To present a step by step guide to planning and implementing a PRCA and a baseline study in the field.
At the end of this chapter you will be able to:
1. Prepare for a field PRCA and baseline study.
2. Discover essential information with a community using PRCA and baseline study.
3. Analyse, synthesise and present PRCA and baseline study findings.
4. Prepare for the next steps.
Identify and define the crucial issues as determined by the community, organisation or project requesting the PRCA.
"This first step provides the framework for setting the focus of the appraisal because PRCA is never conducted in a vacuum. PRCA is always implemented as a basis for the design of a communication strategy to address crucial issues that need attention.
Crucial issues are often related to undesired situations that need to be improved, problems that require solutions, people's needs that should be met and ideals that the people desire to attain in order to improve their livelihood. These in turn are frequently connected to communities' problems and needs related to agriculture, food supply and nutrition; health; education; drinking water supply and sanitation; poverty and improved sources of income and good governance.
To better understand the crucial issues, you may need to do the following:
Consult and interview the decision-makers or officials of the organisation or community requesting the PRCA to identify their interests, plans and policy related to the crucial issues under consideration. The list below identifies some of the key actors to be consulted at this stage:
- Government policy makers;
- Community decision makers;
- Decision-makers in agencies and institutions related to the crucial issues;
- Project managers and staff
- Subject-matter specialists
- Field development workers and extension staff
Collect and review the following published and unpublished documents related to the critical issues in order to obtain background information:
- Policy documents related to the development issue or the project objectives;
- Documents outlining the goals and activities of the community or agency requesting the PRCA
- Project documents and reports,
- Materials related to the subject-matter under investigation,
- Documents on technical topics related to the critical issue,
- Reports of previous research studies conducted on the critical issues.
Consult secondary data sources like the ones listed below to augment information you gathered:
- Statistical centres
- Media centres e.g. radio/TV libraries
- Provincial/district offices
Compile all the relevant information you collected from the sources above as a background document for your proposal and eventually for the appraisal report.
Using the worksheet provided below analyse the crucial issues as presented by the project or organisation requesting the PRCA in order to define a preliminary framework for the PRCA. (The worksheet is designed for a PRCA sponsored by an on-going project but can be adapted for a PRCA requested by any community or institution).
The following SAF components are the minimum that must be determined at this stage:
(Refer to Chapter 2 for descriptions of the components).
- Development problem
- Project goal
- Main problems
- Project objectives
- Project stakeholders
- Project perceptions of the problem (Problem tree)
Worksheet 1 - Preliminary assessment of the situation (before the PRCA)
Project Perceptions (Problem Tree)
Define the PRCA purpose as a fairly broad statement that describes the general focus of interest and intended outcomes of the appraisal. This is done in order to help you to outline the general direction of the study. However, it should not state what should be done in order to achieve the outcomes.
You get your PRCA purpose from the results of the preliminary assessment of the situation, especially the initial analysis of the problem as described by the organisation requesting the appraisal. It is advisable to consider this as a preliminary statement of purpose because later on a refinement might become necessary once you get to know the specific communities that will participate in the PRCA.
Your PRCA purpose must reflect how the results of the study will be used and the types of information that are of particular importance.
Examples of PRCA purposes:
(i) The four-week PRCA in three districts of Malawi aims to identify the appropriate communication systems and approaches to enhance the capacity of all stakeholders to articulate and share their views, needs, problems and capabilities in order to decide on actions for more sustainable community livelihood and food security programmes.
(ii) The two-week PRCA in Nzongomane District, Swaziland, aims to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and information between the project and the community on the food availability patterns of the area and related communication issues in order to plan a communication programme.
Use the results of the situation analysis, especially the preliminary research purpose, to select the general geographic areas where the critical issue is of major concern and select communities to participate in the PRCA from them.
Use the following criteria for your selection:
POSSIBILITY OF A DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME:
Select communities where there is a likelihood of a concrete response to the needs the people will express during the PRCA.
Select communities that are socially, culturally and economically typical of most of the communities in the district or province.
SEVERITY OF PROBLEM:
Select communities in which the problems are severe. (For on-going projects, the problem tree will help you determine the main problems and select the areas where they are severe).
