Julie Pisani Nanaimo March 26, 2012

Hello,

Here at the Regional District of Nanaimo, we are in the beginning stages of program development for a Rural Water Quality Stewardship program, using the CBSM model.

We have run into some difficulty with regards to offering a stipend for community members (target area, random mail-out) to attend our focus group sessions. Our Board of Directors feel uncomfortable offering money ($40 in this instance) for people to come to a focus group in case it sets the precedent for paying people to come to ALL public meetings. It is our challenge to show that this stipend is only used as a part of the CBSM PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT process, and why it is necessary.

I am wondering if there are any cases out there where a local govt had a policy passed for CBSM Program Development Strategies, that condoned the use of stipends to encourage participation of the less-engaged.

In our target area, it is a rural audience, with medium to low-income, middle-aged single people or couples. Our rationale is that if we offer $40 to attend our focus group (to discuss barriers and benefits), we will get a more representative cross-section of the target area, rather than just all the keeners! We are also striving to do all our CBSM program development in-house.

Basically I would like to see examples of other local govts that have used stipends in program development, as a precedent for us. If your government organization has successfully held paid focus groups for CBSM program development, it would be great to hear about your experiences and how your have made it politically acceptable in your area.

Thank you!

Julie Pisani
Special Projects Assistant - Team WaterSmart
Regional District of Nanaimo
Canada