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EAF Steps

Consultation tools

Purpose

To elicit greater involvement of local people in the EAF process.

To clarify purpose and objectives of the process.

To present findings or outcomes to the community from completed relevant steps in the EAF process to inform, elicit comments and potentially identify necessary corrections.

Overview

Communities can be called together at the beginning of an EAF planning process in order to explain the purpose of the EAF and elicit support and co-operation. Such meetings are usually the first and most consistent exposure of the project staff to the community as a whole. It may very well be here that the cohesion and trust of the community is gained. In some cases such introductory meetings may be fundamental in order to put people at ease regarding the presence of fishery staff, consultants etc operating within their community.

These are meetings to involve the broader community and stakeholder groups as a whole as opposed to focus groups or some more targeted group. They will usually be more for information delivery than wanting to find out information, which is best done using a workshop.

Even simple meetings require a degree of careful planning to be successful. The appendix outlines the steps that can help to plan a good meeting.

EAF Tool Tips

  • The chairman of the meeting must have enough authority to keep the meeting on track, but enough sensitivity to enable as many people to raise any relevant concerns about completing the EAF process.
  • If there is expected to be a degree of difficulty it may be better to have a more experienced person to manage the meeting and in some cases having an independent person can be useful.
  • Beware of hidden agendas, groups or individuals who might use the meeting to bring up their own, unrelated concerns. The chairman might side-step this by saying, "That's not the purpose of this meeting; you might want to hold another meeting to discuss that issue".
  • Ask how information is relayed around the community. Is it exclusively by word-of-mouth? Are there newspapers? Posters?

EAF Tool Pedigree

Community and stakeholder meetings are one of the most common forms of consultation used in management and other planning processes.

EAF Tool Synergy

A community or stakeholder meeting may be used as a precursor to holding a community or stakeholder workshop.

The PowerPoint presentations available from the EAF presentation tools may assist in undertaking these community meetings.

EAF Tool Usage

Easy

Cost

Low, Moderate

These can be very inexpensive if the meeting is held in a location where most people can get to and the venue doesn’t cost anything or too much. The costs can rise if there is a need to hire a venue and pay for peoples attendance

EAF Tool Capacity

Low – Moderate

The meetings can be chaired by someone with the right personality or level of local community respect if there is not someone with direct experience in chairing such meetings. The more it is likely to be a difficult audience the greater should be the experience of the chairperson.

Background Requirements

Low

These meetings do not require any formal knowledge beforehand. They are generally designed to enlighten people.

Participation

Moderate - High

This is the purpose of this tool. The number of attendees will be a function of the interest, accessibility, timing and size of the venue.

Time Range

Short – Moderate

Meetings can be called and held in a fairly rapid manner if required. But the best meetings are where there is sufficient notice to given to enable people to schedule their attendance.

Source of Information

FAO 2009 Enhancing stakeholder participation in national forest programmes: Tools for practitioners Internet resource
The community's toolbox: The idea, methods and tools for participatory assessment, monitoring and evaluation in community forestry  Internet resource

Appendix

Steps to a good Community Meeting

1. Know what the meeting is to accomplish, from both outsiders' and insiders' perspectives. Obtain the approval and involvement of the local leaders. Be aware of the customs and protocol of the village/community.

2. Prepare a calendar of dates to help check day-to-day preparations.

3. Arrange a convenient time and place for the meeting. Consider the size and composition of the group. Remember that people have different time constraints; women may not be available to attend at the same time as men.

4. After establishing a time when most can attend, let people know about it well in advance.

5. Inform the community or the group of the purpose of the meeting using posters, home visits, public announcements, radio, telephone and/or word of mouth.

6. If people from outside the village/town/community are involved, they may require accommodations and food.

7. If entertainment is planned, ensure that it does not distract from the purpose of the meeting, but lends itself to the topic.

8. Plan/prepare handouts/materials to be distributed. Plan a method of distribution.

9. A community person with experience in meetings, can help facilitate the meeting. Consider that there may be factions of a community (women for example) who are unable or unwilling to speak up. Separate meetings with these people can be held, and their perspectives as a whole brought back to the larger meetings.

 
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