Options conducts research to inform the design, monitoring and evaluation of health programmes. Options pioneered the use of PEER (Participatory Ethnographic Evaluation and Research), a qualitative research tool which informs health programme and communications design. By capturing voices of ordinary communities, PEER provides insights into social relationships and behaviour, while building the capacity of local organisations to carry out future research. PEER produces rich, contextualised data usually associated with anthropological techniques, but in a matter of weeks rather than months or years. It provides an insider's view of social relationships, health-related behaviour and beliefs, and channels of communication.
The PEER approach has been adapted for numerous health and social issues in over a dozen countries, and has proved to work equally well in non-literate groups. PEER has helped programmes to:
- understand barriers to uptake of reproductive health services
- design strategies for social marketing of condoms and contraceptives
- develop HIV prevention interventions and mass media campaign messages
- create interpersonal communications strategies.
PEER can also be used to monitor and evaluate the impact of programmes, by analysing changes in attitudes and anecdotes – ‘the voice on the street’ – in successive rounds of PEER research.
PEER provides timely and relevant intelligence and insight for policy makers and implementers, while bringing concerns of the target population to the forefront, and creating a starting point for dialogue between communities and programmes.
To learn more about PEER projects, go to www.options.co.uk/PEER
or contact Kirstan Hawkins