In this chapter, Robert Chambers and Nicholas Loubere have a conversation in which they discuss: the nature of Robert's research; his contribution to development; shifts in the methodological mainstream; inherent tensions in development research; the limits of freedom and participation; power verses democracy; ignorance, biases and misconceptions in research; local knowledge and multiple realities; how to move from extraction to co-production; positionality, engagement and dissemination; and pluralism and emergence. The text is based on an audio recording of an interview that took place at IDS in June 2014.
Despite great strides in improving sanitation in developing countries, some 2.4 billion people worldwide lack access to adequate sanitation facilities and the poorest and most vulnerable members of society are often not reached. Sustainability is one of the key challenges in CLTS and the wider WASH sector. Whether sanitation improvements endure depend on issues of equity and inclusion, social norms, physical infrastructure, sanitation marketing, monitoring and verification, post-ODF follow-up and the roles and responsibilities of governments, NGOs and donors. The achievement of “open defecation-free” status is now recognised as only the first stage in a long process of change and sanitation improvement.
This book examines these challenges, asking questions such as how we ensure that people access sanitation and sustain related behaviours, and how we reach the poorest with toilets that are suitable for their needs. It develops key themes by exploring current experience, innovations and insights, as well as identifying a future research agenda and gaps in current knowledge, and making recommendations and practical suggestions.
Participatory geographic information systems (PGIS) combine a range of feo-spatial information management tools and methods such as sketch maps, participatory 3D models (P3DM) aerial photographs, satellite images, global positioning systems (GPS) and geographic information systems (GIS). CTA has been in the forefront of activities to promote PGIS across African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.
Impact assessments undertaken in six ACP regions have documented how empowering PGIS can be for rural and at times marginalised communities. This publication documents some of the success stories that have emerged as a result of CTA’s initiatives in PGIS in recent years.
What we live everyday is not right: Partnerships for accountability and safer cities in South Africa
This report aims to provide inspiration and impetus to those making decisions about how to implement and monitor the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It shows how local level experiences and ideas can contribute to greater accountability and ultimately to increasing the impact of policies and initiatives aimed at reaching the SDGs. The work featured here focuses on how to make cities and informal settlements safer and more inclusive, taking as a starting point the extremely high levels of insecurity and violence that characterise daily life for many within townships and informal settings in South Africa.
This third edition of the The Sage Handbook of Action Research presents an updated version with new chapters covering emerging areas in healthcare, social work, education and international development, as well as an expanded ‘Skills’ section which includes new consultant-relevant materials. Building on the previous editions, Hilary Bradbury has carefully developed this edition to ensure it follows in their footsteps by mapping the current state of the discipline, as well as looking to the future of the field and exploring the issues at the cutting edge of the action research paradigm today.
This Reality Check was undertaken by a team of Nepali researchers, and carried out as a contribution to the mixed methods approach to monitoring, evaluation and learning commissioned by DFID Nepal to complement and assist the routine monitoring and evaluation of the Rural Access Programme 3 in Mid and Far West Nepal. It complements a ‘baseline’ RCA that was undertaken for RAP in May 2014.
"We are Healthy, Why Change?" Perspectives, Observations, Experiences of People Living in Poverty on Their Hygiene and Nutrition
The Reality Check Approach is an internationally recognised qualitative research approach that requires the study team to live with people in poverty in their own homes for a period of time and to use this opportunity to have many informal conversations and interactions with all the members of the household, their neighbours and with the service providers with whom they interact.
This study was jointly commissioned by a group of stakeholders including the World Bank, KOMPAK and the Knowledge Sector Initiative. It was designed to understand the nuances of hygiene and nutrition behaviour from the perspective of families living in poverty.
The study was undertaken in three provinces across Indonesia (Central Kalimantan, Maluku, and North Sulawesi), the same districts as those chosen for the Frontline Service Providers RCA study to enable further examination and triangulation of the dynamics between the community and frontline service providers.
Wealth-ranking is a participatory tool enabling people to group others in their community into wealth bands, and thus identify the very poor. The method has been developed to include the broader aspects of well-being – such as social standing and health – that people value as much as material wealth. It tells the story of the development of these assessment methods since the rise of wealth ranking in the 1980s and looks at the results of well-being ranking exercises and how they help identify important differences within communities and monitor changes in well-being over time. Exploring strengths and weaknesses of methods it suggests that understanding differences within communities is essential for good development aid work. The book goes on to describe the successful use of ranking tools over large populations and the value of using multi-dimensional models of well-being, and briefly explores the ideas used to make assessments of well-being at national levels.
Community report: a participatory approach to assessing the impact of ICT access on quality of life in KwaZulu-Natal
This report is based on the experience and findings of a group of 113 people who took part in a two-year participatory research project. This was known as the Community-Based Learning, Information & Communication Technologies (ICTs) and Quality of Life (CLIQ) project. The aim of the project was to find out if ICTs can have an impact on people’s quality of life.
Participants came from four poorer communities in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Through their local telecentres, CLIQ provided free computer training and use and alongside this, participants discussed their quality of life and their life goals at different stages of the fieldwork. Some telecentres were not operating as well as others and some people were not able to participate as fully as others. The CLIQ research showed that when people use computers, they can improve their lives.
