Inclusive Participatory Research Through Photovoice: A Study on WASH and Nutrition in Afar, Ethiopia
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Designing effective interventions requires the inclusion and buy-in of beneficiary communities; however, because of constraints and context, fully participatory research can be challenging. The Afar people of northern Ethiopia live in what can be considered the very definition of 'challenging contexts'. Largely nomadic pastoralists, they navigate a harsh and unforgiving landscape, often having to travel great distances for water. In 2020, FMC undertook a qualitative research study investigating the attitudes and practices of target communities in Afar relating to nutrition and WASH. Using photovoice and community action planning methods, the project sought to ensure that all community members, particularly those most marginalised (women, those with low literacy and little formal schooling), were heard and felt like they had a stake in the research process. This SLH Learning Paper shares the most important findings, discusses the advantages and the challenges of using these methods, and speaks to the potential for their application in other challenging contexts.