Peeling the Onion

Before the groups returned to the project office in Sahibganj, I created a template for them to organize their interview results. I hoped that this would facilitate organizing information from disparate groups interviewing different types of stakeholders.

Interviewing Sahiyyas and Anganwadi Worker

After returning, the groups set to work in different offices fitting their interview notes into the A-C-E-S format and putting their results on charts that we would hang around the room. One non-trivial step was to translate the answers from Hindi to English.

To help the group turn over the soil of their memories of 5 years of work and to get beneath the meaning of what they were told in the interviews, the CRWRC project consultant stood in front of the group to ceremoniously peel an onion that she had retrieved from the kitchen. Amid the whir of ceiling fans beating the humid air and discussions revolving between Hindi, English and Bangla, we began to see patterns emerge. We saw over and over that people from government officials to women in villages thought that grass roots training of mothers by the Sahiyyas was a crucial activity responsible for the success of the program.

Using wall charts to report on field interviews

From this shared reporting I created a matrix that categorized the major activities around the program objectives. From this 2 key themes emerged that contributed to project accomplishments: 1) increasing the capacity of the community for maternal and child health, including the use of behavior change strategies such as theater and flip charts to reinforce safe delivery practices on the Village Health and Nutrition Days when the community gathered for government run programs; and 2) strengthening the local health system. An effective activity for this was the coordination of the local health care workers to chart and follow up on weights of babies and to track their immunizations.

Anganwadi worker with growth chart

Grace Kreulen

This entry was posted on Saturday, July 28th, 2012 at 11:54 am and is filed under Updates from India, Updates from the Field. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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