208853 Using Participatory Action Research to Form Realistic Avian Influenza Prevention Behaviors

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 9:15 AM

Anton Schneider , Global Health, Population and Nutrition Group, Academy for Educational Development, Washington, DC
AED and FAO collaborated on an eight-month participatory action research (PAR) study with farmers, village authorities and district officials in four villages in Lao PDR's Ban Posy, Naxaythong District to determine the feasibility of changing behaviors related to biosecurity in preventing and controlling avian influenza. Use of a PAR, rather than other types of research, was deemed crucial in helping to change the behaviors of an entire a community -- and not just households or individuals.

The study included participant observation, individual interviews, focus groups, meetings with authorities, and PAR methods such as mapping, transect walks, matrix ranking, chappati pies and seasonal calendars. There were in-depth interviews with village authorities and elders; and four focus group discussions with village women and men (in separate focus groups). Results were presented to community and village authorities, along with a presentation by each village chief on the main problems and possible future actions. Project technical advisors assisted the villagers and their local leadership to formalize a prevention action plan.

For each village, the team looked at: the importance of poultry; how seasonal events and climate influence poultry movement, use and roles; gender roles regarding poultry; preferred information channels; how they protect themselves from poultry disease; and preferred village actions to prevent AI. These results were linked to village actions to prevent AI, and led to the creation of an action plan by the village chiefs.

The participatory process offered insight into villagers' interests and concerns about their lives, and helped them to visualize challenges they face in preventing AI. The participatory process served to create realistic and achievable community communications activities so that they are realistic and achievable, a crucial factor with a multi-faceted issue such as AI that has implications on livelihoods and health. Although the PAR process is labor intensive, once the tools are mastered, the process can be applied to issues beyond AI.

Learning Objectives:
Explain how a PAR (participatory action research) process was used to pinpoint realistic, achievable community actions to prevent avian influenza; Describe how villagers in Lao PDR view poultry, their related gender roles, and protection from animal diseases; Discuss how these insights were used to create an action plan to prevent AI.

Keywords: Infectious Diseases, Participatory Action Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Have presented at APHA in the past, have decades of experience in developing and implementing global public health communication programs, and have published peer review articles and book chapters related to behavior change communication. Am currently the Country Coordinator of the USAID AI.COMM avian influenza project in Laos.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.