This book explores the international diffusion of Participatory Budgeting (PB), a local policy created in 1989 in Porto Alegre, Brazil, which has now spread worldwide. The book argues that the action of a group of individuals called ’Ambassadors of Participation’ was crucial to make PB part of the international agenda. This international dimension has been largely overlooked in the vast literature produced on participatory democracy devices. The book combines public policy analysis and the study of international relations, and makes a broad comparative study of PB, including cases from Latin America, Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa. The book also presents a new methodology developed to examine PB diffusion, the ‘transnational political ethnography’, which combines in-depth interviews, participant observation and document analysis both at the local and transnational level.
This practitioner research, carried out by women’s empowerment organisation FAMM Indonesia, brings the voices of young women – a group consistently excluded from decision-making spaces about the allocation of local government resources – into the conversation about social accountability. Barriers to young (especially unmarried) women’s participation in public spaces include the prevailing view that doing so violates social norms, young women’s often low level of education, and family expectations. Many young women have internalised their marginalisation and lack the confidence to participate in community forums.
This paper describes participatory action research carried out in partnership with eight grassroots Indonesian women’s NGOs. Preliminary focus group discussions laid the foundation for a series of movement-building initiative workshops to strengthen rural young women’s leadership capacity, encourage critical awareness and develop their roles as community organisers. Young women’s social engagement can generate criticism and backlash, which may lead to their losing interest in public forums. As well as empowering participation in formal meetings, the research suggests that young women can overcome closed spaces through building on informal relationships and collaborations. And young women’s involvement in producing creative content (print, audio and multimedia) for use in community organising is used to strengthen their self-esteem and abilities.
The paper ends with a reflective conversation between Niken Lestari of FAMM and Francesca Feruglio of MAVC. They discuss the kind of capacity-building needed to enable young women to overcome barriers to their engagement in local governance spaces, and thus fulfil their own declared potential to contribute much more to the development of their communities.
Translating Complex Realities Through Technologies: lessons about participatory accountability from South Africa
Accountability is a complex issue in South Africa. The country has high levels of inequality, and marginalised groups – as in many countries – struggle to make themselves heard by those in power. Yet the issue is further complicated by an interacting set of factors, including the legacy of apartheid, gender and religious issues, and the lack of access to those in power.
Through a six-year research project, the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation (SLF) used a range of technology-enabled participatory processes to unpack this lack of government accountability. This report focuses on four case studies, which examined the lived realities of marginalised groups and the activists that campaign on their behalf: activists against gender-based violence and for community safety; community care workers and health committee members working for public health; informal traders and the informal economy; and traditional medicine, Rastafarian bossie doktors and indigenous rights.
Using a multi-method research process, SLF supported these groups to work together and identify the accountability issues that they felt were important, and then consider how they could raise their voice collectively to those in power and those who shape and implement policy. As well as providing valuable findings, which SLF fed into the policy dialogue, this process also strengthened the capacity of these groups to speak out – not least through the use of different participatory technologies including digital storytelling, filmmaking, PhotoVoice, geospatial mapping and infographics.
This report reflects on the different tools used, considering not just the effectiveness of the outputs generated but also how these tools can empower citizens and bring marginalised groups together. Lastly, the report reflects on SLF’s role as an intermediary organisation, and how this role can influence the path that marginalised groups take in their efforts to make government more responsive to their needs.
Two of the central challenges in building accountability for marginalised people are how to reach and meaningfully involve the most excluded, and how to establish the kinds of relationships that mean they can achieve, influence and expect government responsiveness.
This report explores how participatory video – an existing methodology for engaging marginalised people – can be adapted and strengthened to inclusively engage citizens and foster responses from decision-makers. It presents four propositions for achieving this.
Proposition 1: Ensure inclusive engagement during group-forming and building.
Proposition 2: Develop shared purpose and group agency through video exploration and sense-making.
Proposition 3: Enable horizontal scaling through community-level videoing action.
Proposition 4: Support the performance of vertical influence through video-mediated communication.
Each of these propositions is discussed in relation to three concepts that are important elements of accountability initiatives: enabling spaces, bonding and bridging communication, and power-shifting. The discussion draws on two long-term participatory video processes at five sites in two countries, Indonesia and Kenya. Many participatory governance and accountability processes – and the theoretical discourses and practical approaches underlying them – do not pay enough attention to the need to shape the relational conditions for accountability for marginalised social groups. This can perpetuate exclusionary dynamics. Extended participatory video processes can mediate relationships, but for them to do so, there is a need to develop more ethical and effective participatory video practice, and for more work on how to foster support from influential decision-makers.
