Reference Sheet S
Selecting EVCA tools and assessment methods
Tools are instruments designed to collect and record data, for example from a formal questionnaire or a table drawn on a flipchart. You can develop a new tool, or adapt an existing tool, to be more appropriate or relevant to a specific community or context. Besides the secondary data review and community factsheet completed in Stage 1 above, some of the most common tools included in the EVCA toolbox are: a historical profile, a seasonal calendar, a Venn diagram, a Resilience Star, mapping, a transect walk, a problem tree, and many more.
In the process of selecting the relevant tools for one community or context, remember that there is no single EVCA tool that must be used in every context. The selection of tools will depend on many criteria (see tip below). Some tools are more appropriate for a specific part of the risk assessment. There is no need to use all the tools as time will not allow for this and several tools achieve similar results. While the list of tools may appear intimidating, many will produce similar information. This means a choice must be made.
Tip: Criteria to use when selecting EVCA tools
What the community feels is meaningful, and can retain and learn from.
The specific context of the community (urban/rural, size, etc.).
What is already known about the community (through secondary data, literature, studies and previous visits).
The suitability of the tool to assess hazards, or vulnerabilities and capacities, and to assess the resilience characteristics/dimensions.
The number of tools and skill sets available within the EVCA facilitating team and volunteers.
The limitations linked to available time, budgets, technology, etc.
Next, select methods for your data collection. The most common methodologies to collect data are focus group discussions, key informant or semi‑structured interviews, and direct observation. Some of the tools listed in the EVCA toolbox work better with a specific method, while others are flexible. For example, it is rare to conduct a mapping exercise with a single interviewee; they are usually conducted as a group discussion. Transect walks on the other hand can be conducted with an individual as a mobile key informant interview or with a group of farmers, making it more like a group discussion. Meanwhile, surveys are typically never conducted in a group. The risk assessment should be as participatory as possible (as much as time and resources will allow), while using a variety of methods to allow the team to triangulate information from different sources. Agreeing on the method to be used for each tool is useful for planning and implementing the EVCA accordingly.