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close this bookLocally Generated Printed Materials in Agriculture: Experience from Uganda and Ghana - Education research paper No. 31 (DFID, 1999, 132 p.)
close this folder5. Phase I: The findings of the postal survey
View the document(introduction...)
View the document5.1 Analysis of survey respondents
View the document5.2 Formation and aims of groups
View the document5.3 Socio-economic status of target communities
View the document5.4 Sharing of Information
View the document5.5 Access to sources of information

5.4 Sharing of Information

This section examines how groups passed on information, their motivation for sharing information, the methods used, the languages used and the kind of people involved in sharing information.

5.4.1 Methods used to pass on information

Few organisations used only one method to pass on information to their target community. The majority used a number of information sharing methods. (Table 2)

Half of the groups and organisations indicated they had been trained, not necessarily through outside workshops or more formal training, but commonly through in-staff training.

The majority (97%) shared information in local languages, some also sharing information in both national and local languages. Small, informal group training was the most commonly used method (72%). Over half used posters, charts and drama or role plays which indicates a willingness to use audiovisual and participatory methods of sharing information. The use of puppets and flannelgraphs by respondents was not widespread, particularly in Africa.

TABLE 2 - Methods employed by postal survey respondents to share information with target community


FREQUENCY-USING LOCAL LANGUAGE

FREQUENCY-USING NATIONAL LANGUAGE

OVERALL PERCENTAGE USING METHOD

Small group teaching

131

10

72%

Drama and role plays

99

5

53%

Teaching notes

78

23

51%

Posters or charts

78

18

49%

Production of booklets

55

8

32%

Production of literacy materials

45

8

27%

Newsletter production

31

10

21%

Radio programmes

23

6

15%

Use of puppets

18

1

10%

Use of flannelgraphs

17

2

10%

Out of a total of 197 groups

Over half (51%) produced teaching notes of some kind, though sometimes these may be material prepared by a head office, since nearly 12% were not in the local language (comparing with an average of 3% for all other methods). The number of organisations using local radio to pass on information indicated a large potential target audience for information. Nearly a third produced booklets and a fifth produced newsletters. Also of interest was that a quarter either specifically produced literacy materials, or indicated that their materials might be suitable for use with literacy training. Since post-literacy materials are often in very short supply, this indicates that 'real' materials may provide useful sources for literacy work.

Over half (54%) of the postal survey respondents used just one local language to share information. Over a quarter (27%) used two languages, one used 12 tribal languages and another 13 tribal languages. A total of 154 different named languages (not all languages used were named), were being used by 197 groups to pass on information to target communities. The majority of these (57%) were African languages, with 33 groups using KiSwahili. For a full list of the languages see Appendix D.

5.4.2 Identification of information needs

Respondents identified the information needs of their target groups by a number of different means. Recent developments in the use of participatory techniques which encourage communities to prioritise their own needs, may have been incorporated into the work of some respondents. Over 40% of groups mentioned community participation in the identification of information needs. In just over a quarter of situations 'outsiders' appeared to play a major role in determining information priorities and needs for the local community. (Table 3)

TABLE 3 - Identification of information needs of target communities by postal survey respondents


AGREEING

Community identifies needs together

49

(27%)

We prioritise the needs of the community

31

(17%)

Our experience elsewhere helps us to identify needs

16

(9%)

Community leaders identify needs

15

(8%)

Outside experts help us to identify priorities

6

(3%)

Key individuals in the community identify needs

5

(3%)

Several of the above

61

(33%)

Total

183

(100%)

Missing data 14 cases

5.4.3 Motivation

The difference between simply having access to useful and relevant information, and the desire to pass it on to others who might find it of use, is considerable. An examination of what motivates people to take this step is of great interest. Are people motivated, for example, by a sense of pride in their own knowledge, by the 'ignorance' of those they wish to help, by religious commitment or by a sense of injustice? Or are the needs of the community in requesting information, driving the process? (Table 4)

Motivation of survey respondents in sharing information


AGREEING

People have so little information

75

(39%)

Community requests this information

67

(35%)

To pass on useful source materials in local language

61

(32%)

Group members want to share their skills

57

(30%)

Our head office directs us to share information

19

(10%)

Various other reasons6

17

(9%)

Missing data 4 cases

6 Among the other reasons given were: helping people make informed decisions (6), developing better community health care (3), Christian evangelism, creating environmental awareness (2), sharing skills with refugees in preparation for resettlement, helping develop a positive outlook on life and finding the most appropriate solution to rural poverty.

Few groups (7%) appeared to be motivated by their organisation's policy directing them to pass on information. This indicated a considerable degree of self direction and confidence among survey respondents. The results suggested that sharing information is not strongly driven by demand for useful information by target communities. Rather, the desire to share information was largely driven by altruistic reasons for nearly half the respondents, and by their awareness of the needs of the target community both for more information, and for more accessible information. A fifth stated that group members wanted to pass on and share their own acquired skills, implying their confidence and pride in the knowledge they have gained.

5.4.4 Education and literacy levels of members

Given that a certain amount of confidence in one's own knowledge is required before sharing information with others, a number of questions were asked to determine the educational background of those involved in training of some sort. No differentiation between formal and informal training was made. (Table 5)

TABLE 5 - Cross-tabulation between categories of postal survey respondents and mean percentage levels of education among staff or group members


GOs and NGOs

GDOs

RPAs

LEVEL OF EDUCATION

MALE

FEMALE

MALE

FEMALE

MALE

FEMALE

Primary schooling

86%

83%

83%

85%

76%

60%

High school - 2 years at least

78%

74%

57%

53%

51%

44%

College

36%

31%

31%

27%

25%

14%

Degree

37%

28%

16%

12%

21%

5%

Literate in English

72%

68%

77%

71%

66%

56%

Literate in local language

80%

78%

87%

83%

73%

66%

Education or literacy levels for women were consistently lower than for men, the one exception being that of primary schooling in GDOs. In nearly all cases education and literacy levels corresponded to income levels of groups, higher for GO and NGOs and lowest for RPAs. However, literacy levels in local language were higher in GDOs and a surprising number of men held degrees in RPAs.