Disability continues to remain at the core of underdevelopment, and yet has failed to attract due space in mainstream development processes despite the paradigm shift in conceptualizing disability from the bio-physical medical model to a social model with work premised in a rights-based approach. Recognizing the need for mainstreaming disability within development by building wider alliances within the development sector, a participatory action research (PAR) project was initiated in Gujarat, India. Using self-reflexivity, the article examines the experiences of participatory approaches from a disability perspective. It discusses the potential of participatory approaches in: revealing a community’s own and distinctive definitions/conceptions of disability, invisibility of persons with disabilities at the village level, unequal access to essential services and creating an educational space, both for persons with disabilities and others. It further outlines the limitations in failing: to ‘accommodate’ persons with disabilities owing to methodological inadequacies in field level exercises and in providing space for persons with disabilities to resist domination, themselves. The article identifies the re-emphasising of the researcher-subject power differential in participatory approaches from a disability perspective and calls for research strategies which are emancipatory for persons with disabilities.
This PGIS Training Kit has been developed by CTA and IFAD with the objective "to support the spread of 'good practice' in generating, managing, analysing and communicating community spatial information". It includes 15 modules written by a number of authors and is available from the website
Rigour can be reductionist or inclusive. To learn about and understand conditions of complexity, emergence, nonlinearity and unpredictability, the inclusive rigour of mixed methods has been a step in the right direction. From analysis of mixed methods and participatory approaches and methods, this article postulates canons for inclusive rigour for research and evaluation for complexity: eclectic methodological pluralism; improvisation and innovation; adaptive iteration; triangulation; plural perspectives; optimal ignorance and appropriate imprecision; and being open, alert and inquisitive. Inclusive rigour is inherent in participatory methods and approaches, visualisations, group-visual synergy, the democracy of the ground and participatory statistics. Transparent reflexivity, personal behaviour and attitudes, and good facilitation are fundamental. Fully inclusive rigour for complexity demands many personal, institutional and professional revolutions.
These guidelines are the result of dedicated work originally in Bangladesh, where this approach was developed, and subsequently in Malawi where it was applied and improved. The document explains the Community-led approach to development (CLA), examines its successes, defines the key principles and goes on to detail the main stages of using this approach to development. It concludes with future challenges. There is a short animated film entitled ‘Citizen-led approach’ that accompanies these guidelines.