Introducing cultural consensus models to speak cultural truths to program design

Session Number: 2186
Track: International and Cross Cultural Evaluation
Session Type: Panel
Tags: adaptation, climate change, gender analysis, Gender-based violence, Justice Sector Reform
Session Chair: Roseanne Schuster, Arizona State University [Director of Monitoring, Learning, and Evaluation; Global Impact Collaboratory - Arizona State University]
Discussant: Peggy Ochandarena [Director, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Practice - Chemonics International]
Presenter 3: Roseanne Schuster, Arizona State University [Director of Monitoring, Learning, and Evaluation; Global Impact Collaboratory - Arizona State University]
Time: Nov 03, 2018 (11:15 AM - 12:00 PM)
Room: Hilton - Center St. Meeting Room A

Abstract 1 Title: Title: “When you have money, you get justice”: Power and disadvantage in accessing formal and informal justice in Haiti
Presentation Abstract 1:

Justice system reform in Haiti seeks to reduce corruption and build public trust. Prior to reform activities, a formative evaluation was conducted to characterize how individuals in three judicially underserved communities resolve conflicts. The evaluation used randomly sampled household surveys (n=4,055), cultural consensus surveys (n=810), in-depth interviews (n=48), and focus groups (n=24) to triangulate justice resolution mechanisms. Few respondents accessed the formal justice system to address conflicts (0-18% by community). Wealth and status were the cost of entry and factor in obtaining favorable resolutions in the formal justice system. Women who experienced rape and other forms of gender-based violence commonly sought informal justice and were treated differently based on marital status. The mixed methods data – including the high proportion of non-responses to cultural consensus items on gang activity - demonstrated the authority of gangs as an informal justice mechanism. This evaluation identified the existence of parallel justice systems accessed differentially depending on individual’s “power”.

Presentation 1 Other Authors: Christelle Safi, Alexandra Brewis, Roseanne C. Schuster, Peggy Ochandarena
Abstract 2 Title: Giving Power to Seldom-heard Voices for Gender Assessments
Presentation Abstract 2:

Gender assessments are frequently done at the outset of projects, typically by consulting sources other than hard-to-reach vulnerable populations. We will describe how we used the cultural consensus model (CCM) as a cost-effective measure to validate gender assumptions and conclusions in marginalized communities. Anthropologists use CCM to elicit information in a specific cultural domain and assess variation within that domain and within subgroups. This method has broader utility for program designers and evaluators who use it to identify cultural norms, beliefs, and behaviors central to program objectives. We will present how we used this method to test assumptions about gender-based violence in general and “honor” killing in particular, sharing how we identified cultural statements from program documents, assembled the survey, trained local staff to administer it, and our findings. Participants will learn the theory and design for this method, and how to apply it in international development projects.

Presentation 2 Other Authors: Sereen Ahmad Mahmoud Alakhras, Peggy Ochandarena, Roseanne Schuster, Alexandra Brewis
Abstract 3 Title: The communities speak: Need for adaptation strategy across gender, age, and geographic vulnerability to climate change in Mozambique
Presentation Abstract 3:

Climate change has increased frequency and intensified flooding in Mozambique. A formative evaluation was conducted for a community-level behavior change program to increase climate resilience in two coastal cities. The goal was to understand perceptions and behavior surrounding climate change adaptation, climate smart houses, latrine, trash disposal, home water collection, and mangrove usage and protection. The evaluation included stratified random household surveys based on mapped vulnerability to climate change (n=3,226), cultural consensus surveys (n=433), in-depth interviews (n=57), and focus groups (n=10, 104 participants). Across gender, age, and geographic vulnerabilities, community members reported climate change threatened livelihoods, food supply, and health. Mangroves were important to erosion protection as well as financial autonomy (e.g., firewood, construction materials). Individual behavior and municipal failings were both identified as sources of trash system dysfunction. The evaluation suggested poverty, poor infrastructure, and weak social institutions exacerbated climate change impacts and engagement of municipal leadership is necessary.

Presentation 3 Other Authors: Gilberto Muai, Deborah Freitas, Alexandra A Brewis, Peggy Ochandarena, Amber Wutich
Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract (150 words): 

Conducting quality formative evaluation is key to preparing effective norms and behavior change programs and designing appropriate monitoring and evaluation. But formative evaluations can be time consuming and expensive. Therefore, we used the cultural consensus model (CCM) into two formative evaluations and one gender assessment across different programmatic and cultural contexts to surface cultural truths of seldom-heard voices. CCM is used within anthropology to elicit information and assess variation in a specific cultural domain and has small sample size requirements. The evaluations focused on climate change adaptation (Mozambique), justice systems strengthening (Haiti), and gender assessment in the context of ending violence against women (West Bank, Palestine). In this session, we will present findings for each and critically reflect on the added value of the CCM. CCM has broad utility for evaluators for unearthing cultural norms, beliefs, and behaviors central to program objectives.