- Instructions to present collected data, to gain further insights into the root causes of under-nutrition and to create a shared understanding of community issues
The purpose of this step is to share and validate the findings of mapping exercises (Steps 1 to 4) with the community. The consultations are an opportunity for the facilitation team together with community members to understand the concept of under-nutrition, its multiple direct as well as indirect causes, and how they are related to peopleâ€™s livelihoods. This step should eventually form the basis for joint intervention planning and implementation.
There are several ways/methods to analyse data along with community members as long as it helps them to visualize and appreciate the interconnections between activities and effects in a dynamic, non-linear way, and to assess the relative importance of different causes. PRA (participatory rural appraisal) techniques such as â€˜problem treesâ€™ or â€˜causal diagramsâ€™ to define problems and establish the root-causes of those problems – are useful visual methods for such purposes. Such methods help communities to reflect on their situation and consider the effects of some of their actions and activities.
Time required: approx.3 hours
- Introduce the method; explain the purpose of the exercise to the group of community representatives. It is important that participants understand that the purpose of the exercise is not only to validate findings or provide more information to the facilitators but also to deepen their own understanding of the issues concerning under-nutrition.
- Create the problem tree either on a flipchart or on the ground so that everybody can see it. Make sure that there is enough space to hold discussions without disturbance as well as wall space to display at least two large sheets of paper: one for the problem tree, one for the solution tree. These sheets should be set-up before the beginning of the session.
- Identify all problems related to under-nutrition â€“ make an inventory of all problems perceived by the community representatives (also add if not mentioned);
- Establish a cause-effect hierarchy between the problems â€“ putting them on cards helps to visualise the relationship between the problems. Each stated problem is preceded by the problem(s) which cause(s) it, and followed by the problem it causes itself e.g. women cannot grow enough vegetables to generate surplus for sale, because they do not have access to inputs; therefore they have no/ limited money to buy other food items from the market.
- Some more tips to formulate causes/ problems for the under-nutrition tree:
-no big or vague concepts e.g. stating that there is no infrastructure
-no absent solutions, e.g. one often stated cause of under-nutrition is lack of nutrition education whereas the real reason is ignorance about proper feeding practices. Ignorance can be reduced by nutrition education but is not being done at the moment. Here nutrition education becomes an absent solution â€“ a solution that does not exist at the moment.
-no non-existing problems, e.g. no existence of NGOs
-no opinions or interpretations, e.g. the government is lazy
- Give everyone a chance to express the problems they experience. As a facilitator, seek clarification and encourage debate and discussion on every problem. Challenge the group if you have heard anything that is contradicting the groupâ€™s opinions during earlier data collection steps.
- Cluster the problems by domain – agriculture related, gender related, nutrition/health related and WASH related. Remove duplicates â€“ sometimes people use different words to say the same thing â€“ take time to discuss and arrive at consensus. For example, if the problem mentioned is: â€˜Our family income is not sufficientâ€™, for a woman it could mean that she cannot buy vegetables and meat, whereas for the man this could mean that he is not satisfied about the yields.
- Include not only expected, but also unintended effects. Consider not only activities, but also peopleâ€™s coping strategies, external factors and other projects that influence the core issue.
- Review the under-nutrition problem tree to ensure that the logic is clear to all. You can even draw arrows between cards to make the causal links clear.
- The next step is to discuss potential strategies/solutions to tackle identified problems and their causes. At first, convert each negative problem statement into a positive solution card (you might need to add cards specifying more detailed interventions required to achieve the solutions). While choosing a solution, ensure that it is realistic and based on the priorities of all community members with due attention to gender and social aspects and likelihood of success in contributing to improved nutrition.
- Once the tree/diagram is complete, enter into a discussion about the different causes, and what did they learn from the exercise. Ask them: What lessons can be drawn from the diagram? What action would they like to take? Focus on the solutions: What do they want to/can do in the short-term to bring about more change? What do they want to achieve in the mid-term?
Tips for ensuring inclusiveness and improving womenâ€™s participation
- It is sometimes difficult to decide when to stop adding to the diagram as a large number of connections are usually possible. If time is limited, try to concentrate on an important issue and only add what is critical to our topic;
- Sometimes existing interventions have worked differently for different people/groups e.g. some might have benefited from a new road, others live too far away to take advantage of the road; or the year was better for men or for women, for fishermen or for farmers â€“ in such cases, make note of the reasons for those differences;
- Conducting this exercise with the entire community can be a challenge â€“ it is important to ensure that those who are likely to be affected by and involved in implementing the decisions of the group are included in the final decision-making;
- Likewise, make sure that participants feel comfortable expressing their views and ideas and are contributing to the discussion and decision-making;
- While facilitating, pay attention to who has the power to make the final decision and whether all groups (men, women, children and other sub-groups) and all views are taken into account while making final decisions.
- If facilitating a mixed group, you might need to make special efforts to give women confidence to contribute â€“ e.g. direct questions to women about their opinions and interests, have women-only breakout groups to create an environment of trust for women to speak out, speak with them personally, give pep talks about the value of getting diverse perspectives, use drawings to address literacy or educational barriers that might prevent women (especially older women) from communicating and participating, adapt meetings/ activities around womenâ€™s schedules.
- Set agreed-upon rules for group engagement, such as agreeing that members will not â€˜put each other downâ€™ or dismiss othersâ€™ input.
- Increasing gender equity is not just about getting more women to meetings; understanding menâ€™s and womenâ€™s perceptions, values and activities in a culturally sensitive and open way can be a first step to addressing gender.