Training is important and should be linked to the needs of people who should be supported in their use of computers to help them reach their goals. For this to succeed it is essential that they have good access to computers that work.
The report is in memory of Nonhlanhla Gema.
This paper provides conceptual and methodological guidelines for researchers seeking to undertake an urban participatory climate change adaptation appraisal (PCCAA), illustrated with examples from appraisals in Mombasa (Kenya) and Estelí (Nicaragua). It highlights the importance of hearing local people’s voices regarding incrementally worsening and often unrecorded severe weather. The conceptual framework distinguishes between the analysis of asset vulnerability and the identification of asset-based operational strategies, and sets out a number of methodological principles and practices for undertaking a PCCAA. This PCCAA addressed five main themes: community characteristics; severe weather; vulnerability to severe weather; asset adaptation; and institutions supporting local adaptation. For each of these, it identified potential tools for eliciting information, illustrated by examples from Mombasa and Estelí.
In 2006 oil was discovered in Uganda. With the country’s economy highly dependent on fuel imports, national oil production could make a long-term contribution to poverty alleviation. But for sustainable development to occur, participatory governance must ensure that people are involved in the decision-making processes affecting their lives. This paper, therefore, first analyses the adequacy of the existing legal framework on access to information and participation. Its findings show that although law and policy in Uganda indicate certain efforts to open up environmental decision-making processes to public influence, this is not the case in the oil production sector. On the basis of interviews and focus group studies it further examines the main practical barriers to better public participation. The author finds that in practice, public participation is subject to several financial, technical and political constraints. The culture of secrecy within government bodies, weak civil society structures as well as the politics of patronage remain substantive challenges for the fair and equitable management of natural resources in Uganda.
Participatory approaches and methods can generate quantitative as well as qualitative data. Mainly since the early 1990s, a quiet tide of innovation has developed a rich range of participatory ways, many of them visual and tangible, by which local people themselves produce numbers. The approaches and methods have variously entailed counting, mapping, measuring, estimating, valuing and scoring, and scaling, together with comparing and combinations of these, and have had many applications.
The methodological pioneers in going to scale in the 1990s rarely recognised the significance of what they had been doing. The pioneers of the 2000s have shown ingenuity, skill, patience and courage, sometimes in the face of opposition driven by conventional reflexes. Participatory numbers have been taken to scale most notably through participatory surveys with visuals and tangibles, through aggregation from focus groups and through wealth and wellbeing ranking. There have been breakthroughs in producing national statistics, and also on subjects and with insights inaccessible through questionnaires.
Statistical principles can be applied to participatory numbers. Ways have been found of overcoming the vexing problem of commensurability between communities. As with all ways of finding out, there are trade-offs, in this context notably between participatory open-endedness and standardisation for comparability.
The question 'who counts' - raises issues of ownership and power. Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PM and E) has taken many forms, with varied degrees of ownership and empowerment. Whether participatory statistics empower local people is sensitive to official attitudes and acceptance and whether these lead to changes in policy and practice that make a real difference. Questions are raised of the mix and balance of extraction and empowerment, and whether and how the quiet revolution of participatory approaches and methods can get the best of both qualitative and quantitative worlds.
This article describes the exploratory and preparatory phase of a research project designed to use co-operative enquiry as a method for transformative and participatory action research into relations between donors and recipients in two developing countries, Bolivia and Bangladesh. It describes the origins of the idea, the conceptual challenges that the authors faced in seeking funding, and what they learned from this first phase. The authors analyse why the researchers, as well as the potential subjects of the research, were uncomfortable with the proposed methodology, including the challenges arising from their own positions and the highly sensitive nature of the topic. They explain why they decided to abandon the project, and they reach some tentative conclusions concerning the options for participatory action learning and research in development practice.
The benefits of participatory methodologies to develop effective community dialogue in the context of a microbicide trial feasibility study in Mwanza, Tanzania
During a microbicide trial feasibility study among women at high-risk of HIV and sexually transmitted infections in Mwanza, northern Tanzania we used participatory research tools to facilitate open dialogue and partnership between researchers and study participants.
A community-based sexual and reproductive health service was established in ten city wards. Wards were divided into seventy-eight geographical clusters, representatives at cluster and ward level elected and a city-level Community Advisory Committee (CAC) with representatives from each ward established. Workshops and community meetings at ward and city-level were conducted to explore project-related concerns using tools adapted from participatory learning and action techniques such as listing, scoring, ranking, chapatti diagrams and pair-wise matrices.
Key issues identified included beliefs that blood specimens were being sold for witchcraft purposes; worries about specula not being clean; inadequacy of transport allowances; and delays in reporting laboratory test results to participants. To date, the project has responded by inviting members of the CAC to visit the laboratory to observe how blood and genital specimens are prepared; demonstrated the use of the autoclave to community representatives; raised reimbursement levels; introduced HIV rapid testing in the clinic; and streamlined laboratory reporting procedures.
Participatory techniques were instrumental in promoting meaningful dialogue between the research team, study participants and community representatives in Mwanza, allowing researchers and community representatives to gain a shared understanding of project-related priority areas for intervention.