Training In Socio-economic Skills - Mazingira Institute, Kenya
Seven school-leavers from a site and service project area in
Nairobi were trained in a number of techniques including questionnaires,
in-depth interviews, case studies, and keeping a community news diary. They have
since progressed to data interpretation and assistance in developing survey
methods with university lecturers and graduates. In Dodoma, Tanzania, a similar
group of school-leavers had to learn technical skills in identifying simple
types of construction and infrastructure, and basic measured drawing, in order
to record the data. Two principles are most important in this type of training:
1. Developing a rigorous respect for accuracy.
2. Knowing why
data is being collected.
Trainees develop judgment of the usefulness of data and can also
evaluate its accuracy. Advantages of this type of training are:
1. It creates employment in the community.
members are motivated to collect useful and accurate data if it will benefit
3. They know more about the area than people from elsewhere.
can forge linkages between settlement leadership and technical management; that
is, it contributes to the potential for self-management.
Mazingira Institute, which presented this Case Study, has found
this type of trainee much more effective than the average university graduate.
In particular, much more reliable data on incomes has been gathered by these
trainees when using their intelligence and a loosely structured set of questions
than mechanically trained interviewers using a mechanical set of questions. The
illustration shows a set of income questions used by these trainees; each person
and source of income in a household can be identified, and the questions must be
adjusted to the type of earnings: e.g. "flow many days did your brother work
last month?" and, "What is the daily rate of pay?" These can then be multiplied
by the interviewer who can then write down an accurate typical monthly income.
Example of Income data that can be
collected by trainees.
Apart from doing routine data collection tasks, a resident field
team will quickly detect important issues, especially where they are personally
affected. Illegal activities, such as pressure on families to sell plots to
outside entrepreneurs, have been monitored in this way. The issue of
confidentiality and use of data is a difficult one; data which is sensitive may
be used politically by one group against another (such as officials versus
residents) or it may be used for positive action. An objective of participatory
research should be to involve local residents and leadership by employing
residents and jointly establishing the purpose of surveys. Similarly, action to
be taken on data can be jointly decided by technical personnel, the residents
and their leaders. A resident field team can also be trained to demonstrate
upgrading, water supply planning or health and nutrition. It is important that
those trained in data collection .and analysis do not become the employed,
literate, decision-making elite.
NOTE TO THE READER
HOW TO JOIN SETTLEMENTS INFORMATION NETWORK - AFRICA
The participants in the first Workshop on Training Human
Settlements Workers established an Information Network so that they and others
can continue to exchange information about their work. If your work has
something to do with improving human settlements through community self-help,
you may wish to join the Network. In this way you can regularly hear from other
people doing the same kind of work. It is hoped to send out a newsletter every
If you wish to receive the newsletter, fill in the form
overleaf, pull out this page and send it in to:
Settlements Information Network Africa (SINA)
PO Box 14550
SETTLEMENTS INFORMATION NETWORK -
2 Name of Organisation
Address of Organisation
3 What work do you do? Please provide a short description of
what you and/or your organisation are doing in human settlements.
4 Do you have any suggestion or requests for the Network and
newsletter? (For example, information you need that others may be able to send
to you, suggestions for topics future meetings, ideas you have about what should
be the objectives of the Network, etc.)
5 Do you have any documents, training materials or other
materials you think might be of interest to other members of the Network?
(Anacin an extra page if the list is long.)
6 Do you know of interesting self-help settlements projects not
mentioned in this document that might be of interest to the Network, or any
other people or organisations you think might like to join the Network?
7 Please do do not (tick one) print my name or my organisation's
name in the Newsletter.
It is hoped that the next Newsletter will include:
A list of all the members and the work they do
other information available from members
News about work members are
Comments and suggestions about the Network
Ideas for future
Requests for information
If you have any requests for information or suggestions about
what should be included in the newsletter, write it on the form and it will
appear in the Network, so other members can respond.
You can join either as an individual or as an organisation -
just fill in the appropriate place on the form. It is intended that the Network
be open to individuals and organisations, both government and NGOs.
You are welcome to pass on this form to other people or
organisations that you think may wish to join the Network.
Diana Lee Smith, Mazingira Institute
The Case Study presented at the Workshop also showed how
school-leavers can learn to analyze data by simple manual tabulations, be
involved in discussions or interpretation of data they have collected, and carry
out simple assignments of interpretation. For example, they can be asked to
write a list of the differences and similarities of various areas surveyed,
based on one or more tables. This makes them aware of the usefulness of the work
they have put in, and also prepares them to carry out interpretation tasks
later. In addition, it has the benefit of increasing sensitivity to good data,
so that it makes sense and supports or supplements their experience.
LITHULUSI TSEO U TLA LI HLOKA
"Tools" From the Training Manual
"Build Your Own House" LEHCO-OP,