SHORTAGE OF PROJECTS OR DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES:
Select communities without too many development projects.
REMOTENESS FROM RESOURCES:
Select communities without such resources as network of tarred roads, health facilities, clean water and sanitation, etc.
Try to avoid the biases discussed in Chapter 3 during this exercise.
Before you enter the community to carry out a PRCA you ought to have a good picture of what the people of that community are like. To build this picture do the following:
Consult and interview people who are knowledgeable about the communities. Such people can be found in the communities themselves or among staff of district or provincial offices in which the communities are located. These include field development workers and extension staff working with the communities. Find out as much as possible about the people from these sources: their interests and agenda, history, culture and economic life.
Collect and review published and unpublished secondary data on the socio-economic, political, cultural and environmental situation of the selected communities. Secondary data gives preliminary indications of where the people live, their means of livelihood, history, culture and perceptions of the major issues that concern their livelihood.
Identify the traditional and modern systems and networks of communication in the community, the people's leadership structure and their levels of education as reported in the secondary information sources. This initial information about the people, their characteristics, their environment and their development status, enables you to refine the preliminary research purpose, select research sites and participants as well as prepare a methodological guide for the PRCA.
Consult secondary data sources like the ones listed below in order to augment your knowledge of the people and draw a preliminary profile of the communities;
- Provincial/district offices;
- Sociological and anthropological accounts of the people;
- Reports of previous studies about the people related to the issues under consideration;
- Minutes of meetings by civic organisations;
- Survey maps;
- Cinematic documentation;
- Paintings and carvings;
- Discographic information (audio recordings of music and folk tales);
Be ready to get a different picture from the people during the actual PRCA with the community!
Develop a methodological guide for the PRCA, including a checklist of likely critical issues to be investigated with the community and the possible tools and activities to facilitate the investigations. This checklist is also a list of your research questions. Information you have already collected about the critical issues and the community would guide you in this exercise.
In designing the guide for the PRCA, remember that the information collected will be used for designing a communication strategy with and for the community and others whose actions or opinions affect the situation in the community;
In developing your checklist, go from the general to the specific, from the interesting and non-threatening to the delicate and sensitive. Generally, PRCA exercises flow from developing the profile of the community to identifying and analysing the people's NOPS and communication-related issues.
Select possible PRCA tools and techniques to enable you and the community to gather information identified in your checklist in order to achieve the purpose of the appraisal. Your checklist will guide you in selecting relevant tools and techniques for the appraisal. The boxes on pages 111 and 113 give you an idea of what tools and techniques are recommended for collecting what information
Prepare a preliminary plan for the baseline study, which will be incorporated in the research proposal. This plan is based on the information you have so far collected about the critical issues and the checklist of likely crucial areas to be investigated with the study.
Formulate the preliminary study purpose and SMART objectives
Prepare a preliminary justification for the study
Describe the study methodology, including possible sampling methods and sample size, and types of data collection and analysis instruments.
(Refer to Chapter 3: the section on 'What a PRCA should accomplish')
Box 8: A guide for developing PRCA Checklist.
The following categories of questions will guide you in defining this checklist:
Outline the likely categories of information to be collected from the community
Specify resources needed for implementing the study
Develop a workplan for the study preparations and implementation, including who will be responsible for each activity.
(Refer to Chapter 5: Baseline Study in PRCA)
Design a proposal including a workplan and budget for your PRCA and baseline study in the field.
Your proposal should discuss the following essential topics.
- Background and secondary data
- Field communication research objectives
- Research sites
- Information to be collected
- Research Methodologies, including sampling plan
- Itemised budget
- Complete timetable of activities and persons responsible
- Name and address of contact person.
The following table will guide you in developing a field research proposal:
Worksheet 2 - Organisation and management worksheet for field research
Inputs (incl. est. budget)
Use the topics in the boxes above as a framework for describing your proposal in a narrative format.
As you develop your research proposal, define the research objectives and the outputs needed to achieve them. Outputs are usually the written reports of the field findings. The activities are those essential things that need to be done in order to implement the PRCA and the baseline study. The inputs are the human resources and materials needed to carry out the activities effectively (for example, DSA, transportation, funds for petrol, flipcharts and pens).
