Comments on “AMREF’s Community Needs Assessment – Overview.”
12 May, 2008
Monday, 19 November 2007, Rick Davies
1. The purpose of these brief comments is to provide constructive feedback to AMREF on the Community Needs Assessment – Overview (CAN) document. These comments have not been shared with anyone but AMREF at this stage.
2. Minor but important point: Over the next few years it is likely that AMREF will produce many documents about Katine, for internal and external use. It would be helpful if all these documents had date and author information on the front cover (in addition to the AMREF label).
3. Does the title of this report mean there is going to be a full report that goes into more detail than this Overview? If so, make this clear on page 3.
4. The methodology section says that interviews with key informants “were complemented by group discussions with a wide range of community residents in public meetings to ensure fair representation of concerns“. This statement needs to be supported by information in the Appendix on the nature of these meetings. Such as the number, type and location of different meetings e.g. 4 meetings with women’s groups in w,x,y,z locations, 4 meetings with men’s’ groups in …The Appendix already list details of the secondary data sources and the key informants. The Appendix could also note that the names of all key informants and (perhaps the group meeting participants) will be available in the full report of the Community Needs Assessment, if there is to be one.
5. Re Health (page 4), my impression is that malaria and HIV/AIDS are the two main causes of death in Katine. Is this correct? It would be useful if this page could provide a clear list of the main causes of death, in order of incidence, according to whatever information is currently available. And differentiated by gender, at least.
6. It is often the case that different members of a community have a different view on what are the priority needs in a community. The list of “Key Needs” needs to be supported by some comments on where there was agreement and disagreement within the community on these different needs. Which groups expressed what differing views on what?
7. Location is often an important factor contributing to people’s poverty. Schools and health centres may be nearer to some people in Katine than others. A simple map showing the boundaries of Katine, and the locations of schools and health services within Katine would be useful, it could highlight what areas were more and less geographically disadvantaged (in relative terms).
8. As in the health section, the education section discusses problems and possible responses to those problems. It would be useful if there was a clearer sense of the relative importance of the problems, and of the proposed responses. AMREF cannot do everything, and will have to make some choices. As above, it would also be good to see some information here on the opinions of different sections of the community on these problems and on the proposed responses. The same comments also apply to the section on livelihoods. This could be in table form: groups down the left column, problems across the top row / responses across the top row.
9. The section on community empowerment makes an important point about “lack of participation of the vulnerable in setting priorities and deciding on resource allocation“. If so, then this Overview document should itself model good practice in this area.
10. A summary section would be useful, which highlighted different community groups’ views on the relative importance on the larger categories of needs, which are each discussed in detail in this report: health, education, water, livelihood and community empowerment issues. If these are “all equally important” then does this mean that AMREF’s Katine budget will be split equally across these categories of need?
11. The same summary section could also point out where the CAN fits in the planned sequence of project activities. How will the results of the CAN inform the design of the baseline survey referred to on page 3 (if the survey comes next)? Or, how has the baseline survey results informed the design of the CAN (if the survey came first)?
12. I would like to see this CAN document (or a re-edited version of this document) made publicly available, via the AMREF website and/or my own web page (Monitoring and Evaluating Success in Katine Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)). It would signal confidence in the approach being taken, and allow the public at large, beyond Katine, to learn more about the project.