Brief introduction about my community
Guli rural community is one of the communities in Guli locality (administrative unit) and is the capital of the locality. It locates at the northern side of Kosti and Rabak the capital of the White Nile state. It’s about 45 km far from Kosti urban locality. Guli community consider as a conventional community with an approximate total population of 15,000 individuals representing 10 different ethnic groups. It locates at the west bank of the White Nile River that is closely bordering the community. At the eastern side the community bordered by the new high way road linking /connecting another locality. There are 6 schools (4 primary schools 2 of which for males and 2 for females separately) and 2 secondary schools/high schools one for males and 1 for females. There are also: a clinic and traditional health unit, a mosque, inactive youth center, inactive crafts center and active water station. The community is connected with electricity lines. The major occupation of the population is rain-fed and irrigated agriculture mainly traditional farming with animal husbandry and traditional fishing.
Brief Background of the practicum:
As a finding of the meeting and discussion with the professors on my practicum, a participatory community proposal is decided to be my practicum product. This community participatory proposal will be a learning opportunity for my community to come together and participate in a process of developing a community proposal in the area of livelihood development taking into account crosscutting issues that influence their livelihoods.
The proposal will take a very informative learning, a step-by- step implementation process that starts from awareness raising for the purpose of the practicum and understanding their leading role for the process. The practicum will be conducted in a form of practical actions process with clear community roles in applying actions, confirming evidences of “can do” and documenting results. For instance, meaningful participation of community members in applying the selected research methods in identifying their problems, needs, and exploring actions to be taken and to some extend applying some actions to tackle certain problem. This helps them design a community proposal with an evidence of proposed actions.
The overall goal of the practicum is : “Provision of a responsive participatory community proposal for livelihoods development for Guli community that considers economic, social, environmental situation”
Practicum Goal can be achieved through the following enabling objectives:
- To increase participation of all segments of Guli community (women, men, youth, children, and people with special needs) in the practicum implementation.
- To increase community awareness on the issues around the community and establish a free discussion environment for all community members.
- To increase understanding of community members to the identified research methods with a clear role of each member in the community.
- To identify community issues, problems by the community and initiate actions accordingly.
Building a platform for practicum through a Community-Based Participatory Research
This is the platform that will be used for the social research that will be conducted in Guli community through a community, owned process of research. The platform engages other actors who will be of a value to establish constructive partnership in which every partner has a clear current and future role to play with the community and for community positive change in all development sectors. Which will happen through mapping of community members, actors to identify the members who will be part of the community participatory research. Then mobilization of community members represented by different ethnic /tribal group including poor members, active, potential local civil society organizations, government representatives, potential organizations, and development agencies working in Guli community.
Preliminary consultation meetings with the mobilized members will be conducted at the community to agree on the conduction of the participatory proposal with distribution of clear roles among the participants. The main role including the management and lead of the process will be for the community.
The practicum will focus on using the following three social research methods in a way that are interrelated and complementary to each method.
The practicum project is planned to cover and benefit 15000 community members directly and indirectly. The direct participants will be a composition of:
- 6 community members including (community ethnic and culturally mixed members, poor household representatives, women participants, youth and children participants)
- 9 well educated community members of both genders with more focus on youth university graduates.
- 5 community heads including community leaders and community members represented in state legislative council and religious leaders.
- 5 representatives from popular committee, women union and civil society organizations.
- 3 members of local organizations working in and surrounding Guli community
- 3 representatives of international organizations working in and surrounding communities and academia.
- 5 Government representatives from Agriculture, Education, Health departments.
Those who are representing ethnic groups, civil society organizations, local and international organizations and government counterparts will be selected based on their level of involvement in community development issues. but community members will be selected through consultation based on the classification of social affairs department at the community, for instance: Poor, minority, women, youth and children, and also based on their interest.
This process will basically use what is available in the community in terms of local materials, venues in facilitating the research primary data collection and then references such as books, studies community graphs and maps as well as utilization of posters, stands, fillip charts pens, markers at secondary place and if any.
The first step will be identification of well-educated community members specially youth in both genders among the university graduates, orient them, discuss with them and then train them in the approach. Next is testing the pilot community based participatory research with mobilization of representatives from listed potential actors and then prepare for the actual implementation of the methodology.
My role will be both as a student as a community member, facilitating the conduction of the community participatory research together with the community starting from preparation, mobilization, identification of community participants and conduction of the research. Participants jointly with the other potential actors will actively participate in identifying community issues through research process, mobilize partnerships for research and conclude and share findings. Data will be collected in two ways, through consulting the community members in all categories by the community members using agreed upon data collection tools, and consulting community development actors participating in the participatory community based research process and then investigating the secondary sources of information. This process will be documented and uploaded to Mahara as part of the regular updates.