See the PRCA Toolbox for an example of a communication research proposal outline for an ongoing project. Adapt it for your own purposes.
Box 9: Purposes of a communication research proposal.
A communication research proposal serves several purposes:
Hold preliminary discussions on the aims, process and logistics of the appraisal with all the relevant state, provincial and district authorities as well as representatives of the selected communities.
Hold discussions with the leaders and representatives of the selected communities to clarify the purpose of the appraisal and to seek their advice on the best period of the year for the appraisal. Let them also advise you on the most convenient time and location for meetings with the people during the appraisal. Obtain the commitment of local leaders and a wide cross section of the community.
Inform the communities of your arrival dates well in advance and as the time for the appraisal approaches remind the relevant provincial and district authorities as well as representatives of the selected communities that you will soon arrive in their area for the PRCA.
Arrange for your accommodation and feeding before you go into the field. It is recommended that you stay with the community as long as the people do not see it as an inconvenience.
Identify development agencies and institutions operating in sectors which might be related to the critical issues of concern;
Approach such organisations and institutions and discuss the proposed PRCA with them and seek their cooperation;
Box 10: Community problems often have many causes.
From field experience, it has been observed that problems of the community have causes that often cut across different development sectors. This means that if you go into the community with just your sector focus, causes of the problem related to your sector might end up coming from other sectors. For instance a PRCA which went in to address increasing soil infertility in a community found out that one of the causes of land exhaustion was over-cultivation. This in turn, according to the villagers, was partly caused by the increasing population of the community. Already you can notice that the study that started with land use problems as the focus has gradually shifted into family planning.
All arrangements with the communities ideally should be completed at least two weeks before the team enters the community.
Move into the community and live with the people. If for any reason this is not possible, arrange to be as close as possible to the people. In fact try to stay close enough for you to be able to participate in and observe the people's normal daily living patterns.
When you move into a community to conduct PRCA, it is normal for the people to wonder who you are and what you are doing in their community. The people will listen to you and watch your behaviour, and no matter what you say, will try to ascribe a description to you from their own frame of reference. It is not unusual for your presence to create confusion and to initially generate caution and suspicion among the community members. This is because the people are still not very certain of why you are in their community. A hint of distrust might still linger in the people's minds despite your initial meetings with them.
Often the people will judge you on how you conduct yourself on a daily basis rather than on any explanations you might offer them about your presence in the community. As time goes on you will be accepted, at least by some of the people in the community as they decide that you are harmless to them and that you are genuinely interested in learning and sharing knowledge with them. It is always a good idea to find out later how people in the community initially interpreted your presence amongst them.
To build trust and establish rapport with the community:
Immediately on arrival in the community, honestly and directly explain who you are and why you are in the community in a way that makes sense to the people.
Tell the people of other studies that have taken place in communities similar to theirs in the country and elsewhere and point out the benefits of such studies.
Find out the people's customs in relation to strangers and strive to abide by them.
Box 11: Vilagers might still distrust you despite your initial efforts to build trust and rapport: A Zambian example.
Despite pre-research information sent to the community through various channels, there was still a high degree of initial suspicion of the PRCA team by the community as they moved into the village. The fact that the team lived in the village with the people for the entire research period did not mitigate this initial caution and anxiety on the part of the villagers. As far as the community was concerned, the humility, attention and readiness to dialogue exhibited by the team was unprecedented and therefore meant that there was an ulterior motive on the part of the team. The community was of the opinion that the team was a survey party sent in by some agency interested in acquiring their land and relocating the community.
Reasons for this apprehension were not difficult to find. First, most of the discussions between the team and the community revolved around the people's crop fields, their uses and problems encountered. Second, the people were used to teams coming to teach them without listening to their problems or to shove pre-formulated projects at them without consulting the community. The community therefore saw the team's humility and readiness to dialogue as something suspicious.
However, the team persisted in their efforts to win the confidence of the community through consultation with the influential persons in the community and social interactions with the people after hours.
Begin your PRCA sessions with exciting activities that warm up participants and break down the barriers of inhibition and shyness they might have thereby putting them in the right mood for the exercise.
