitation skills rather than interview skills to conduct exercises that help probe more into the yes-no answers. Each focus group will have 6-8 participants and two facilitators (same sex facilitators for same sex groups desirable depending on cultural context). One person is the facilitator and the other person is the note-taker. Ensure seating arrangements in the FGD allow people to talk to each other. Arrange for the interview to be carried out in a quiet place.
- Start with introducing yourself and the purpose of the exercise; it is important to manage expectations carefully. Spend time to explain what is going to happen and the time required. Make sure that the introduction generates curiosity within the group and creates a feeling of contributing something important to the entire community. The third part of the introduction is to make sure people are participating voluntarily and do not mind sharing information and opinions; assure them that all information will be kept confidential.
- Get the group to agree on some ground rules such as taking turns while speaking, not to interrupt or disturb others while speaking, that there is no right or wrong answer, everyone has an equal right to speak etc.
- Conduct the discussion using key questions mentioned below.
- At the end, thank the participants for their time and effort, and explain once more that their answers will help to better understand the constraints and opportunities to improve the nutrition status of community members through agriculture. Also explain that there will be another consultation with the entire community after all information has been gathered and analysed, where they will have a chance to discuss, along with experts, about how to develop solutions for the community.
Tips for note-takers
- Begin each note book entry with a date, time and place of data collection event, archival number (number you can later refer to easily), name of facilitator and note- taker.
- Since it may not be possible to write the actual question you can write the question number for each response.
- Distinguish between the respondentâ€™s comments and facilitatorsâ€™ remarks/observations.
- Give each participant an identity (name or number) to help record specific responses – will give insights into group dynamics at the time of analysis.
- Audio recording may be done BUT only with consent.
Note-takers observe, listen and note down all important non-verbal and verbal communication.
Try to recognize important answers/sentences, record them and ask for clarification if needed. Do not take things for granted.
- Expand notes within 24 hours preferably just before or soon after debriefing sessions.
- You can expand your notes on a separate page but always cross reference expanded material with original material.
- While debriefing with facilitators â€“
- Preferably organize a debrief the same day
- Discuss the main themes that emerged
- Check if any information contradicts with earlier FGDs
- Share any significant observations that might not emerge from the Notes such as group dynamics, individual behaviours etc.
- Problems faced while recording information e.g. multiple questions/answers
- Issues that need further probing/follow up
- Things to improve during the next FGD
The questions are the same for men and women, but may be asked in separate FGDs with men and women groups.
- What do you produce – discuss all commodities (crops, livestock products) with due attention to seasonal differences. Have the yields (quantity) changed in the past 10 years? How much (more or less) and why?
- What are the main reasons for you to produce these commodities? Make a list of commodity-wise reasons.
- Who decides what to produce? (Please probe to get a thorough understanding about the dynamics around production related decision-making in the household. Discuss in the group how the role of men and women varies between households. Discuss what the positive and negative aspects of differences are in the roles of men and women).
- Which produce/commodities do you sell? What do you keep for consumption? What are the main reasons to decide what to sell and what to eat? Who decides this? (Try to find out how we can stimulate people to eat their nutritious food, and not sell it).
- Who decides how income through sale of agricultural commodities is used? Why? If not for food, what is the money mainly used for?
- For which commodities would you like to increase production? Why? What are the barriers for doing so at present?
- How many people grow more fruit and vegetables in the community? (In your opinion why do you think they grow more fruits and vegetables, as compared to others?) Same questions for: fish, chicken/ eggs, goats, cattle.
- What type of food/vegetables grows in the wild â€“ in and around the village? When/which time of the year? Who collects those foods/vegetables? What are the barriers /incentives to collect such food/vegetables?
Data related to average yields, average land size, cropping patterns, ownership should be obtained from secondary data.
List all the commodities/products that people mention in a table on a flipchart, and record quantities using matrix ranking (divide 10 stones into the three categories) earmarked for selling, consumption or both, for each commodity.
Agricultural products Sales Own consumption Who decides (men/women)? Maize XXXXXXXX XX M Vegetables - XXXXXXXXXX F Cassava XXX XXXXXXXX M Reasons for producing particular crops Main crop Remarks Input availability all Very important, seeds in short supply Market price beans Knowledge available all Subsidies available maize Tradition All except soy (=new crop) Nutritional value eggs Only when ill Otheru0085u0085..
- What do you generally eat? When (seasonal variation), how often/much and what are the reasons to eat more or less?
- How have consumption patterns changed in the past 10 years? Why? If not, why not?
- Who makes decisions in the household about what is eaten and who eats what? (Please probe to get a full understanding of food allocation patterns – who eats more of what, how this is decided and discussed in the group, how this varies between households).
- Who is responsible for buying food in the household? What kind of food is mainly bought? Why this food? (Please probe to get an full understanding of what are main the main reasons that affect peoplesâ€™ food buying choices).
- Who is responsible for preparing food? How is it decided which food is to be prepared? How is it decided how much food is to be cooked? How often is food cooked? How do reactions of (other) household members influence these decisions?
- Who is responsible for feeding the children in the household?
- Who else is involved of taking care of the children?
- Are there differences between household members in what they eat or how much/often they eat? What are the differences, why?
What do you generally eat? How often/much? Reasons to eat more of it Reasons to eat less of it Maize 2-3 times a day available Hunger season Eggs 1-2 times a month Illness/festival mango Jan-Feb daily seasonal Seasonal
- Which foods do you consider as good nutritious food? Why?
- Why do you think it is important to eat nutritious food?
- Do you think that people in the household have different needs for food? Who, what kind of food?
- Is there differences in the community between people in how nutritious they eat? Why? If yes, who eats more nutritious, what and why?
- What are the main reasons/opportunities for people to be able to eat nutritious food?
- What are the main reasons for nutritious foods not being available and/or not being consumed? (Ask probing questions based on earlier answers: e.g. if people sell most of the nutritious food produced – what would be a reason for some people not to sell and feed their children? What are main reasons for people to eat fruit and vegetables?)
- Do you think the children in the community are well-nourished? What is good in their food and what is lacking?
- What can be done to improve nutrition? What would help you most to do be able to improve the present nutrition situation?