Friends,

We believe that communities have the capacity to acknowledge their concern, act from strengths, measure their progress and transfer their responses to others.  Another key area of strength is ongoing documentation of progress.

Organisations working with communities have developed diverse methods to document the progress made by communities.  However, communities tracking their own progress, documenting it and preserving it shows ownership, capacity and desire to preserve 'community memory' for the current and future generations.

In an upcoming project, 'SALT and immunization', we would be interested to see how communities could track their own progress.

What is your understanding and experience on community documentation of change?  We will be greatly benefited from your sharing.

Thanking you in advance.

Bobby

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There is a great social accountability project taking place in Ethiopia.  It is called Ethiopian Social Accountability Program Phase 2.  I did a number of trainings on participatory video there and many partners involved in the project implemented it.  Communities have been assisted in vizualizing their results on social accountability, by voicing their achievements, challenges and changes they have been going through. The process of participatory video had an empowering effects. Communities realized that they have been accomplishing a lot by working together in a short time frame. A number of videos is available showing some major results as outcome of the process of social accountability.  Watch: https://www.youtube.com/user/ESAP2Channel   Also research was done and a paper was published.  The project generated a lot of results especially in healt service delivery, education, water and sanitation and agriculture and rural road construction.  Read my blogpost,  at  http://simonkoolwijk.blogspot.nl/2016/06/what-initiated-change-participatory.html

Hi Bobby,

Thanks for your inquiry. I think the key to any documentation of change is for the community to have a clear vision of what the change they are trying to make looks like. My experience has been that once you can get the community to articulate a clear goal it becomes easier to determine indicators of success and thus ways to document progress towards the goals.  

We ran a project with Rituu Nanda with a couple of community based sex worker advocacy groups in India and Cambodia where we used the self-reflective methodologies very successfully. We wrote a case study about the project that you can find here: http://www.fabriders.net/potatoes/.

We've also done a lot of work with data literacy practitioners - people who are working to build data literacy in communities for social change - around doing impact assessments and have also written about that here: http://www.fabriders.net/impactassessment/

Always happy to have a conversation about any of the above, if you would find that helpful.

Cheers,

Dirk

 

Dear Dirk and Simon,

Thank you for your response and the links outlining the framework in which measurement happens, the tools, the outcomes and lessons learned.  Participatory video is an excellent tool to capture the impact.

A need that I foresee in our upcoming project would be the scale of skill building (120 villages) in a duration of 1 year.  Also, facilitating community documentation in an ongoing way (say once per month) to capture ongoing progress will be a learning experience.  If we can come up with some tools that are easy to use by villagers, that would be useful.

We will share our experiences once we are into the project.  Would be also interested in keeping in touch to discuss ideas.

Thanks once again.

Bobby

Response over email
Hi Ritu
I’d written a paper on community – don’t know if it’ll be helpful for you! http://www.communityradio.in/pdf/who-is-the-community-in-community-radio.pdf 
Good luck with your work!
Best
Savita
Dr Savita Bailur
Research Director, Caribou Digital
External Lecturer, London School of Economics

Contribution through email from Irene Karanja. Thanks Irene!!

Good Afternoon,

I wanted to share the work we have done on community documentation. The fundermental things to preserve is that communities have stories that they tell so well. It is imperative toprotect the originality and the trust to let any information out of their chest. In our work, we terefore looked at strengthening those values and skills with tools that would assist Communities to articulate their agenda to local authorities. Universities always play a fundermental role in projecting the voices of the communities to various platforms.

I have felt indebted to share this because i was team leader in alot of participactory documentation that was supported by agencies such as Rockerfeller Foundation who are keen and strong partners of AFREA.

My best

Attachment one (second attachment in the following reply)

Attachments:

Contribution through email from Irene Karanja (second attachment)

Attachments:

Hi Bobby,

I have attached two videos taken at two community symposiums facilitated by Plan International and Rajarata University of Sri Lanka in 2011. The symposiums were held following a process of working with communities on improved child growth and development for almost 2 years. 

People making presentations are all community members with an average education up to about grade 9.

The first video shows how records of progress was maintained at individual house hold level which were later converted by the community to community level progress indicators. The second video shows how a community can come up with indicators and tools and refine them with their own experiences.

Several things to note are; firstly Plan Int. and the University proposed the idea of community symposiums to communities after being inspired by the level of monitoring and documentation that the communities were undertaking on their own. So it is not with the intention of presenting the progress that the community was interested in monitoring their own progress. In the videos they explain the actual reason.

