Picture Power: Understanding resilience through a community lens

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07 Sep Picture Power: Understanding resilience through a community lens

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‘Rarely do we get a chance to capture the genuine voice and input of women, men and their agency within our resilience programmes. Of course, one can argue that we capture their contribution at the design stages using elaborate participatory processes, such as the PVCA, and that our routine monitoring activities ensure their participation and engagement. However, measuring, gathering and analysing community feedback has always been a challenge.

Through participatory photo-based evaluations, for the first time in many years, we are able to incorporate genuine community voices and perceptions into what impact our resilience interventions have. We can now further investigate the soft and hidden issues that surround our work. This has mostly been left out by conventional methods of information extraction which deny us these rich insights. Our ability to zoom in and focus deeply into the communities’ interpretation and view of our PPA resilience interventions has become sharper, more targeted, credible and cost-effective.‘ – Jimmy Obuya, programme officer, Christian Aid Kenya

Since 2011, members of Kalawani community, Makueni County in lower eastern Kenya, have been working with Christian Aid and our partner ADS Eastern on a Thriving Resilient Livelihoods programme funded through Christian Aid’s Programme Partnership Arrangement with DFID. As part of a PPA outcome assessment & review process in March 2015, three community photo monitors from Kalawani were trained in ‘vernacular’ photography and the basics of Most Significant Change story methodology. Their role was to spend two weeks in the community talking to other members and capturing the impacts of the project – both positive and negative – through photography. The monitors then captioned their photographs, explaining the significance of each picture. A selection of photos was also exhibited in the community and a validation exercise was carried out.

The resulting collection, categorized according to Christian Aid’s six Resilience Components according to our Thriving Resilient Livelihoods Framework offer a unique insight into the key areas that members of the Kalawani community feel are helping to build their resilience. They can be seen in this report.