All data collected through the three methods below will be analyzed, compiled and findings will be shared with the community and participants of the participatory proposal.
Combining the methods for the practicum with the initial practicum statement, the most community-relevant methods have been ranked (1. ,2., and 3.) and selected to be used for a successful community based practicum. The methods are detailed below:
Method (1): Community assets vs Needs assessment
This method will be used to increase community awareness to the assets available in the community as well as resources that can be utilized by the community for the community development through effective decision making for collective efforts towards community development.
With the facilitation role from my side and community pioneers (those who are well educated in the community), communities will be guided to identify community assets at two levels - household and community levels - and these will be compared with the needs of individual households and community as whole. Understanding the assets and identifying the needs would be the best ground to research from.
There will be two categories of participants in this, 9 community pioneers who will be selected based on their educational level of being university graduates and willingness to devote time and efforts and the community members at all categories. Pioneers will be trained and assisted to manage data collection, conduct interviews, prioritize issues, analyze results and disseminate information.
This will require learning environment and access to already identified sources of information around the community such as libraries, information materials, reports, stationery and computer for data entry and data storage.
This research method will go in line with the community based participatory research as there will be areas of overlap that enables for possible integration for the same purpose. The community pioneers will be collecting data through questions and answers in a community participatory manner where members can freely interact and express opinions, with the support will analyze, share results and confirm findings.
Method (2): Focus Groups
As long as the practicum will be focusing on participatory community proposal, community members will establish knowledge foundation on community development and produce community products in a form of well-designed consensus based proposal that based on evidence of community owned development initiatives. This method is more engaging to community members and will help interactive and free discussions among the community members which in turn brings quality information that helps building community research findings.
Participants are planned to be representatives of community segments and with the following formations:
- Group (A): includes women headed households.
- Group (B): includes women in the community ages above 34.
- Group (C): includes male and female youth ages 18- 34
- Group (D): includes community leaders and religious leaders.
- Group (E): includes people with special needs different ages.
- Group (F): male and female children (ages between 8-17).
- Group (G) includes representatives from all A-F groups
Each group will include 10-12 members. The rationale behind segmentation of community to different groups is to ensure inclusion of great number of diversified community members, each segment has certain needs and different issues, limited dominancy by influential members and free space for free expression of view. Most important is the overall group members participatory reflection and compilation of results. This is considered as more accurate data collection and learning tool which can bring even enclosed information. The process will use the local community materials available and flip charts, stands, drawings and drawing pencils, poster papers, venue in the community mostly under trees, community shelters and available schools.
Method (3): Photovoice
This method is new for my community but at the same time will be the best way to let voiceless poor members in the community speak out. The practicum will be taken different process to feed in helping the very poor to become active participants in community development journey through participatory community proposal that takes meaningful community development process at the individual and community group levels with the final products of proposal.
In this method, participants will be selected based on the vulnerability criteria which will be developed and agreed upon with the community (based on community classification) and also the records of the social affairs department.
This will require high resolution cameras, papers, color pencils, poster papers, and stands. The process will take place after identifying the target groups. 5 educated members of community (3 females and 2 males) will be selected and trained on the methodology, presentation skills, communication skills, storytelling and photo and video recording to conduct this method. Target poor communities will be oriented on the method and objective, to collaborate in collecting data and materials that reflect their daily practices and living conditions.
Participants will be assisted to learn from the process, and reflect their issues and share their concerns in community meetings of community work and planning reflections that are planned to be at regularly conducted the end of implementation of each research method to share results and obtain public consensus on findings. For this method, an exhibition will be conducted in the community to reflect target groups issues and members of the poor target groups will be given the role to presents the findings. The exhibition will be attended by authority and influential members in government as well as development agencies. This will raise their voice to be heard.
Proposed Results Analysis:
The participatory proposal will follow simple and less complicated ways of data analysis for each research method and compile all results in one document. For instance; for the photo voice, the practicum promote community feedback and discussion for analyzing photos/data where community participants will share ideas and reflect critical insights.
In the same manner, in focus groups method, qualitative data /information gathered will be analyzed based on each group’ reflection and then similar answers will be grouped together and different answers will be an option for more logical analysis. It will involve knowledge, theory and implication.
The proposal will come up with interrelated findings of all methods used and engage community members in production of final product of the practicum. This process is expected to have number of ongoing discussions and sharing of ideas and corrections with professors, practicum advisors and coordinator as well as peer colleagues from the beginning, through the implementation and during the completion of the process until arriving to the end product.