Watch our new film: SABI infographics provide vital feedback on essential services

SABI infographic

SABI and its partner Restless Development have developed more than 3,600 ‘handmade’ infographics to present vital data about essential services to communities where literacy is low.

SABI has been working across Sierra Leone to raise communities’ awareness of, and demand for, public services such as health, education and social protection. An important first step was a nationwide citizen perception survey, to get an accurate picture of the situation on the ground.

Young volunteers, coordinated by Restless Development and using smartphones to gather data, went into communities to ask people about their views and experiences of accessing services. The survey results were analysed to be fed back at community meetings, where they would be used to inform local action plans.

Making data meaningful

But finding ways to share the data with people who had contributed was a challenge – especially in areas where people have low literacy skills.

 

 

‘If we share the data that was collected in the form of graphs, mountains of text, [many community members] will not easily understand the idea,’ Prince Kenneh, of Restless Development Sierra Leone, explained.

‘The whole idea of SABI is to amplify their voices, to let [community members] know exactly what services are going on in health, education and social protection, so they can step up – and also to get some level of involvement.’

After discussing the challenge with SABI consortium members, Prince proposed using a series of infographics to feedback information to communities. He developed a set of black and white images – and a template which project staff and volunteers could use to turn their local findings into infographics.

SABI infographics

‘I love creating things. But [creating] images that represent people’s actual voices, and that interpret data – I had never done anything like that before.'
Prince Kenneh, Restless Development, Sierra Leone.

SABI infographicThe pilot

‘It was not an easy job. For the first round we focused on six indicators: three for health and three for education. So for each of those indicators I developed a template for an infographic. When you think we have 606 communities, it’s 606 times 6. It took a lot to get right.”

Prince used simple software such as Microsoft Paint and PowerPoint, and downloaded images from the internet to supplement his own drawings. No specialist software was required.

More than 3,600 infographics have now been printed on posters, with information on the back to help volunteers to explain them and answer questions. Also on the back is a request for feedback, so that the graphics can be improved in future phases of the SABI programme.

 

The posters were recently tested in communities, during a project visit alongside SABI’s funder, the UK Department for International Development (DFID). ‘We tested it and it’s working. We got a lot of good comments,’ Prince added. ‘[DFID] said that the images are great and it’s helped people to see, not just to hear, the feedback.’

SABI believes if people can see their views being accurately represented, they will have a powerful incentive to engage with the programme. The creative visual approach is proving a key part of the project’s work to help citizens become informed and empowered, so they can hold service providers to account.


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