PREPARING PLANS OF ACTION WITH
By the end of this session, field workers will have assisted communities in designing a realistic project and plan of action for home garden and nutrition improvement.
Preparing plans of action with the community
The principles studied in the previous session are now applied in the designing of real-life plans of action for local needs and conditions. Some of the interventions can be planned and implemented by individual households, while others can be done collectively. The option chosen largely depends on what the community members decide to do and how they organize themselves.
Selection of priority issues. Depending on the local potentials and limitations, community members are asked to choose the solutions that they want to implement first and list them in the order of importance. Interventions given equal priority can be placed together on the list.
Preparing the project and work plan. The field workers will then facilitate community discussions and work with the community step by step in the various elements of the plan of action. To facilitate dialogue in preparing the planning of each of the selected interventions, field workers work through the following list of questions with a community group:
Further refinement of the plan. During the process of discussing and responding to the above questions, the community finally decides whether or not a particular solution is realistic, particularly after establishing the cost of the inputs. This enables community members to decide if they can afford the option in the short term or if they will have to wait until they have raised enough resources from within or outside the community.
Follow-up to the development of the community plan of action. After finalizing the community plan of action, each group or person involved or responsible for implementing a particular activity can begin to take action, as indicated in the work plan. The community members need to set up a mechanism for ensuring that activities that involve different sectors and responsibilities (e.g. a cooking demonstration to which the field workers - health workers, home economists and nutritionists in particular - and participating households will be invited, and for which cooking utensils and food items must be on hand) are properly coordinated by the person appointed for this task by the community. The field workers should provide technical support and assist the communities in monitoring progress, using indicators selected by the community to do this.
Evaluation of the field visit and evaluation of the training. At the end of the field visit, field workers evaluate the day's activities and discuss the follow-up action to be taken upon returning to their local communities.
To be effective, plans must be small and manageable
It is better to undertake and complete one activity successfully than to undertake several activities and not complete them. Far too many community projects begin with good intentions, then fail to achieve anything. There are many reasons for this, but a common reason is that the activities planned are too ambitious, do not properly address the real needs and opportunities of the participating households and often require too much from the field worker and the households.
When planning community projects, field workers should therefore aim at small, achievable objectives, outputs and activities that can be carried out within a time frame that is realistic and that suits local requirements. Two objectives for this training course, for example, might be that by the end of the course:
The most effective strategy is to work with the people and resources available
In order to be successful, community projects must be planned together with the households concerned. They also must work within the limits of available resources. Some examples of local resources commonly available are:
PROJECT OUTLINE 2:
PROMOTING A NUTRITIOUS DIET THROUGH NUTRITION EDUCATION AND HOME GARDENING
There is evidence of malnutrition in the village, which threatens the growth and development of the children. The dietary deficiencies are partly because of people's lack of knowledge about the right crops to grow and proper ways to prepare the kinds of nutritious meals that would meet the needs of all household members. Nutrition education for home garden managers and their families would enable people to grow a variety of foods, make better use of existing food sources and prepare nutritious foods for their families.
Improved food production and nutrition through better home garden utilization and nutrition education.
To help 50 households learn about adequate food and nutrition and how to create a nutritious diet using local foods.
The home garden managers and their families have not previously had the opportunity to learn about the importance of growing a variety of foods and eating a nutritious diet. In order to encourage them to diversify home garden production and make better use of locally available foods, field workers organize nutrition education sessions in the communities. The training and education sessions begin with an assessment of what the local people already know about the crops they grow, store, process, prepare and eat. A knowledge, attitude and practices survey will be conducted in order for field workers to gain a better understanding of the local people's cultural beliefs, attitudes about food and food sharing in the household, and their food preferences and restrictions. Based on this information, nutrition education messages and materials can be prepared and disseminated in a variety of settings, including schools, health centres, agricultural extension meetings, markets and village gatherings.
Education sessions will be extremely practical and will emphasize learning by doing. Nutrition education sessions will use pictures, flip charts and local drama, song and dance, and will include demonstrations of simple food preparation and processing techniques and the preparation of new recipes in which all household members can participate.
OUTPUTS AND TARGETS