Thursday, October 18, 2007

Baseline survey

At DWO we have been talking for a while about making a baseline survey. Since my colleagues have no previous experience with this I became the anchor women in this activity.

A baseline survey can be used for many different purposes. Normally, it is made when starting a new programme, which is also why we decided to conduct one. In the spring DWO signed a new partnership agreement with MS Nepal and as part of that agreement ten new women’s group were to be formed. The women in these groups will during the coming three years receive training and support from DWO. So before starting the programme it is therefore a good idea to conduct at baseline survey. It will show how the situation of the women is today and once the programme has ended a similar survey will be conducted and it will be possible to get an idea of the changes that has taken place.

MS works according to a principle of inclusion of people on all levels and in order to follow this beautiful principle we quickly decided that long, boring questionnaires would be worthless to us. Instead we decided to use participatory methods:

Household mapping:
Each woman got a piece of paper on which they could ”draw their home”. By using symbols or drawings the women could tell about the number of people in the house, if there were access to toilets, sufficient food, domestic violence, illness, etc. It was a good and fun exercise. The women had the opportunity to discuss with us and each other about the situation in their home and the village.

Daily responsibilities:
This exercise also focused on the daily life of these women. We had recorded all daily activities such as; domestic work, field work, participation in activities (training, meetings, etc), access to information and so on. Each activity was divided into two categories: male and female. The women would then have to place small beans on respectively male or female depending on who they thought did the work. This exercise also started a lively discussion and the women were very surprised to see how big their work load was compared to that of their men.

Venn diagram:
This last exercise focused on the institutions and organisations the women would contact in order to gain support or help. Depending on knowledge and awareness each organisation was awarded a small or large circle and placed close to or far from the women’s group. In one group a tiny little circle was placed as far away as possible from the group. It turned out it was the local police that was greatly feared by the women.

My colleagues and I spent a lot of time on this exercise. In the office hours were spent discussing and preparing the visit to the women’s group and in the village days were spent conducting the survey. We got an amazingly positive feed back and for me it has been a very interesting task to perform.