In the long journey towards development, the destination is as important as its origin, and all the processes in between.
The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security in Southeast Asia (CCAFS-SEA), together with NARES partners, will soon embark on village baseline surveys, needs assessment and situation analysis. These are important initial steps to identifying strategic entry points of intervention among climate-smart villages (CSVs).
CCAFS champions the CSVs as models of introducing location-specific climate-smart agricultural practices for food security and resource sustainability amid climate change.
Priming climate-smart village teams
To start spadework for the CSV acitivities, CCAFS-SEA organized a training workshop on “Implementing Village Baseline Survey” among local partners who will help implement program activities. Between 1-6 September 2014 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, 16 participants from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos gained knowledge on how to effectively obtain information from stakeholders through participatory approaches.
Endorsed by CGIAR centers and local partners, the participants will compose the teams that will work in the six CSVs initially identified for the region.
Each of the CSV teams will have two facilitators/moderators and two note-takers. Gender balance is a consideration in the team composition. These key roles hold significance not only in collecting information but also as a means of engaging local stakeholders for participatory action research.
Trainers from the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), Maseno University in Kenya, University of the Philippines-Visayas and the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR)-Philippines shared broad experiences with the participants in conducting baseline surveys, situation analysis and needs assessment.
As one participant succinctly puts it:
There were many new acronyms/terms for almost everybody to learn at initial steps of CSV implementation. After the training workshop, participants finally got familiar with VBS, OBS, HBS, FGD, KII, SA & NA, PAR, etc. and surely can bring them into CSV actions."
Information that matters
Baseline information, in the provincial, district, village and household levels are vital components in the roll outplans of the CSVs. Information that will be gathered shall provide basic indicators of natural resource utilization, organizational landscape, information networks and visioning for farming practices which can be compared across CSV sites and monitored over time.
The outputs from baseline survey, together with additional data from other sources, are important sources of in-depth information for the situation analysis and needs assessment. These systematic methods of information collection, analysis and delivery would help in identifying priority issues and needs of the people and the ecosystem.
In the last day of the training workshop, the CSV teams were asked to prepare action plans to be implemented in their respective sites. The action plans included strategies for community entry, timeline for each output, report writing, and sharing of findings with the community.
The questionnaires and technical reports will be filled out and completed in the local language to benefit from contribution of the team members. This could ensure accuracy of important information that may otherwise get lost if early versions of documents are translated directly to English by the CSV teams. The final reports shall be written in English.