We commonly use the visual analogue scale in the ED to measure pain. The visual analogue scale is a “measurement instrument that tries tomeasure a characteristic or attitude that is believed to range across a continuum of values and cannot easily be directly measured.”
This turned out to be a great measurement tool for the drought early warning system. Not only in its ability to measure perceptions in such a unique culture and context, but also it’s a tool that exists in a simple format, where a fingertip or penmark can translate into a number.
In this part of the world, village women are very keen on when their children become under/malnourished. Traditional measurements of child malnutrition like MUACs are commonly used but I’m pretty confident that pastoralists women don’t regularly walk around measuring their children’s arms with tape. But they believe they know when their children become malnourished before any NGO comes to measure their child’s upper arm. So why not complement intermittent nutrition assessments with monthly perception based VAS scales? And engage and empower women with their communities to share their views in this way?
With 25 indicators we built an information, communication and feedback system. And to implement this drought early warning system there were many training sessions. Here is a snapshot of our training in 2008.