A mixed method research approach was followed. The research was conducted in two purposively selected location of Dumki Upazila (sub-district) of Patuakhali District in coastal Bangladesh. Purposive selection is assumed based on research problem, time, budget and convenience of the researcher. In these unions, as part of the experimental design, 2 female farmers’ climate schools were established with the objective to tailor climate information service to the coastal female farmers. Each school comprises 50 participants therefore; total 100 was taken as sample. One female farmer from each selected farm household was taken as member of the climate school. Later in this context, the concept of CSA and CIS has been shared as decision support service. Data collection started on the 1st of December 2020 and completed end of December 2020. Data was collected through face-to-face interviews. A paperless interview was conducted using kobo tool box. Simple and direct questions were used. Four Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and 10 expert interviews were also conducted to triangulate the results. A separate control group 20 participants far away from the intervention group of the climate school was interviewed as a pretest of the questionnaire and for future comparison of progress. Kobo tool, Jupiter notebook, SPSS statistical software package and narratives were used to analyze the collected data.
Understanding female farmers’ demand also implies valuing traditional sources of information regarding weather and climate for farm decision-making. Therefore, study participants were asked to indicate the available information sources, the sources they usually use and information gap they have observed. When selecting the study participants, attention was paid on age, education level, involvement with agriculture and socio-economic conditions in determining group composition. Discussion topics of the FGD included exploration of their understanding on agriculture, climate related risks, their local farm practices (for example land use, crop choice, livestock keeping, harvesting and processing choice) for decision making and time slot they spent for farming. It was also important to analyze what are the current farming practices and how these are affected by weather and climate variability. Therefore, a year round farming activity calendar and a hazard calendar was prepared in a participatory approach together with female farmers. Participatory approach was followed because obviously these female farmers are more knowledgeable and experienced to tell about that.
Availability, quality and quantity of information sources were evaluated. The variability of the weather they experience and adaptive strategies they usually take were considered. The demand and access of study participants to climate information services was also assessed from the providers’ side through experts’ workshop (Annex-2).