Innovative Solutions to

Global Health Challenges
Maricarmen Valdivieso, Executive Director Nexos Voluntarios
Laurent-Charles Tremblay Levesque, Nutrition and education intern

THE IMPORTANCE
OF PARTICIPATORY
ACTION RESEARCH
IN DESIGNING
NEXOS
VOLUNTARIOS’
CHILD NUTRITION
PROJECTS

An introduction to Nexos Voluntarios
Nexos Voluntarios (NeVo)
A global community creating bonds for Sustainable Development
¤  Nevo is a Peruvian Non-Profit Organization that works in the UpperAndes, primarily with indigenous Quechua speaking communities.
¤  NeVo receives support from committed and caring volunteers from
different parts of the world who are interested in serving
communities that require support in order to have a better life and
improving the wellbeing of its members and children.
¤  NeVo aims to provide a sustainable development to those who
most need it as well as striving to learn about different cultures.
¤  6 development projects: (1) responsible community tourism
initiative; (2) lunch box programs; (1) Initiative against racial
discrimination; and (1) reproductive health program.

Nexos Voluntarios Model

Introducing: Participatory Action
Research (PAR)
Traditional participatory
research methods:
¤  Observations
¤  Interviews
¤  Questionnaires
¤  Group discussions
¤  Spider diagrams
¤  Resource mappings
¤  Seasonal calendars

•  Participation
(life in society
and
democracy),
•  Action
(engagement
with experience
and history)
•  Research
(soundness in
thought and the
growth of
knowledge)
Chevalier and Buckles
(2013)

“First” attempt at adapting PAR
methods to children (photovoice)
Born into Brothels. Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski, dirs. 85 min. New
York: THINKFilm, 2004.
¤  Origins:
Wang and Burris "participatory photography” in China 1992.
¤  Plot:
Briski’s work with eight children of prostitutes in Sonagachi (red-light
district of Calcutta. She established a weekly photography workshop for
the children similar to other participatory projects (e.g., PhotoVoice,
Institute for Photographic Empowerment) using photography as a
means of empowering impoverished children. -- Joshua Hotaka Roth
(Mount Holyoke College)
¤  Distinctiveness:
“Rather than treating children as objects of a voyeuristic interest, these
projects teach the kids to document themselves, at the same time
developing their self-confidence and a marketable skill. Briski’s goal is to
get the children out of what she considers an abusive environment and
spare them their mothers’ destiny as sex workers.” -- Idem.
¤  Critique:
reinforces the neo-colonial approach towards development

Adapting PAR methods to Children
Visual methods
¤  Premise:
Childhood represents a form of socio-spatial marginalization
¤  ‘Special position of exclusion’ from the adult world (Matthews and al.
1999)
¤  Such position becomes particularly essential in the construction and
design of child spaces (e.g. school, playground etc.)

¤  Goal:
¤  Encourage as much as possible children-led activities, while reducing to
a minimum the researcher's involvement in the design of a project.

¤  How:
¤  Children collect information on their socio-spatial environments
¤  Children develop and discuss the narrative associated with the visual
representation

PAR methods adapted to Children
Visual methods already used:
¤  Four visual PAR methods that have been adapted to
children:
1- Mental depot
2- Daily time lines
3- Thematic and non-thematic drawings
4- Photo diaries

¤  Why visual methods?
¤ 
¤ 
¤ 
¤ 

Shyness with semi-structured interviews
As to demonstrate child spatial development or awareness.
Language barrier
Fun and interactive nature (i.e. child compatible)

PAR methods adapted to Children
1- Mental depot:
¤  Representing the relative
importance of places according
to a child.
¤  Reveals hidden places
¤  Ex: Kampala (Uganda) street
children (Young and Barett 2000)
2- Daily time lines:
¤  Coded scheme of various
activities undertaken within a
day (e.g. symbol for eating)
¤  Downside: taboo or illegal
activities omitted

Source: Young and Barett (2000)

PAR methods adapted to Children
3- Thematic and non thematic drawings:
¤  Ex: leisure, family, school, animals
¤  Allow freedom of expression
¤  What is portrayed (only nonthematic)
¤  How it is portrayed (thematic and
non-thematic)
¤  Relative advantage:
¤  Solicit discussion (oral justification)
¤  Develop artistic sense
Source: Young and Barett (2000)

PAR methods adapted to Children
4- Photo diaries:
¤  Dual purpose:
¤  Identifying community concerns
¤  Empowering mechanism
¤  Relative advantage:
¤  Excellent coverage
¤  Access to “hidden areas”
¤  Tool for discussion
¤  Triangular method
Source: Young and Barett (2000)

The Kuychi Wasi Project
1- Lunch box program:
¤  3 to 5 lunches a week complementing the Peruvian national school
feeding program (Q’ali Warma)
¤  Goals:
¤  Combat undernutrition
¤  Provide information about
nutrition
¤  Promote healthy habits
(e.g. washing hands)
¤  Increase attendance,
performance and retention

The Kuychi Wasi Project
2- Kuychi Wasi school garden:
¤  Production of fruits and vegetables.
¤  Goals:
¤  Achieve self-sufficiency in the lunchbox program
¤  Provide technical knowledge
¤  Provide information about healthy
foods
¤  Provide information on organic smallscale organic practices
¤  Increase attendance, performance
and retention through weekly
gardening workshops

Child PAR & the Kuychi Wasi Project
PAR methods employed:
1- Thematic drawings (Draw your ideal school & draw your ideal
garden)
2- Photo explorations (photograph for a day)

1- Thematic drawings (Draw your ideal
school & draw your ideal garden)

2- Photograph for a day (photovoice)

Kuychi Wasi’s experience with child
adapted PAR
Semiotic lessons:
¤  “Constructed” realities (drawings)
¤  Animals vs. gates
¤  Vegetable vs. flowers
¤  “Real” realities (photos)
¤  The garden as an extended
playground

Kuychi Wasi’s experience with child
adapted PAR
Semiotic lessons:

Conclusion and discussion
PAR methods adapted to children
q  Inclusive and democratic method – inclusion of children’s voices
q  Children as “meaning producing” members in a project (Young and
Barett, 2000)
q  Empowering method through self-assertion
q  Difference between children-centered and children-led

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