GENERAL
Youth participation in field monitoring
May 20, 2019
BY EMMANUEL BAYO
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STORY CONTINUES

UNICEF Education Specialist, Zena Amury (on the left) addressing U-Reporters from Mbeya City at the Mbeya UNICEF sub-office.

With a huge global focus on Adolescent and Young People (AYP) programming, Tanzania Country Office (TCO) continues to refine its strategy every passing year all for the purpose of strengthening meaningful participation of young people across it’s programmes in 2019 and beyond. 

Eyes4D is a relatively new thinking conceived between Malawi and Tanzania country offices in the 3rd quarter of 2018 to better understand opportunities for youth participation in programme field monitoring. The term Eyes4D was coined to loosely reflect the notion of young people as ‘eyes and ears’ of programme intervention in the immediate communities of implementation. U-Report was leveraged to i) identify active young people participating weekly via SMS on various topics polled and; ii) extend invitation to these U-Reporters to two design workshop planned for in two districts in Mbeya region.

Objectives of the design workshop included:   1. Unpacking selection criteria for young people participation in Eyes4D. 2. Articulate and enlist package of incentives that would sustain meaningful participation of young people on Eyes4D in the short to mid-term. 

The two design workshops organized attracted 14 and 16 U-Reporters from Mbeya City and Mbarali districts respectively aged between 18-26 years. In Mbeya City, the workshop was hosted at the UNICEF sub-office whereas in Mbarali, at the Regional Commissioners conference hall. During the workshop, several HCD approaches were applied to unravel incentive factors from that’d guarantee meaningful engagement of young people on Eyes4D. Stakeholder mapping was applied to identify & cluster together relevant partners around a ‘power and interest’ continuum. “Mafiga” (cooking pot) was used an illustration for identifying specific motivation factors without which participation on Eyes4D would not be sustainable. A risk assessment exercise guided by three 4 UNICEF staff clarified potential risk factors and importantly how to navigate each.

Stakeholder mapping exercise underway by one of two teams in Mbarali

The key findings that emerged from the two workshops are bulleted below: 

Minimum selection prerequisite for U-Reporters on Eyes4D. 

  • Aged between 18-24. 
  • Must be willing to volunteer and demonstrate passionate about contributing positive change to his/her community.
  • Must have basic reading and numeracy skills.
  • Should reside within the locality of an intervention implementation.
  • Should be a local in the community where the intervention is being implemented.
  • Must be an individual who respects and values time.
  • Must be self-confident.
  • Must be a team player.

Top motivators for sustained participation 

  1. Basic training on programme monitoring. 
  2. Certificate & awards as recognition for work accomplished. 
  3. Introduction to all key government stakeholders as well as close working collaboration with the UNICEF Mbeya office.
  4. Identification cards and stationary i.e. pens, notebooks, mobile phones (smart phones for taking photos in the field)
  5. Transport reimbursement (TZS 5000 – 6000 p/day) and/or airtime voucher.
  6. Timely follow-up of issues escalated to UNICEF.

Potential risk factors (and mitigation strategies) 

  1. Erroneous reporting. ( Reporting in groups + taking pictures to serve as evidence)
  2. Misconduct of U-Reporters while in the field. (Group / individual contract or equivalent modality with all participants; PSEA training administered to all participants) 
  3. Physical harm of U-Reporters while in the field. 
  4. Individual reputational risk exacerbated by the fact that U-Reporters identity is known especially when reporting on sensitive issues. (group monitoring; introduction to all relevant service providers and local government officials; issuance of IDs) 
  5. Poor management of the Eyes4D project. (timely reporting and follow up)