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Effectiveness Initiative : first fruits [whole issue]

October 2001

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Describes the emerging findings from the Effecitveness Initiaitve (EI), an open and flexible dialogue between ten international sites investigating good practices and lessons in early childhood development. Includes description of a variety of tools and strategies that have been used `for listening to different voices' and for finding out information about each of the projects. These include the `river analogy', used to construct a visual history of projects in Peru and Colombia; the farm land `machamba' analogy form Mozambique that helps people to analyse the evolution of community based early childhood development sites; seasonal calenders from the Philippines; meetings and debates from Portugal; different forms of open and unstructured interviews; personal diaries and `family books'; and the analysis of anecdotes and stories in almost all the teams. This issue looks at a range of the projects and a number of issues related to the EI enquiry, such as: looking at how `Atlas-ti' qualitative analysis software has been used to identify common elements of effective programming while retaining links with the original qualitative data - charting both 'thematic affinities' and diverse local expressions of what makes for effectiveness; and how data gathered by the projects is returned to all the people who provided it for challenge and modification in open meetings; also describes the way different kinds of information were collected, compared and `triangulated' to confirm findings. Key findings include: that `credibility', built on trust and respect of local priorities, is vital; also simply creating room for reflection and research by those involved in projects is an important component of making effective programmes; and conducting research in the local language helps to get at issues that are important for participants and staff

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