Use team-building exercises to put the people and the PRCA team in a co-operative frame of mind so that open discussions can take place.
Introduce exercises that promote creativity and expressiveness among the people during the PRCA.
Discuss the objectives, schedule and process of the appraisal with the people to ensure that the PRCA activities are relevant to the realities of the participants and fit into their daily programme. Go with the people's suggestions and do not impose your own schedule on them because the people know the appropriate days and time when it is best to meet.
Assist the community to develop the rules and regulations that should guide the appraisal. These are the 'Rules of the Game' and they allow all parties to participate in the decision on how the PRCA should be conducted. The rules help to keep PRCA activities and discussions focused and productive.
Assist the community to appoint an appraisal committee comprising of a chairperson, welfare officer and secretary. Help the people to identify the duties of this committee. Generally, the committee represents the community at the various meetings of the PRCA team. They also ensure that the PRCA activities are done on time and in an orderly manner.
(See the toolbox for suggested exercises for starting your PRCA)
SEGMENT THE COMMUNITY FOR PRCA ACTIVITIES
Find out from the people the best ways of ensuring that all segments of the community are interacted with during the PRCA.
Use gender, age and any other criteria suggested by the community to segment the people.
Hold the PRCA activities in the groups that emerge as a result of the segmentation. This has some advantages as you can see from the short report in the box.
Keep all the various groups busy and interested. There should be enough tools to keep every one involved in the appraisal.
Box 12: Segmentation
In a PRCA exercise in Namibia, separating the community by gender was discovered to be advantageous to the women:
...During the PRCA women demanded to hold their discussions separate from men. In their own group, we discovered that female farmers can air opinions on issues we did not even know about or we thought were too sensitive for the extension workers to bring up during meetings. For instance, female farmers, prompted by revelations of their Daily Activity Calendar, raised and discussed issues concerning the imbalance in the gender division of labour in the community. The women also discussed other sensitive issues such as the question of male drunkenness during the farming season.
CONDUCTING PRCA ACTIVITIES
Begin the PRCA information gathering exercise, especially on the first day, with tools that people will find exciting and not threatening.
Hand over the stick to the people as soon as possible. You are in the community as a facilitator and your job is to start the exercise. When you see that the people are comfortable with the activities you should withdraw and become a participant observer. You should therefore hand over the control of the exercise to the community.
Ensure that no one section or person in the community dominates the exercise. Normally, in every group, there are persons who dominate the proceedings because of their status or role in the community or their personality. There are also people whose presence in a group stifles the free flow of information. Take this category of persons 'for a walk' to make it possible for the other members of the group to express themselves too.
If any of the dominant figures seems to have specialised information, arrange for him/her to be taken for an in-depth interview to discover the special knowledge as well as keep him/her away from the group.
As the PRCA progresses, throw in games and exercises, known as energisers to act as interludes between activities and prevent or cure the following:
- Waning creativity
- Lack of participation
- Information overload.
Discuss the appropriateness of the energisers with the community. They MUST be culturally appropriate to generate the right effect.
Encourage the community to suggest their own energisers, such as local games, dances or songs.
RECORD THE PRCA PROCEEDINGS
Capture the PRCA in photographs, audio and video recordings because such audio-visual documentation of the community provides a very important reference and authentic sound effects for use in communication materials production. They also provide an added credence to presentations of the PRCA findings to government or donor agency officials.
Obtain the permission of the community before you begin any recording.
Recording must be done discreetly so that it does not distract the people from their PRCA activities.
If it is possible go into the field with a video play back unit and show the footage of the day's shooting to the people in the evenings. Community members are excited when they see themselves on video.
Copies of all audio-visual materials must be made available to the communityappropriate to generate the right effect.
HOLD DAILY REFLECTIONS
On a daily basis, after the day's work or first thing in the morning before the next PRCA activity with the community, the PRCA team must hold a meeting to discuss how are we doing? The purpose of these meetings is to enable the PRCA team to reflect on the information that has been collected for the day, compare it with information collected earlier in order to ensure that the research questions on the proposal are being answered.
During the daily reflections, the team should decide whether some issues already discussed have been exhausted or whether they should be discussed further. These daily meetings are mini planning sessions where the activities for the next day are reviewed and any necessary adjustments made.
