Community Action Guide Synopsis
Emphasizing Community-based Research and Expertise
- Communities must harness their local wisdom to pinpoint and understand the problems, and to devise solutions.
- Empowerment is key; the feeling of powerlessness should be replaced with control over community development priorities.
- A respect for human life and environmental preservation is fundamental.
- Community-led research, a process where the community is empowered to conduct research on self-chosen topics, encourages every participant to share, exchange, and reuse the knowledge generated.
- The community should leverage its local knowledge, customs, and traditions, and maintain ownership of the knowledge generated.
The Role of External Agents
Audiences and Allies
- Allies aid in facilitating the process, offering advice, and assisting in analyzing results, but the community leads the research and decision-making.
- Allies should respect the community’s right to withdraw and withhold statements.
- Influencers could be project developers, financiers, media organizations, local officials, or other government members.
- It’s essential to seek advice and support from other communities.
- Be prepared with a risk and mitigation process for participants and researchers.
- If the risks are high and participation may lead to danger, alternative methods should be explored.
- It’s important to continuously assess the security situation throughout the research process.
Choice of Research Topic
- It is up to the community to decide the research subject, the method to approach it, and how to use the findings.
The Importance of Inclusion
- Aim to represent the community’s diversity, maintaining a balance between genders.
- Arrange for separate meetings for women or youth if necessary.
- The research should facilitate information exchange; all team members should be aware of community-led development plans and any development projects under study.
- Train the team on conducting research.
Bird’s Eye View
- Problem identification, including the effects, causes, root cause, and resources needed.
- Strength and Place Survey focusing on history, culture, socio-legal aspects, and potential opportunities.
- Identify who is affected, who is already working on the issue, who can influence the situation, who are potential research allies, and who the community can collaborate with.
- Focus Group Discussions, Interviews, Community Mapping, and Community Priorities
- It is essential to ensure participant anonymity and confidentiality, and to obtain “informed consent” from them.
- Establish a system to communicate the activities to the community and schedule gatherings for review and input.
- At the start, share the research team’s plans and goals with the wider community.
- Once the research process is ready, share information about the research methodology.
- Review initial findings with the wider community before finalizing or sharing the results publicly.
- Request the community to verify and analyze the findings, and to prioritize the research that aligns with their objectives or campaign.
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