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.
In this article Jo Guldi asks 'What is a participatory map and when did it emerge?'. She explores participatory democracy's search for new techniques and traces the history of participation going back to it's birth, through to its rise and fall in the West (1969-1978). She goes on to look at participation in social movements in the Global South in the 1970s, and highlights the rise of the walking tour in development economics. Map driven movements for control over cities and land are explored along with participatory maps online. Crucial elements such as power are considered in the context of mapping, and Jo also describes how collaborative maps became an indigenous tool for the Cree of North America when facing legal contestation of their native land.
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.
Turning the Tide: The role of collective action for addressing structural and gender-based violence in South Africa
The case study discussed in this Evidence Report explores the value and limitations of collective action in challenging the community, political, social and economic institutions that reinforce harmful masculinities and gender norms related to sexual and gender based violence (SGBV). As such, the concept of structural violence is used to locate SGBV in a social, economic and political context that draws histories of entrenched inequalities in South Africa into the present. The research findings reinforce a relational and constructed understanding of gender emphasising that gender norms can be reconfigured and positively transformed. It is argued that this transformation can be catalysed through networked and multidimensional strategies of collective action that engage the personal agency of men and women and their interpersonal relationships at multiple levels and across boundaries of social class, race and gender. This collectivity needs to be conscious of and engaged with the structural inequalities that deeply influence trajectories of change. Citizens and civil society must work with the institutions – political, religious, social and economic – that reinforce structural violence in order to ensure their accountability in ending SGBV.
This report articulates three strategies by which the poorest and most marginalised have attempted to ensure accountability from national and global policymakers to local people. It is a response to demands, articulated through the Participate initiative research conducted from 2012 to 2013 with extremely poor and marginalised groups, for greater participation and accountability in decision-making.
Participatory research with cooperatives, which are people-owned businesses, would seem a natural option. However, there is little discussion evident in this area, with risks of research instead bypassing the perspective of members. This article discusses two dairy farmer cooperatives in rural Kenya. It looks at how, even where research is directed and controlled by others (e.g. funders), it can still be undertaken with cooperatives in a participatory way. This is essential to preserving values and principles linked to member participation and decision-making, as well as of self-help and self-responsibility. Participatory approaches also provide interesting insights into the way cooperatives operate.
We can also make change: piloting participatory research with persons with disabilites and older people in Bangladesh
This report represents the findings of The Voices of the Marginalised pilot research project. This was carried out by a consortium that included Sightsavers, HelpAge International, ADD and Alzheimer’s Disease International. The research sought out real-life stories of persons with disabilities and older people, and aimed to enable a better understanding of their experiences of social, political and economic exclusion, from their own perspectives. The work was carried out in Bangladesh, the world’s seventh most populous country and one experiencing rapid demographic change.
This IDS Bulletin is entirely based on the global action-research project Valuing Volunteering, commissioned by Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), a UK-based international volunteer cooperation organisation, and conducted by researchers at IDS in partnership with VSO. The project explored how and why volunteering contributes to poverty reduction and sustainable positive change, and the factors that prevent it from doing so.
The research took a participatory and action-research approach and aimed to inform the learning and practice of both VSO and the volunteer for development sectors on how to work effectively through volunteers to achieve sustainable change. It produced 12 rich and detailed case studies, which cover a diverse range of expressions of volunteering: from international volunteers of different kinds – from the global North and South, short-term and long-term, young adults and professionals – through to community members engaged in informal self-help and community volunteering initiatives and national volunteering schemes. This research was carried out by four international volunteer researchers who spent two years in Kenya, Mozambique, Nepal and the Philippines.
While the data reflect the views of people in communities, the voice and analysis is that of the international volunteer. The perspectives expressed here are about volunteers’ contributions and their motivation to identify what kind of approaches to working as a volunteer make a difference. The Valuing Volunteering project goes beyond the immediate issues or concerns in the setting, and enables a deeper reflection on how people, processes and the environment that they are situated within influence one another.
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.
This fourth issue of the Voice for Change series is focused on children and their understanding of safe spaces, and their aspirations for each of those spaces such as water, sanitation, housing, open spaces, power and road and transport. It is the result of a series of engagements with these groups and attempts to amplify voices of these communities on issues underlying these questions.