Secondly, the facilitators (from the Foundation for Health Promotion, a Sri Lankan NGO) themselves were not experts on monitoring and evaluation. So the capacity to monitor their own progress is, one could say, inherent in every individual and community. It just needs some nurturing and most importantly it is essential not to preempt their own interest and initiative by the "expert" prescriptions.

Hope these would be of interest to you

Thanks Kalana! I am putting up an extract of our chat as its an important point. Key is the question to ask on the dream of the community for healthy children. Look forward to further updates from your work in Laos. 

Kalana

actually we find that ANC, PNC, immunization (for children), nutrition can all be combined in the community's dream to ensure a healthy first 1000 days for children

Hello friends, this is a subject close to my heart. I could write and talk tomes about this, but here would like to highlight the experience of the Indian queer movement. The timeline of India's queer history can easily stretch into antiquity, and some would say that queer in India was never a separate 'category' till the advent of the British. Yet, communities like Hijras have long been part of our cultures - the most distinct, visible among queer groups and also the most organized, but also the most stigmatized and criminalized since they lost their social status during the British colonial days. To an extent, Hijras have also been an inspiration for the contemporary queer organizing in India, which can be traced back to the late 1970s. But it is generally agreed that more structured organizing by Indian queer communities began in the early 1990s.

If I were to write this as a queer person myself, then I would say that over the last 25 years or so, much has been done to record our histories by individuals and support groups, and we have come a long way. Starting with journals like "Bombay Dost" and "Pravartak", we have used anthologies, street and proscenium theatre, films, newspapers and to a certain extent television and radio to document our stories and get our messages across. In more recent times, various forms of internet have been deployed - starting with the now largely forgotten e-forums and chat rooms to social media like Facebook and Twitter.

All in all, it's a heady mix of varied media that have been used. Sometimes it may all appear like a cacophony and even contradictions of voices - not a surprise since "queer" does not stand for a homogeneous community. So for instance the priorities of lesbians won't always match those of trans women or trans men; gay men offer differ with lesbians; bisexuals face stigma not just from the "external world" but also from within queer communities; and so on. Then again trans women are like an umbrella community, and some Hijras identify with it, while others don't. And yet, the queer politics in India is united in the struggle for equality, non-discrimination, decriminalization and full citizenship rights - in short meaningful social inclusion.

As far as documentation success stories are concerned, there are numerous ones. But a few must be mentioned: "Less Than Gay - A Citizen's Report on Homosexuality in India", ABVA, 1991; "Humjinsi" resource book published by ICHRL, first in 1999 and then 2002; Saleem Kidwai and Ruth Vanita's "Same Sex Love in India"; and more recently the "Orinam" website maintained by a support forum of the same name in Chennai.

Personally, after nearly 20 years of queer community mobilization and HIV related capacity building, I have gone back to what was closest to my heart. Since 2013, I've been editing a webzine called "Varta" (published by an NGO Varta Trust). "Varta" traces its roots to "Pravartak", and has a tagline of "Bioscope of your intimate dreams!". Please visit www.varta2013.blogspot.in and take a look at how we've been documenting our stories around gender and sexuality, while also connecting with other issues like mental health, disability, HIV, caste, class, youth and geriatric concerns, legal reform and socio-economic inclusion.

Among more than a dozen columns, please look out for the 'Qatha' and 'From the Archives' columns. The first is an oral history documentation project that records stories of queer individuals growing up queer in Kolkata since the early 1950s and 1960s. The second delves into the archives of Counsel Club, one of India's earliest queer support forums (1993-2002) - these archives include nearly 3,000 letters, greeting cards, photographs, journals and other paraphernalia from the 1990s and early 2000s. Our effort here is to go back in time, to discover and rediscover our pasts, to connect it to our present and show us the way to the future (if we're at all willing to do so in this age of instant gratification).

August is the 3rd birthday month of "Varta", and we're on the verge of publishing an anthology titled "Queer Potli" in collaboration with Queer Ink. The anthology (an e-book to begin with) contains first person stories, interviews, artwork and research papers focussed on queer urban spaces in India. Second, we'll soon be announcing a Skype chat to launch a new website by the end of next week. Please send us your Skype ID at vartablog@gmail.com as we will be chatting about how we have reached where we have today.

Thanks for your sharing Pawan. Excellent work and ideas- artwork, plays, newsletter and so on. There is a great deal of difference when one tells one's own stories and when others tell your story. Congratulations Pawan!! So glad to re-connect.

From my experience ,communities do document change ,I have had the chance to sit in community discussions as a facilitator ,if community members are stimulated to share change ,they will mention indicator of progress and measurable change .
Sometime they keep draft document like self assessment done previously( mostly 6 months )and compare with a recent one

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