This is the second blog in a series of three where we get to learn from the experiences of Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance colleagues that have been involved in the roll out of the Flood Resilience Measurement for Communities (FRMC). Here you will get some useful advice on the importance of timing when introducing the FRMC and collecting data in a new community.
The FRMC is a framework and tool for measuring levels of community resilience against floods based on data collected from the community in question using household surveys, focus groups, key informant interviews and third source data. Since the successful implementation of the FRMC depends on the information provided by members of the community, it is important to plan the project in a way that ensures that community members are able to participate. The FRMC roll out and data collection needs to be planned for a time of year, week, and day that makes it easy to engage with the community.
Be flexible – each community is unique
What timing works best will differ from community to community and depend on cultural and religious contexts, what livelihoods are most common among community members, what commitments people already have that might clash with the FRMC work. In order to make successful timing decisions you’ll need to figure out what works best for your community.
Consider people’s livelihoods
People employed in stable jobs with regular working hours will have different priorities and availability compared to those employed in less regular work, rural farmers or those not in paid work. How the majority of people in a community make a living will differ from community to community and should be taken into consideration.
In Nepal local Community Disaster Management Committees working closely with Practical Action helped identify which farmers were likely to finish planting or harvesting their crops first as they had less land, hence would be free to complete household surveys sooner than farmers with more crops.
In one rural Peruvian community Practical Action choose to engage with the community through their existing Sunday Assemblies. In this community of busy and hard-working farmers it was easier to engage at a time they were already committed to come together rather than ask them to take additional time off from their farming and domestic responsibilities.
The same Practical Action team used a completely different approach in peri-urban areas where most people worked in the city of Lima and were most likely to be available on evenings after work, while wanting to spend their valuable weekends with family. In these communities Sunday was the day people were least likely to engage.
When scheduling interviews with key informants Fatos advice doing so well in advance as these key people in the community are likely to have a busy schedule they need to fit you into.
Consider cultural and religious diversity
Many communities are not culturally or religiously homogenous. This is the case in communities where the Red Cross is working, in Albania community members are predominantly Muslim or Catholic while in Mexico the largest religious groups are Catholics and Adventists. These groups have different days for worship and different religious holidays which need to be taken into consideration when creating plans.
Consider fiscal planning schedules
To the Practical Action team in Nepal it was important to complete the FRMC process in time to ensure that the results were available for the community to approach local government about the interventions they’d identified a need for during the budget planning phase.
How much time should you set aside for the data collection?
Again, it depends on the size and context of the community, as well as how much staff you have available. Said and Fatos advice that one household interview takes around 40 minutes, dependent on how much the interviewee elaborates on their answers.
Brenda advises that you set aside plenty of time for community engagement work and community mapping as investing in these aspects of the work pays off, not only in the quality of the work but also in the smooth running of data collection.
Big thank you to my Alliance colleagues!
This blog is based on interviews with the following Alliance colleagues who have all been closely involved in the roll out of the FRMC into new communities: Brenda Avila Flores, Country Programme Coordinator and Jimena Cuevas Portilla, Knowledge Manager at Red Cross Mexico, Fatos Xhengo, Country Programme Coordinator and Said Bushaj, FRMC Lead at Red Cross Albania, Bikram Rana Tharu, Project Manager and Madhab Uprety, Knowledge Officer at Practical Action Nepal, and Miguel Arestegui, Project Manager at Practical Action Peru.
If you want to learn more about the FRMC or access guidance on how best to use it you can do so on our dedicated FRMC page.
You can find the previous blog in this series on how to engage with the community here. The third blog is focused on the importance of including the voices of marginalised groups in the collected data and how the teams have approached this.