What are some potential logistical challenges in conducting a site visit for Wash'Em? What are some ways to overcome those challenges?
November 2021: Logistical Challenges
November 2021: Logistical Challenges
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From my humble view of point, the majority of challenges was to get needed permissions from local authorities to conduct site visit to the hard to reach areas. We've had managed to use our very good networking with community leaders, camp management as well as decision makers at federal level to facilitate the site visit.
Thanks Hussein, in general does the process of acquiring permission from local authorities significantly delay your work?
Yes Taya... indeed it does delay our work and I can say that materials are usually not an issue especially in our case where agencies are ready to implement but due to lack of permissions and related NOCs these activities get delayed
Means of transport maybe a potential challenge in cases where geographically the site is not ideal. This requires adequate planning with required resources to make the visit a success.
Time available on site might be an issue, which can be tackled by combining 2 Focus Groups Discussions with the same group of participants, as this saves a lot of time finding new people.
Liked the thorough list including the point of considering if giving remuneration for the times the target audience representatives will be engaged in would be necessary. In some places, this would be needed. How this could be decided, planned, and managed at the best interest of program could be challenging. One of the ways of addressing this could be by selecting the participants with some sort of random process. Use of random selection and paying for the time spent could also make the participants more attentive and engaging in our exercise.
Hi Laxman, is providing remuneration standard practice where you work? Will it be hard to get people to participate in you don't provide some kind of incentive?
Thanks Yaya. It is not. I have so far provided remuneration only in one place.
Thanks for pointing this out Laxman. I was actually thinking about if it is advisable to provide incentives for participants. In some cases for example like doing FGDs for market research, there is a certain incentive or renumeration for people's time. I'm actually wondering about the pros and cons of doing the same thing in emergency settings. Would appreciate any experience on this from colleagues and what type of incentives to provide
Actually, all problems during a site visit are due to poor coordination and luck of resources .
The purpose of site visit should be shared with front line manager , security , relevant governmental offices and community leaders if we miss one step among ALL these can lead to UNWANTED result and even can put stuff lives in danger.
The most difficult part is when you are on field 1500 km away from office has no place to spend a night surrounded by high security threats and still deal with people from the community who don't find their personal benefit in project and u try to get their consent in order to make the visit successful. All these are possible only by STORNG COORDINATION WITH ALL THE INVOVLED PARTIES. According to my experience.
I think one of the big challenge is on how to get appropriate permission go visit affected areas, for example in war zones, where there is displacement, people are kept as much as possible together so as to ensure that there is no misinformation, military might also be busy to get all kind of relevant information.
I think the most challenging based on my experience on other activitie might be the time and getting all the selected FGDs with the same group participants. Plus accommodation when away from the field office and not possible to getbacking. This requires adequate planning and needs to be ensuring the all accessibility.
from my experiences is the transportation, because the geographically sit, some IDPs camp is far away from city and this cause us a time to go and back to office and next day go to the same sit
Good organisation, a level of pragmatism in what can be achieved in the timescale and great patience with a back up plan or two are all important logistics ideals. Security guidance needs to take precedence when it comes to questions such as should we continue travelling or turn back, if we can't get there in good time. But I am coming from an international NGO perspective - do others have different views?
one more I would add to all that has been said around permission and ensuring community participation is making sure that we conduct our research at a time that is good for the community. Often in emergency responses there are expectation for communities to attend lot of things - distributions, awareness sessions, registration etc so good coordination with the community and other stakeholders is important
Among many challenges, the communities unable to catchup easily during participating like FGDs. So, knowing your audiences ahead and preparation ahead how to simplify to our audiences mandatory and when we become facilitating more and more, we able to improve progressively.
According my experiences, I think the most challenge is transportation, In our country which is the most of the slums are very crowded and narrow road for transportation. So It is hard to provide some activities by household level.
I've been interviewing humanitarian staff for a couple of projects and access for site visits is difficult/ impossible in so many cases. It's the norm rather than the exception. The reasons may be different (weather, roads, lack of fuel, gangs, security, government permission) but the impact is the same. Some methods to get around the challenges are working with partners, using photos and videos, and using other opportunities to visit. NFI distribution or construction activities may be permitted, so these can be used to gather information informally. This may mean using engineering staff rather than HP staff to collect information or implement activities. It may mean that "walking and talking" and observations are possible rather than formal focus groups.
Fore seen challenges are and follows with proposed solutions; Clearance from the local authorities /government to conduct exercise, blocked or impassable roads, security, delays in delivery of supplies, bad weather, language barrier, resistance from the communities, these can be countered by doing prior visit to the place to learn the context, prior communication with local leaders, ahead of time procurement of supplies, prior seeking of approval from leadership as well, and having some escort security team in places with volatile security.
