Cover Image
close this bookPHAST Step-by-Step Guide: A Participatory Approach for the Control of Diarrhoeal Disease (PHAST - SIDA - UNDP - WB - WHO, 2000, 137 p.)
close this folderPart I: Introduction to the PHAST
close this folderHow to use the guide
View the documentPrepare before you start
View the documentMake your toolkit
View the documentSelect the group
View the documentGroup size
View the documentShould I follow the steps in order?
View the documentMoving from step to step
View the documentKeep records and activity outputs
View the documentEvaluate each activity

Prepare before you start

Before you begin working with a community group you must:

- Read through the entire guide carefully and make sure that you understand the purpose and expected result of each activity.

- Read Part III, paying particular attention to the lists of sample drawings for the activities. Make a list of the drawings you think you will need.

- Find an artist to draw these pictures for you.3 Make sure the scenes and people they contain will appear familiar to the community with whom you will be using this guide.

- Gather together all the materials you will need for the group activities such as: the artist's specially prepared drawings, sticky tape, marker pens, coloured paper, coloured stickers, large sheets of paper or newsprint, card, small scraps of material, cotton, buttons, small stones, beads, seeds, pebbles, scissors, pins, tacks, container (such as a basket, hat or box).

- Practise the activities with friends, colleagues or family members until you feel comfortable.

3 You may have contacted an artist earlier, who may have attended the training workshop with you. See Part III.

Make your toolkit

Part III provides guidelines to help you prepare a set of your own tools as well as sample lists of the types of drawings that you will need. Please remember that these lists are provided as a guide only - toolkits must be developed with drawings that match the people and environment you will be working in. The customs, religion, class, dress, interpersonal relationships, lifestyle, types of activities, buildings and facilities (such as water sources and toilets), vegetation and animals shown should be like those of your group.

Caution: During an activity do not use glue or any other permanent adhesive to attach the pictures because they will need to be moved around, removed and reused.

Select the group

Generally, participatory methods are used with small groups (15-40 people) who want to improve their community in some way. In selecting a group you will have to use your own judgement. But here are some examples of typical groups to give you an idea of the sort of group you might choose and for what purpose.

- A community wishes to improve the water and sanitation facilities at a school. The parent-teacher association would be an obvious group to work with. Some students could also be included to make the group even more representative.

- A community worker is asked to help a community carry out diarrhoeal disease prevention. After discussions with the health clinic staff and village leaders, a group of about 30 people, who represent different village interests, could be formed.

- The community already has a water committee of 15 persons. Community leaders decide that this group should represent the community.

- An urban community of squatters, living in extremely bad conditions without formal recognition by local government, is given an opportunity to improve its environmental conditions. Normally such a community has informal leaders. Discussions with these individuals lead to creation of a working group that is representative of that community.

Group size

The activities in this guide will work best with groups of less than 40 persons. Ideally, big groups will be divided into small groups of 5-8 persons for some of the activities, since they provide greater stimulus and opportunity for participation. If this is done, the members of the small groups should be swapped around for the different activities so that participants have the chance to work with one another. Some competition between groups is also quite healthy and desirable. Guidance is provided in the activity descriptions on when the larger group should be divided into smaller groups.

Small groups can be invited to report their findings to the whole group at the end of the activity. This can be done in one of two ways. Each of the small groups can report its findings. Or, at the end of the activity, just one small group (but a different one each time this method is used) can be asked to make a report and the other small groups asked for additional comments. The second method obviously takes less time. The presentation of different points of view will help you to show that there is no such thing as a single right answer.


Should I follow the steps in order?

The guide is divided into steps and each step is divided into activities. Be sure to follow the steps in order since each step equips participants with what they need to do or know to complete the next step. If a step is missed, the group could have trouble with the activities of the following step.

How much time does it take?

It could take from two weeks to six months to go through the entire guide with a community group. The method aims to stimulate learning and change, with enough time for information-sharing and feedback. Be sensitive, let the group set the pace.

Moving from step to step

How do I know when to move to tine next: step?

The group will make it clear when it is ready to move on. For example, when it is ready to move from Step 2: Problem analysis to Step 3: Planning for solutions, group members may start discussing among themselves what they can do to overcome the problems they have identified.

Do I have to follow the activity times strictly?

The times given in the activity instructions are estimates only. Be guided by the energy level and enthusiasm of the group. If the group appears restless or bored, or if you are under time pressure, organize a break or plan the next meeting accordingly. But do not tell the group how long you think it should take to do an activity.

How can I move from one step to I he next?

If there has been a long break between steps, make sure the group remembers what stage it had reached and what was decided. Review the records (see next page) of the previous meeting. This is a good way of checking that the group has understood and still agrees with what it decided earlier.

Can I change the activities?

Once you have gained sufficient experience and confidence, you should feel free to make any changes in the order of the activities, or to delete or add activities.

Keep records and activity outputs

The group should keep a record of its findings and decisions for each step. Usually these findings and decisions will be clear from the product of the activity, such as a community map. The results of each activity can be displayed on walls, perhaps in a community centre where the rest of the community can see them. How records are made will depend on several factors, including the literacy level of the group. Keeping records means participants can quickly review their progress when they need to.

Certain ideas might have to be written down for display and to give to those not directly taking part. Generally, it is best if the group selects one or more volunteers to do this job. If no-one volunteers, you could ask someone whom you think would do the task well.

Make sure records are brought to each meeting so that the results of previous meetings can be reviewed easily. If the group is unsure what to do, confused, unable to reach agreement, or if participation is slowing, you may need to help the group review decisions and conclusions reached in past sessions.

Evaluate each activity

Feedback on the relevance of activities, on what the group thought was good or bad, and on where improvements could be made, is important. So each activity should be evaluated at its conclusion and again, if possible, before a new step or activity is started.