The following is a revised version of the stoplighting methodology in which a distinction is made between community and family resources.
Before the workshop:
- Establish simple indicators or questions, prompts, and parameters you can use to create these indicators during the workshop.
- Through conversations with community leaders, identify the resources you wish to evaluate and discuss possible parameters for indicators.
- Separate these into communal and individual resources.
- Create spreadsheets for these individual and communal resources.
- Make outlines of posters for communal and individual resources.
- Notebooks/3-ring binders
- Copies of all of the indicators or the questions/prompts to develop these indicators
- Copies of the spreadsheets of community and individual/family resources
- List of contact information for important community officials
- 2 sets of red, yellow, and green markers
- Poster paper
- Red, yellow, green, and black markers
- Copy of indicators
- Copy of community and individual/family resources spreadsheets
Workshop: A Participatory Evaluation of Community and Family Resources
The purpose of this workshop is to identify resources within the community, what the component parts of these resources are, and the condition of these resources.
Ask for a volunteer to be the workshop secretary. Give the volunteer the notebook with the forms you have already made as well as one set of markers and a pen. The volunteer will fill out the forms with the information gathered throughout the workshop.
Begin the workshop by asking participants:
What resources are shared in the community?
Discuss and identify communal resources. Some examples are roads, schools, the environment, and community organizations. It does not matter if these resources are in good or bad condition. They might not even exist anymore. For example, there might be a health center that is no longer functional. This is still a community resource. It is just one that is in bad condition. We will talk about the quality of resources later. Now is the time to identify the shared resources that exist.
You should guide this conversation to include the information on the forms you have made with community leaders. You should also leave space for additional information that the community adds. The meeting secretary can add any additional information that arises in the workshop on the forms in the notebook.
Write the resources you discuss on poster paper on the wall. This should already be divided into four columns: resource, components, condition, and notes. At this point, only write down general resources in the first column. In the next question, we will ask for more details.
Throughout the workshop, you may also choose to draw pictures beside the resources and component parts. This serves two needs. First, if your group is not all literate, it helps to make the workshop more inclusive. Second, if you choose to include a community mapping element to this or future workshops, you have begun to create the legend for these maps.
What do these resources consist of?
Discuss the component parts of these resources. For example, a school is made up of a building, teacher, materials, and access. Make sure to only think about the shared elements of the resource at this point. Student attendance, for example, is a component part of a school. But that is a familial resource and not a communal one. Think about the most important component parts of all of the community resources you have listed and write these in the second column of the poster.
As in the first question, you can guide this conversation to fit the information you have gathered from community leaders before the workshop. Make sure, however, to allow space to include anything else the community deems to be essential. The meeting secretary can add any additional information to the forms in the notebook.
What is the condition of our shared resources?
Discuss each resource and decide whether it is in good, average, or bad condition. Discuss what this means and either talk about the simple indicators you have already established or establish these indicators as a community.
If you are establishing these indicators as a group, the meeting secretary should write down the results and someone from your organization should do the same. This process will work best if you already have general parameters in mind that you can suggest to the community. They can agree or disagree with these parameters or add to them. Some guidance, however, is necessary in this process.
Explain that they will use the colors of a stoplight to indicate the condition of the resource. Green means good condition, yellow means average condition, and red means bad condition.
Ask for volunteers to make marks beside the resource in the colors that correspond to the quality of its condition. They may choose whatever symbol they wish—box, line, star, check, or face, for example. The symbol doesn’t matter. What is important is that the color reflects the condition of the resource.
If there are any important details to add about the resource and its condition, participants can provide this information now. Limit this to brief, important information. Do not take too much time getting details about the condition of the resources. You just want to get a general idea.
The secretary will put the information from the posters in the forms in the notebook.
Family and Individual Resources
This could be a new workshop or the second half of the same workshop. If part of your project includes working with families individually, the spiderweb methodology the Distrito Agrario uses could be a good approach. If you are working with families as a group, then you should create a chart similar to the one you made for community resources with several small differences (see below).
What resources do families have in our community?
Identify and discuss the resources that are familial, such as houses, crops, or access to water. Write (and draw, if you wish) these in the first column of the poster.
What do these resources consist of?
Discuss the component parts of each resource and write these in the second column on the poster. For example, houses could consist of building material, roof, space, and land/title.
How many families have these resources? What condition are these resources in?
A difference between the shared and familial resources is that you will want to know how many families have a particular resource. When you discuss the condition of the component parts of each resource, also ask for the number of families this information applies. Put this information on the poster and in the forms in the notebook in the following manner:
Continue in this manner for all of the familial resources.
End with a reflection on what this information means. Ask participants how they think they could use this information. Explain that this exercise provides a baseline of the state of familial and community resources and that this information could be a resource for community planning over time.
Discuss which resources were strong and which ones weren’t. Why? How have things changed in the past 5-10 years (for the better and for the worse)? What things haven’t changed? Why? What would they like to change in the next 5-10 years? Why?
Explain that the notebooks are for them to keep in their villages or neighborhoods. Decide as a group where this information should be kept and who should be responsible for the notebook. Explain that your organization will also have this information. Discuss how the community and your organization can build upon the information gathered today to monitor and evaluate project in the future.
After the workshops:
The colors have corresponding numbers. Green=3, yellow=2, and red=1. This allows you to score and rank resources in a variety of ways.
You can get an average of all of the resources to give the village an overall score. If you are working with many villages and/or neighborhoods in a municipality, you can also get the average of a single resource across the municipality. These scores will be a number between 1-3. You can establish a range for red, yellow, and green for each resource. An example is:
This range could be different depending upon the resource.
This gives you a baseline score that can be used for planning, monitoring, and evaluating change over time.
Use the following formula to rank family resources:
(Number of families in green x 3 + Number of families in yellow x 2 + Number of families in red x 1)/Number of total families
The result will be a number between 1-3. Just as in the community resources, you must establish a range for red, yellow, and green for each resource that will be your baseline for use in planning, monitoring, and evaluation.
In future workshops, you could use this information as a tool for prioritizing areas for improvement in the short, medium, and long term. A similar color-coded methodology could be used to indicate the priority of addressing each area, with red signifying high-priority, yellow signifying average priority, and green signifying low-priority.
This tool can help identify existing community strengths available to meet these short, medium, and long-term community goals. The information could also be used to create color-coded community maps and corresponding color-coded digital maps using the mapping methodology previously described.