Overview: Leveraging Community Level Data for Early Action Programmes: Temporal and Spatial Mapping of Community Livelihoods in Senegal
21 June 2022
Start Network implements a range of early action programmes to enable communities to act ahead of potential hazards. One of the challenges involved in delivering impactful early action interventions is ensuring that assistance reaches community members at the right time, i.e., before some community members are forced to resort to negative coping mechanisms such as taking children out of school, cutting down on meals or incurring debts for food provision.
Intervention timing can differ within the same country and from one region or community to another. Qualitative data collected from community members provides crucial insights that help us determine the right windows of opportunity for interventions. However, this longitudinal qualitative data requires time to analyse and infer lessons, which can make it difficult for decision makers who have little time to read detailed qualitative accounts.
Start Network, through our ARC Replica programme, collected qualitative data about the lived experiences of community members in various parts of Senegal over a six month period. This article explains the visualisations curated via Data Spoiler, and outlines the key findings from the monthly check-ins across 22 sentinel sites. It is intended for data practitioners and decision makers to enable them to:
1) Understand how community voices can inform early action programme design and
2) Explore new ways of using qualitative data to inform decision making around early action
During Senegal’s 2019 agricultural season, it was estimated that nearly a million people might be affected by a drought predicted to occur during the 2020 lean season (June to August, which is the period between planting and harvesting in Senegal). This triggered two parametric insurance pay-outs from the African Risk Capacity (ARC),4 totalling $23.1 million: a $12.5m pay-out to the Government of Senegal and a $10.6m pay-out to their complementary civil society partner, Start Network.
Start Network’s ARC Replica pay-out provided assistance to vulnerable communities across seven regions in Senegal. The assistance primarily consisted of cash and fortified flour distributions by six Start Network member organisations: Action contre la Faim (Action Against Hunger), Catholic Relief Services, Oxfam, Plan International, Save the Children, and World Vision. More information about the 2020 ARC Replica pay-out in Senegal, including when distributions took place, as well as other ARC Replica programme interventions can be found on the Start Network website.
To ensure the project would fit the needs of communities, Start Network put in place a community early warning system and conducted consultations across Senegal. This was intended to build knowledge around the most appropriate timing for delivering assistance, as well as provide insight into challenges and changes that were occurring in these geographical areas. Community early warning systems supplied real-time input, to ensure appropriate and inclusive programming and optimum support to communities. These community surveillance systems were designed to support our remote data collection approach, which we chose to ensure that monitoring of emerging factors remained possible when restrictions and travel bans were imposed as a result of COVID-19. This article provides an overview of the visualisation, going into some detail for each of the themes, and including some quotes from community members.