The community appraisal committee should also attend these meetings.
Box 13: Characteristics of a good PRCA facilitator.
A good facilitator tries to understand the community's point of view and perceptions no matter how different they may be from hers. The facilitator does not push the community into discussing her own agenda but is alert to spot any potential entry point that might lead to the purpose of the PRCA.
Sharing is one of the most important pillars of PRCA. A good facilitator encourages exchange of experiences, information and knowledge among the people themselves, between the team and the people, and between the people and outside institutions and organisations.
The facilitator can accomplish this by helping to make invisible people and concealed knowledge become visible. She ensures that the stick is passed on from hand to hand.
In PRCA, the people are the teachers and the team members are the learners. A good facilitator ensures that these roles are maintained throughout the appraisal. It is difficult to maintain this reversal of roles. But with humility on the part of PRCA team members, it is possible. As a learner the facilitator should not think that her own knowledge is better than the people's local knowledge. Do not underestimate local knowledge. Seek them out because solutions to a problem you are trying to solve may already be available in the community.
A good facilitator is flexible and open-minded but takes advantage of new information and interpretations to keep PRCA focused on the objectives.
A good facilitator does not talk too much but listens attentively and asks questions in order to capture the meaning and implications of what the people are saying. Remember the mouth is not a listening organ and if you are talking, you can't listen. Talk less and listen more. Use your eyes to carry out direct observation because they can pick up different signals from the ears. A good facilitator keeps a record of people's comments about their experiences and makes notes of the vocabulary the people use for such explanations.
A good facilitator is not satisfied with the first level of information or answers she gets from the people. She crosschecks such information through triangulation by repeating the same questions to different people at different times and in different forms. She uses one tool to collect the information and uses other tools to verify them. A good facilitator makes linkages among the different kinds of information received from different sources. A good facilitator does not rely only on what is said or what happened. She is aware that what didn't happen is often just as important as what did happen and what people don't say is often just as important as what they actually do say.
READINESS TO BE SURPRISED:
A good facilitator does not go into the field with assumptions and judgement about the people. She is ready to encounter new realities and seeks to understand them from the people's perspective.
Use your best judgement because common sense can be a great guide to a facilitator.
DISCOVER THE COMMUNITY AND DRAW ITS PROFILE
Using various PRCA tools you and the different groups in the community can describe the socio-economic and environmental situation of the community as seen by the people. Table 13 outlines the basic information needed for designing a community profile and the suggested tools and techniques for discovering them. Revisit Chapter 3: the section on 'What a PRCA should accomplish' for more detailed descriptions of the categories of information listed below. Go to the toolbox for instructions on how to use the suggested tools and techniques.
IDENTIFY AND ANALYSE THE INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION RESOURCES, NETWORKS AND SYSTEMS OF THE COMMUNITY
Use Table 14 as a guide to determine the information and communication resources, networks and systems within the community. Identify the types of information each network normally carries.
Table 13: Information for drawing community profile.
General socio-economic and environmental situation
Suggested tools and techniques
The geography of the community (Spatial
History of the community
Seasonal trends e.g.
Social composition of the community
Chapati or Venn diagramming
Community leadership and power structure:
Economy of Community
Group relationship patterns in the community
Seasonal Activity Calendar
Culture of the community
Patterns of community access and control of
Access and control profile
Past experiences of community with development projects and
Focus Group Discussion
Current people-initiated development efforts and outside development agencies/projects in the community
Focus Group Discussion
Discover the community's perceptions of their needs, opportunities, problems and solutions
Identify the community perceptions of their needs, opportunities, problems and solutions as well as their strengths, weaknesses and fears in relation to the critical issues.
As each of the PRCA tools is used, the community identifies and discusses issues regarding the NOPS inherent in information collected.
Use focus group discussions (FGDs) and brainstorming for NOPS identification.
Since many NOPS will be revealed in the course of a PRCA, use such tools as pair wise ranking and closed or open scoring to prioritise the NOPS and identify the main problems.
Develop a problem tree with the community to analyse the causes and effects of the main problems.
From the problem tree select the focal problems. These are the entry points for the communication strategy.
