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Improving nutrition programmes through the promotion of quality coverage assessment tools, capacity building and information sharing.

Social mapping and relationships identification tool


The social mapping and relationship identification tool serves as a genuine visualization of diverse customary, religious and administrative authorities operating in the area of intervention and how they interact and are positioned on a power ladder. Reflections fueling the layout of a social map may provide a valuable insight into the distribution of key community actors and the complementarity of their roles. This may eventually lead to the identification of “stakeholder gaps”, juxtaposing current CMAM programme actors with potential players, whose capacities have not been explored extensively. It may also disclose less apparent power relations which may affect, in a positive or negative fashion, the actual implementation of the programme. Before the onset of the qualitative data collection the assessment team should be told to observe (and inquire on) the social organization of targeted communities. This preparatory work will facilitate the completion of the exercise which should be integrated into the team’s restitution days - preferably immediately after Stage I. The simple and unique objective of the exercise is to draw a diagram, which would represent a network of community actors and their relationships of interdependence, as disclosed during the primary data collection. The consultation of secondary sources may help to amend and/or validate the resulting diagram – but consensus on its final representation must be sought from all assessment team members.


The assessment team will need few sheets of flip chart paper and colour markers. 1. Tell them to think about all administrative, ecclesiastical, customary and health authorities and their relationships. “Who is at the head of the structure? Who is subordinate to whom? Who counsels / advises who? How do different authorities co-exist in the community? How do they communicate? 2. Ask the team to sketch a diagram, which would depict all actors and relationships among them 3. Ask the team to add communication channels used during each interaction 4. The whole exercise may take 30 – 60 minutes, depending on knowledge and skills available within the team. Encourage them to discuss in detail. Observe and guide them, as necessary. 5. It is recommended to pair the exercise with a “Seasonal calendar” and “Communication Channel Matrix”, dividing the whole team into three groups working independently. This arrangement may save some time but a presentation of each team’s work and a successive validation by the whole group must be planned for.