From time to time, data that COCO requires can be difficult to obtain and, therefore, the way in which it is collected has to be considered carefully and strategically.
One subject that often proves problematic is finding out about children’s families. For some children, the structure of the family is a sensitive topic and so direct questioning can be inappropriate. What’s more, holding the attention of nursery pupils can be challenging in itself.
As a result, COCO has had to come up with a child-friendly method to collect information in this field and it has been largely successful. Working in Tanzania recently, COCO asked younger children simply to draw pictures of their families for the team. In doing so, the task was transformed into a fun activity for the children and the chance of upsetting them over what could be a delicate issue was minimised.
Unfortunately, this method does have some drawbacks. Given that many do not understand the purpose of the task, it can be inaccurate as certain children just replicate the example family they are shown. On top of this, it can often be hard to distinguish family members in the drawings as stickmen do not always clearly distinguish gender or age.
Having said that, the majority of the pictures did provide an insight into the children’s families, with some children making gender particularly easy to determine!