(Refer to Chapter 2 for instructions on how to identify the focal problems using the problem tree)
Identify priority interaction groups
Identify the groups in the community who experience the identified focal problems and people who are potentially in a position to assist in some way in the solution of the problem or provide for the need.
Also define as interaction groups development project staff who work with the community on issues related to the identified problems as well as institutions outside the community that have skills, resources, influence or knowledge to assist in the solution of the problems or provision of the needs. These are often development project managers, technical experts and policy-makers. These are your priority interaction groups. The PRCA must now try to interact with these groups in a more in-depth manner.
Table 14: Guideline for discovering community information sources.
Information and communication resource
Suggested Tools and Techniques
Internal distribution of modern and traditional communication resources in community e.g. radios, literacy patterns, meeting grounds, training centres, dance groups, associations, initiation groups, extension staff and other influential people and institutions in the community. Identify their attributes (e.g. reliability, accessibility etc.), and level of importance to community.
Communication resource map
Information sources from outside the
Box 14a: What is segmentation.
Segmentation is the art of grouping together people and institutions within and outside the community on the basis of their relationship to the identified community NOPS: Who has the problem or need? Who knows about the problem or need? Who is interested in the problem and need? Who is causing the problem? Who knows about solutions and opportunities? Who has skills and resources to solve the problems or provide for the need? Through segmentation, internal and external interaction groups are identified.
During PRCA, the divisions within the community in relation to the NOPS become more obvious. This helps to divide the people into more meaningful groups, define their characteristics and design communication strategies that are relevant to them. Information collected about the NOPS and the Socio-economic and Environmental situation of the community provide the basis for identifying the groups who are most seriously affected by the current status of the community or variability in the people's circumstances.
Box 14b: Segmentation according to criteria dictated by community structure: A Tanzanian example.
It has been traditionally believed that Masai men are the ones who take care of cattle and other livestock. Masai women have been seen as playing a very peripheral role in livestock care and usage. The PRCA among the Masai of Longido District of United Republic of Tanzania revealed the contrary. Through development of 'Activity Profiles' by gender, it was discovered that in actual fact, women spend more time with livestock than men.
The Masai themselves guided the PRCA meetings. Instead of asking them to come to specific venues, as often happens when outsiders come into this society, the PRCA team followed the people to their work places. These were later discovered to be their conventional meeting venues. This led to a segmentation of the group initially by gender and later, within the gender groups by age. The PRCA team observed that when livestock is taken out of the Boma (kraal), where women really dominate in its care, it is taken care of by different age groups depending on the age of the animals. Participation in discussion of the animals was dependent on this aspect. In other words, any discussion of calves and their problems was left to young children, whereas discussion of older animals was being done by the Morans (the youth). Elders participated more actively in discussions pertaining to ownership and movement of the animals.
It was observed that these groups actually moved in and out of the meeting dependent on what age or type of animal being discussed. For instance, if the discussion was on calves, it was observed that the Morans left the meeting to do other chores in the vicinity while the young children remained to talk about the calves. Once discussion reverted to the older animals, the Morans returned and dominated the discussion. Although the elders were not moving in and out of the meetings, it was observed that they did not participate when the young children or the Morans were at the centre of the discussion. During these discussions, most elders seem to doze off as if they were not interested in what was being discussed. However, whenever the discussion concerned them, they got up and rejoined the meeting.
While it was easier to notice the way age played a critical role in participation of men in discussions, it was not so clearly defined amongst the females. Since most girls are married early in life, it seems most discussions amongst Masai women were being dominated by younger women than the elderly ones even as the latter were always present during meetings (Kamlongera, 1997).
Segment the interaction groups and define their characteristics and their perceptions of the problems and issues under discussion.
Segment your selected interaction groups and paint their portraits by describing their characteristics. The list below can be a starting point for this activity. The groups can be described in terms of the following:
- Culture: religion, beliefs, values, labels, vocabulary, categories used by potential interaction groups for discussing the issues;
- Socio-economic status: wealth/poverty, class, and caste;
- Educational background;
- Psychographics of potential interaction groups: fears, hopes, motivating factors etc.;
- Influential sources of information and advice;
- Marital status;
- Position on the problem-solution ladder:
Is the group aware of the problems and solutions? If yes:
How does the group perceive and define the problems, solutions and needs?
