At certain times of the year, there may be particular pressures or struggles that people face. Sometimes, ways to reduce these pressures may develop through discussion, helping community members to plan better for the future.
One simple way of measuring these pressures is to produce a seasonal calendar. Draw a simple chart showing the months of the year. Working in small groups, think about different issues throughout the year. For example:
- household income
- farm labour
- water supplies.
Give each group 48 beans or small stones. Look at each issue in turn and distribute the beans appropriately for each month of the year. An average month would have four beans. If, for example, income or health is a real concern one month, put many more than four beans. In months when health or income is good, put less than four, even none. Encourage plenty of discussion. When each calendar is finished, come together to discuss and learn from each group.
- Who will record what each group has found and note down any important comments or information? How will the information be kept safe?
- How does household income change throughout the year? When do households have most income? When do households tend to have less income? Is there any way of reducing the problems we face during particular seasons?
- How does farm labour change throughout the year? When do households need to do most farmwork? How do households cope? When are the less busy times of the year? Is there anything that could be done during these times to make life easier during the very busy times? How does it vary for different groups in the community?
- Are there particular health concerns at different times during the year? What might cause these problems? How do households cope with these health issues? Is there anything that could be done to improve health at these times? How does it vary for different groups in the community?
- Are there links between different issues? For example, people may be in poor health when labour is most needed because they are hungry.
- What other important issues could be looked at in this way?