Research is the foundation upon which the framework of sustainable development and equitable community development is built. There are three main objectives for the Research being undertaken by SDC:
- To enhance through in-depth description and analysis community members’ and policy makers’ understanding of key community issues
- To facilitate the engagement of civil society in planning and implementing activities
- To provide more context specific data for programme design /interviews
The research component of the SDC’s work is built on the premise of its core values; participatory and inclusive. Information is generated through a participatory process where community capacities are built and ownership of the data collected is engendered. The SDC employs rigid data quality strategies to ensure the accuracy of its information and is working to position the baseline data accumulated in these processes at the centre stage of national planning processes.
We believe that data must form the base for any discussions on development issues facing our communities and processes of data collection must be owned by the communities. As such the SDC possesses the expertise in not only quantitative methodologies but also participatory methodologies which allow for our communities to be engaged in and empowered thorough the exploration of various aspects of community life.
Elements of Research
- What – The collection, analysis and management of all data related to sustainable planning and development.
- Why – For informed and accurate decision making regarding development alternatives and choices.
- Who – For all actors in the development process especially facilitators and decision makers.
- Where – The Jamaican Communities Database – for storing, accessing, manipulating data for planning, and participatory monitoring and evaluation of the development process.
- How – The utilization of a variety of qualitative and quantitative research Methodologies largely facilitated by the CDOs
What is this participatory research?
It is activity by which communities highlight the current reality of their area and the available resources. Without such information it is very difficult to effectively assist the community. It also helps the SDC to inform itself and others about the needs of a community. With this information the community and other partners who are willing to assist are now able to work together towards development.
What kind of information is collected?
All information collected is pulled together into Community Profiles: The profiles will tell us where the community is located and what the needs are.
The profile includes:
- The exact location of the community
- Description of the community
- Population of the community
- How people make a living
- Available social services
- Community organization and participation
- What is needed in terms of water, electricity and communications
How is the information collected?
- Members of a community are the ones who provide the information for the Community Profile: The SDC through its Community Development Officers provides support through:
- Training you in data collection
- Providing the material needed including questionnaires, flipcharts etc.
- Conducting community meetings and workshops
- Assist in the preparation of the final profile to be shared with interested partners.
How is the information used?
- It guides the process of development by allowing us to see where the real needs are, and what kind of development is appropriate for a community.
- It serves as a practical guide for the justifying some of the economical, social, political and environmental needs of the community.
- It provides current information on the conditions of a community, enabling others to see those communities needing immediate attention.
- It assists in the development of programmes in terms of who will benefit, the appropriate location, and, the kind of programme needed.
- It provides an idea of the problems underlying social programmes, including the effectiveness of the programmes.
What information do we have available?
We currently have 224 Community Profiles available; in addition to this you can access the following information for all 785 communities in Jamaica:
- The community organizations in each
- Description of exact location of the communities
- Existing community centers and their condition