In some countries, you must have permission to conduct these meeting. This can be challenging as the local authorities may be reluctant to allow you do the work smoothly.
In other areas, communication challenges are common. Infrastructures may be dilapidated hence getting to the target communities becomes a big challenge
Communication barriers is also a challenge as in some communities they only know their local languages.
Ways of addressing the challenges
Use of the local representatives to seek for permission from the local authorities works well. Thus through the local leaders, you will be trusted and allowed to have access to the area.
Doing a reconnaissance in the target are will be prudent to ensure that you use the mode of transport which can enable you reach your target area. Other than vehicles one can use motor bikes depending with the area.
Use of local people to translate the local language will give one a better landscape of addressing the local communities incase they only know the native languages.
One are i have encountered challenge is on translation. i have heard meetings where one community member speaks for more than 2 minutes and the translation i get is either one sentence or one word, to whoever is translating. and when you probe the translator, not much information you get,
I have not conducted Wash'Em. however, in my normal community consultations, there are challenges which i have encountered. one is on the issue of prior information of community members on your intended meeting with them. sometimes, the members assigned to relay the message end up not providing detailed information. you end up having a meeting with members who are not key stakeholders, thus have to reschedule. secondly, you might reach and find they have a major function and cannot attend your meeting.
We had to develop plan to inform community members one week before the day of the meeting, thereafter, either call and/or visit them one day before the meeting to ensure all members required are available. However, on few instances we had to postpone due to an emergency (death, government officials visit unannounced etc)
Logistical challenges is road accessibility in some areas, depending on season.
I also foresee, disruptions in the field due to time needed to conduct Wash'Em. You might reach the community and there is an emergency which necessitate postponement of the session. Thirdly, not to have planned enough. this is potentional challenge where you do not get the right group to conduct your sessions.
Fourthly, is season, if the season is for i.e planting, you might not get the right participants for FGDs
In my experience, there is a challenges of transportation, coordination with the target groups, and venue to conduct the FGD.
Similarly, if the place is far way from where we are, there is a difficulties to manage to resident.
Comprehensive list to go ahead with the assessment. Ethical clearance can be a challenge in some settings, which I believe in within the the protocol clearance.
If we conduct FDG and coordination meetings about the workshop before actually starting the workshop, this will make site visit easier. This will also help to know your participants and plan for the logistics required for the workshop.
In a displaced situation like the Rohyngya Camps in Cox's Bazar, the major logistics challenges for the Wash'EM can be:
What do you think?
One of the challenges we experienced in conducting FGDs during the pandemic (although not in a disaster or displacement setting) is the need to consider health protocols while doing the FGDs. Government restrictions on conducting face-to-face group gatherings means that we needed to find other ways to conduct the FGDs. So what we did was an assisted online FGD, where people stay in their homes and are provided with mobile phones/tablets that have internet connection. A person is assigned to wait outside their homes to assist them in case they get dropped off or if there are other technical issues. A facilitator conducted the FGD online. In other cases I've heard of, they did face-to-face FGDs but outdoors and following social distancing and mask wearing protocols.
Access to humanitarian space can be always a challenge, as well as obtaining the appropriate government permissions if need.
The identification of a safe place in which conduct the activity can be a challenge, privacy and confidentiality might be difficult in some emergencies.
Some challenges include identifying who to include in a FGD and once identifying making sure they can turn up to the discussion, getting to site can also be challenging, making sure that all the materials are printed and ready to use especially if the site is remote. Some ways to overcome these challenges are to work in conjunction with local groups e.g. women's groups or youth groups if they already exist, being open, inclusive and friendly so that people feel comfortable and making a checklist and plan for all the works that need to be completed in advance of going to site.
The profile of the participants that we want to include in the assessment should be carefully planned out as conflict/hierarchical relationships among people can restrict essential data from being shared by the participants. For e.g. sometimes when adolescent girls are included in a FGD along with their mothers or other elders in the community, they are unwilling to share information, or might not be able to communicate freely. Therefore, getting the right mix of people can always be a challenge. Coordinating the time and arrangements ( location, setting) when all the people will be available for the FGD is another challenge, hence needs to be considered at the outset. Ensuring privacy, safety and confidentiality of all the participants involved is essential but can be challenging during some situations.
In my view the following are potential challenges that I feel are faced while conducting site visit during emergency response;
How to overcome the challenges;
The logistical prepartion contributes also to the success of an activity. planning and preparation for logistics makes the works/training half done. coordination is very important. For example yu will be conducting a handwashing demonstration but the venue of th etraining does not have provision for a handwashing area. Another example, you need to use some training materials that cannot be purchased in the community, this should be done prior. The one assigned in logistics do an excellent job when logistical requirments are done as planned. thus it is important ot conduct a pre training meeting to check the checklist for logistical requirments. But sometimes even good preparation will have glitches, thus Plan B should also be discussed.