Does the group and the development agency have the same or different perceptions of the issues?
What is the level of the groups' interest and attitude towards the problem and solution?
What are the groups' beliefs, knowledge, skills and practices in relation to the problems and solutions?
For each of these questions find out why.
Define the information and communication resources, systems and network of the priority interaction groups
Define patterns of communication within the groups.
Identify with the groups those in the community and outside who have a particularly strong influence on their behaviour. These people are known as influential sources of advice or role models. Outline why the group prefers them. Find out from the group whether such sources are reliable, timely, easily accessible, knowledgeable, respectable etc. Any sources of information/advice you eventually select for passing on development messages to your priority interaction group must be seen to have these attributes.
Identify the information and communication resources both modern and traditional accessible to the interaction group. These should range from cultural/religious events, rituals, art, drawings, stories, dances, songs, drama, to audio-visual and print media. Identify the ones most preferred by the groups and find out why.
PRCA results should give you a comprehensive picture of the various groups in the community affected by the identified focal problems. The results must contain the perceptions of the groups about who they are, how they view their needs and problems as well as reveal their strengths, knowledge, opportunities, beliefs and practices in relation to the critical issues under discussion. In addition, the results must provide answers to such questions as:
- Whose problems or needs are being revealed?
- What are the causes of the problem?
- Who is causing the problem?
- Why is that happening?
- Which of the identified factors can be turned into an opportunity?
- Which causes are most significant?
- Which causes can be the most effective communication entry point?
The results must identify the communication issues related to the problems and needs of the priority interaction groups and show how the people communicate within their community and their main sources of information from outside.
In your PRCA report, all these elements should be carefully highlighted since they will form the basis upon which to refine the baseline questionnaire and subsequently, plan the communication strategy. The diagram in p. 50 gives you an idea of the uses of PRCA results.
Start the analysis of the PRCA results by striving to gain a more in-depth understanding of any information community groups present in plenary after working with each PRCA tool. This helps you to discover hidden information and to find out what the community groups think about the tools they used. For example, probe to find out why the group is highlighting certain issues and not others. Ask such questions as why a group showed the traditional healer's hut in their social map but did not indicate the clinic. Answers to such probing are very revealing.
Encourage the community members to reflect on information being presented and to voice their own opinions.
Be alert to any discussions or controversy the information being presented might generate among the community members themselves. Such exchanges can show where the community as a whole does not agree. They can also indicate to you that some members of the community do not want that particular information revealed.
Document this process as part of your PRCA findings.
The PRCA team and members of the community appraisal committee must hold daily meetings to reflect on the day's activities and findings.
Ensure that the information collected during the day are relevant to your PRCA proposal, especially the checklist and the research questions. This will help you weed out the 'unnecessary' information and retain only that needed to answer your research questions most vividly.
Remember that each individual tool can provide lots of data but you should concentrate on data that are relevant to the research proposal. At the same time you should be careful not to disregard or reject data that may become relevant at a later stage. During the research process you should cast your net as wide as possible in order to ensure that as many relevant causes of the problems are gathered.
Compare information collected during the day with information collected earlier in order to ensure that the research questions on the discussion guide are being answered in increasing detail.
Do your Windows of Perceptions: Compare your assumptions with the information coming out of the PRCA and note the differences and similarities.
Decide whether some issues already discussed have been exhausted or whether they should be discussed further.
Start discussions on the possible effects of the emerging PRCA findings on the baseline plan.
Discuss the communication implications and uses of the information being revealed.
Review the plan of activities for the next day and make any necessary adjustments to collect any missing information.
This is an important exercise that takes place at the end of the appraisal period.
Hold a discussion with the community appraisal committee to review and synthesise the results collected from all the other analysis exercises.
Evaluate the findings and the PRCA tools and techniques used for their collection.
Formulate the diagrams and tables for organising and presenting the findings.
Assign the tasks of preparing and presenting the findings to the PRCA team and community appraisal committee members.
Discuss the final output and make the necessary changes if needed.
Begin to use the findings to focus and refine the baseline plan.
This is also known as the summative community analysis process.
