Micro-regional planning in Mexico (1992-1995)

In five of the most impoverished municipalities in Guerrero State, Mexico, the mechanisms and early impact of Micro-regional Planning were studied in a population of 77,000 people in 700 communities from 1992 to 1995. Micro-regional Planning translates local epidemiological research results through participatory analysis into information suitable for communication and local action planning. Outcomes are subsequently assessed and the results used to reinforce confidence and skills of the communities and municipal planners.

The development of CIET’s SEPA model began during these interventions. We used a variety of communication strategies to promote participation, based on local consultation about the channels most likely to be effective (in the photograph, Guadalupe Victoria residents talk about the results of a study about diarrhoea). In one municipality, health committees were formed and trained in the control of water quality. In another, the municipal authorities hired health promoters to communicate the results beyond their own communities; a song taught to school children promoted oral re-hydration and house-to-house interpersonal discussions promoted water chlorination. In the poorest and most mountainous municipality, radio casera (home-made radio) soap operas were broadcast to each community, using local “stars”. This was supplemented by broadcasts from the state-run regional radio station. In the largest and most disparate municipality, training of teachers from primary and secondary schools was the first step in the development of a child-to-family communication scheme. The impact of the various communication strategies was measured in terms of changing knowledge, household practices and uptake of services.

Survey data were used by the communities to obtain financing from UNDP, the British Council and the State government for local improvement projects.

Final results and methods of the project are presented in the Master’s thesis of Dr. Ascencio Villegas Arrizón, former CIETmexico director and current president of the Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero.

Funding for this project came from Canada’s International Development Research Centre.