Recommendations on guideline for collecting SDG data through participatory workshop

Kinara for Youth Evolution is helping CIVICUS to test a participatory workshop designed by FabRiders collecting data on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 16, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. Kinara has tested the workshop with three community groups which were our own staff, youth Community Change Agents (CCAs), and women community change agents called Strength of Mothers. Realistically, the guidelines work well but based on our experience Kinara recommends some modifications and additions to strengthen the approach as follows.

STEP 1: INTRODUCTION OF THE ACTIVITY

It is very important to let participants know why you are running the workshop. Kinara always introduces the organization’s goals and objectives to make participants feel they are at a safe place. We have built up trust with the community through a long-term commitment to involving them in designing and conducting our programs. Then we tell participants the purpose of the workshop in order to make them understand about the objective of the meeting and know how they can contribute in achieving the workshop goals. We always ask for permission before starting to collect data by telling participants why we collect data, and how it will be used in order to make participants feel free and safe to provide information. It is important to talk a little bit about the SDGs so as to make the participants easily relate them with their environment because most of the people think the implementation of SDGs is very far from their living reality. We explain that our government agreed to implement the SDGs. For example, the election process and decision-making done by government are related to SDG 16.

STEP 2: CONDUCT INTERVIEWS IN PAIRS

Practically, this step of collecting each other’s data in pairs is very essential because it gives a chance for every participant to participate in the specific issue, which also increases the interaction and builds each participant’s comfort level and confidence among the people within the room. Kinara grouped participants into pairs who are less familiar to each other, and then we reviewed the questions by reading them all together and then asking if they need any clarifications. We made sure that participants have a common understanding especially of the words that may be interpreted differently. Then we let them interview each other and gave them ten minutes to discuss and answer all questions. We discovered that 10 minutes was not enough for most groups to finish all questions. Instead, we recommend at least 15 minutes for the pair interviews.

STEP 3: DISCUSS FINDINGS IN QUARTETS

After they have interviewed each other, we let them find another pair to share data into groups of four people. Kinara found that adding the use of sticky notes in this step is very essential because it helps participants to structure the analysis of the results and go question by question. After exchanging questionnaires, they discuss and compare the commonalities and differences of the responses for each question. We recommend for the facilitators to give more explanations and examples because sometimes different words can have the same meaning.  A good example from our last workshop with CCAs: one participant gave a reason of not participating in decision-making was not being informed by the street chairperson while another participant said that was not given an opportunity by leader to participate in decision-making issues. These two experiences can be considered as a commonality.

STEP 4: LARGE GROUP DISCUSSION

Once the participants have discussed the responses in the quartets, we ask them to capture the responses in the flip chart at the front of the room. Kinara recommends that in this step to have at least two facilitators. One facilitator is capturing and noting down the points while the other is leading the discussion.  The three questions were somehow not easily understood by the participants, so we used the word response instead of experience. It is important to narrow down the problems to get one to three major problems by grouping them by similar causes based on answers to the question of Why? This helps to bring focus to the next step of building collective solutions.

STEP 5: BUILDING COLLECTIVE SOLUTIONS

It is important to ask the participants to form new groups of three people, give them sticky notes and pens, and give 10 minutes to brainstorm answers to the question, “How might we make decision-making that is relevant to what we are discussing today, more inclusive and responsive?” We framed the question to include the words “in your own ability” in order to make participants feel like they are able to start doing something instead of waiting for external support. After participants discussed the possible solutions, we narrowed the solutions in the facilitated group to get the major solution, by linking them back to addressing causes and then we agreed together on one solution. Kinara recommends to also come up with allies who may help them to achieve the solution suggested by themselves.

STEP 6: DOING ADVOCACY AS DRAMA

This step is optional but for Kinara it is required because it is part of learning for participants to practice advocacy, and it is more enjoyable to the group within the room. Kinara recommends using drama including the facilitator, so the participants can quickly rehearse through challenges with their advocacy, which makes the actual advocacy more likely to succeed as they already have practice in a safe setting to improve their approach and skills. Reviewing the techniques is helpful to give them feedback based on their performance because many solutions fail due to poor presentation to the decision-makers. For example, each person should be prepared with talking points.  Also, we encouraged the use of specific data in the discussion, such as financial data, to strengthen their advocacy.

STEP 7: THE ONE NEXT STEP

We decided to add this seventh step after framing and practicing the solutions. We thought it is better to give them one small task which does not require external support to be implemented and to follow up on the action. For example, the Strength of Mothers group suggested they will teach gender equality at local primary schools based on effect of tradition and customs in limiting women’s participation in decision making and acquiring different leadership positions. The CCAs group decided to practice lobbying and advocacy concerning high fee of collecting garbage which affects citizens on their street level.

CONCLUSION

This is a good guideline because it gives a chance for people to build their confidence and research skills like asking questions. It also supports citizens to start practical action towards achieving the SDGs. While testing the workshop, we found ways to make the participants more comfortable, open and able to act based on the solutions decided.

Kinara for Youth Evolution is working with CIVICUS DataShift to learn about the process to measure inclusive and responsive decision-making (SDG 16.7.2) using a participatory workshop approach with members of our community. We are a youth-led grassroots NGO based in Morogoro, Tanzania, empowering youth to create change for themselves and in their communities through programs in Sexual Reproductive Health and Gender, Livelihoods, Education, and Citizen Data for Advocacy.

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