Notebooks

The basic principle of PALS is that people need to really value their learning, and that money should not be wasted producing thousands of manuals and toolkits given out for free that people do not use. Only the first champions are given notebooks. Then in the peer sharing process other people buy their own.

One idea developed in Tanzania and Kenya as part of the Hivos galsatscale process, and currently being considered for Ethiopia, were simple notebooks for the champions to sell.

Basic idea

Champions would receive notebooks with the core tools and information printed on the front and inside cover at cost price. These would be of varying quality and price to on-sell at market price to people in their peer sharing network, schools etc. Based on a market assessment by the champions. The margin being then used as a community fund for eg savings and credit seed money, women’s rights, youth work etc. As also decided by the champions.

 Aims

1) to give the champions a means of attracting more people into their network once they have got sufficient experience with training and facilitation. It also enhances champions’ status and makes the methodology more visible and ‘official’. It is also a way of recruiting more active champions who then also on sell and maintaining the core messages.

2) to increase promotion and outreach of the main gender/youth messages and the tools to a very large number (thousands) of people to start to bring them into the system and motivate them to learn more. In Tanzania focusing on schools for example led to potential outreach of thousands just in one community. In both Kenya and Tanzania the focus is also on private sector and cooperatives as part of Good Agricultural Practices technical training.

3) to create a sense of common community – notebooks can be updated and reprinted each year with photos and/or contacts/names of ‘top ten champions’ as a means of social recognition.

4) to bring children into the system as an entry point to their parents. If children use the books and colour in their own visions, share these with parents, who then also do theirs, then this is also a way of consolidating relationships in the family bringing in fathers as well as mothers.

5) to build up community funds – people pay for the notebooks, but the money does not go back to the provider but into a transparent community fund. Maintaining the principle of ‘no free lunch’, but making sure that the lunch money is collected for common benefit.

6) to promote the contacts of lead persons who can be hired in further replication in other organisations, and also ethical branding  for national and international organisations in the process.

Suggested contents

The printing is only on the cover, both sides and back and front so 4 pages. These would be a combination of:

  • short development messages eg Women’s Rights in CEDAW on back cover
  • pictures and short steps of the 4 main tools in that process on the inside of the cover 2 at the front and 2 at the back. In Tanzania people were literate so very short Swahili text was given. That would also be appropriate for eg schoolbooks. Where people cannot read and write the the pictorial tool steps can be shown. But the aim is just to remind people of the basics so they do their own drawings on the other pages, but also still have the standard main steps to share with others to whom they may sell notebooks.
  • contact and organisational information, maybe list of top 10 women and men champions, and logos and contacts of sponsor organisations.
  • standard boxes for person’s name etc.

Viability

Discussion with champions in Tanzania and with printers indicate that this would be viable if the scale of on-selling is large enough to do a bulk order of over 10,000 books with one design. This would be possible with promotion through schools and coops.

It is the best use also of any project money for materials – instead of more glossy toolkits you can reach many thousands and encourage self-reliant learning.

Options

Different versions at different prices can be produced – for example very cheap black and white colouring books on different coloured covers for the very basic messages and then more glossy ones for livelihood tools  when people are ‘hooked’ on the methodology.

In Tanzania people said the most popular notebooks would be ones that were specific to different communities eg with pictures of a local landmark. But these would also be more expensive to produce. A combination of the following were developed:

1a) Deluxe full colour with photos of the villages and champions and catalyst tools outside and inside the cover.

small size. These would be relatively expensive and need to be subsidised either by the printer as part of their CSR and/or by the private sector company as part of their brand promotion – with both the logos on. That is the preferred option for the champions.

Illela Notebook Swahili: Daftari_Illela_darkblue_Swahili_20_24.5cm

Ngima Notebook Swahili 20×24.5cm: Daftari_Ngima_darkblue_Swahili_20_24.5cm

Same Notebook coloured draft:  Daftari_Same_darkblue_Swahili_20_24.5cm

1b) Counterbook size with all the tools on the back cover. This would reduce printing costs but maybe smaller market. Maybe do one of these for the whole process with pictures from all the locations.

1c) Use this for the livelihood rather than the basic tools. Once people have been attracted to the system through the cheap standard notebooks.

2a) Cheap standard notebook with just one (black) or two (green or red and black) on cheap paper

This could be used as a colouring-in book as a more active experience. That would be very good for eg promotion for school children – maybe promoted in a school class by a teacher from the process. This could be available at the same price as other school exercise books.

GALS Notebook Black and red small

2b) A counterbook or A4 version could also be done with all the tools just on the back cover.

3) Calendar format

Another option considered was to design calendars eg with a Multilane Plan and some photos of champions instead of the standard corporate calendars that companies and organisations give out.

Issues

  1. Market research needs to be done with champions based on what they think people will buy, but also including printers to advise on types of paper, colours and types of images to put together something that is both impactful and cost-efficient. This needs to be sustainable in the longer term – once the first market push creates demand.
  2. Need to understand the literacy levels of proposed customers and produce different versions.
  3. Notebooks are not a substitute for proper peer sharing – handing a notebook to someone for them to buy is not sufficient. This would need to be made clear to the champions, and also people buying them.
  4. How would the pre-financing be arranged between the implementing organisation, private companies/coops and champions?