Present the results of the summative analysis to the community.
Sit together with the people and talk about what you have found out and discuss what should be the next line of action.
Be ready to be corrected by the community.
(Refer to Chapter 5: Baseline Study in PRCA)
After the report back to the community discuss the rationale and logistics of the baseline study with the community and select the households and persons to participate in the exercise.
Check the preliminary purpose, justification and objectives of the study you set earlier on during the PRCA preparation stage to verify if they are still relevant in view of the findings of the appraisal. Make any necessary adjustments.
Use the findings of the PRCA to prepare a refined questionnaire for the baseline study.
Translate the questionnaire into the local language.
Select about ten people from the community and pretest the refined and translated questionnaire with them to ensure that the questions are understandable and appropriate. The pretest should not be done with people who will participate in the actual study.
Locate the people in the sample and administer the questionnaire to them.
After each day hold a meeting to ensure that the study is progressing satisfactorily.
Record data on a daily basis.
Use the objectives of the study and the specific questions in the questionnaire as the basis for the analysis.
What percentage of the respondents answered each question and in what manner?
Synthesise your PRCA and Baseline results so that each explains the other or brings out any contradictions.
See below for a suggested format for you report.
1. Table of contents
- Who paid for the study?
- Who participated in the arrangements for the study?
- Who provided information during the study?
- Who conducted the study?
3. The Executive Summary
(Not more than one and a half pages)
- Summary of study background and purpose
- Summary of the major findings and their significance
- Summary of the recommendations
- Structure of the report
4. The Introduction
- Background to the study: purpose and justification
- Background information: secondary data (e.g. history of village, characteristics of population, other researches and development efforts related to study purpose. Include maps and pictures if possible
- Study design, sampling procedures, research methods, tools and techniques used and how the data was analysed
- Practical problems or limitations encountered
- Reliability of results
- Where and when the study was conducted
6. Presentation of findings
- Findings of PRCA and baseline study presented as answers to research questions in the proposal
- Tables, graphs, Pie charts, Bars, Histograms, Scatter diagrams, photographs etc. with explanations to visualise findings
- Implications of findings to the purpose of the study
- The communication implications of the findings
7. Conclusions and recommendations
- Summary of major findings and their significance
- Lessons learnt
- Next line of action for the project or development programme
- Suggestions for communication action
- Suggestions on how to improve the research methodology
- Books and publications you consulted
9. List of abbreviations and their explanations
Present your PRCA and Baseline study findings
Define the various audiences for your presentations. Important potential audiences for your presentations include the management of agencies who funded the study.
Think through how you can adjust each presentation to win the sympathy and understanding of each of the audiences.
Present your findings in a persuasive and effective manner.
Use tables, graphs, anecdotes (or real quotations from respondents) and charts to clarify your findings. Depending on the audience you can also add emphasis and punch by using audiovisual presentations in the form of video, photographs, or even drama.
Explain how you obtained the information, which tools you used and why.
Explain the role of the community. It is important to show that the information came from the community through the use of a number of tools designed to unleash their knowledge and perceptions.
When the veracity or truthfulness of your findings is questioned during presentations, defend them in a diplomatic but emphatic manner with information in your possession.
Your PRCA and baseline study findings are the bases for the design of appropriate communication strategies, activities, materials and media to address specific development challenges identified by the community. In the next phases, you and community will use the study results for designing communication plan of action that will assist in achieving the development objectives selected during the PRCA.
The plan of action known as a communication strategy contains the focal problems to be solved by the communication programme and the priority interaction groups in the community most affected by the problems. It also outlines ways and means for solving the problem including the objectives to be achieved with specific communication modes and approaches such as information, dialogue, motivation, promotion, group mobilisation, training and education. The strategy also outlines financial, material and human resources required for solving the problem. It also contains a management plan that specifies activities and the people responsible for performing them in order to obtain outputs that will contribute to the solution of the problems. To ensure that the programme does not go off track, the study results, especially, the baseline findings, provide measurable indicators for monitoring the implementation of the strategy and serves as benchmark for impact evaluation.
The study findings also define the basic messages, discussion themes and appeals to be packaged for a variety of channels and media during the message design and materials development phases of the communication design process.