TARSC has used participatory and community based research methods to explore the research issues brought to us by community and public sector organisations. We work with organisations to design, build skills in and implement community based research using a range of methods. We aim for scientific quality, innovation and relevance to communities and to public services in our research work. We aim to demystify research as a tool for building and using knowledge.
Community based research training: building skills at community level
TARSC is a member of the Community of Practitioners in Accountability and Social Action in Health (COPASAH). In October 2013 with COPASAH and EQUINET TARSC hosted regional training in participatory reflection and action methods for strengthening community focused, primary health care oriented approaches to social accountability and action. The training aims to raise community voice in strengthening the resourcing and functioning of primary health care (PHC) systems through the use of participatory approaches to build community roles in accountability and action.
Community Monitoring work at TARSC draws on experience and methods from UN and public sector sentinel surveillance programmes, and the monitoring of nutrition and food security by civil society. The current Community Monitoring Programme at TARSC is commissioned and guided by six membership based civil society groups and aims to monitor social and economic progress at community level. The programme supports with evidence the efforts by state and civil society to improve conditions at community level.
The Community Monitoring Programme compiles information at least quarterly from community monitors in about 250 sentinel sites in all districts of Zimbabwe.
The information covers key indicators of social and economic progress identified by monitors, by participating organizations, and by feedback from national institutions. The system is subjected to scientific and peer review and reported nationally. It has many features of other participatory approaches in systematising, organizing and presenting the experience of ordinary people.
The quarterly survey reports are available on the website.
Latest Community Monitoring publications
Participatory Action Research
Participatory action research has been the cornerstone of much of our work. Drawing on our experiences and skills in the use of participatory methodologies, we have worked with community based organizations and social groups to bring their knowledge and abilities into research and into development of programme and training materials. Our participatory research has covered areas such as prevention of child sexual abuse, adolescent health, occupational health, community health, food security, HIV and AIDS and community participation in local government health systems. TARSC supports organisations to design, implement and report on participatory research studies.
Community photography Since 2005, coordinated by Training and Research Support Centre and Ifakara Health Institute, institutions in EQUINET organisations working at community level have carried out participatory action research studies in nine countries in east and southern Africa, exploring different aspects of community interactions with health systems. In 2008, we went further and used photography as a tool for visual literacy and to support reflection and action, and trained community members in photography skills. These country teams and examples of their work are presented in a book of community photography on the TARSC website.