Activists for Social Alternatives

ASA's Experience in New Villages

This report provides one answer to the question: Is it possible to do PRA in a totally new area? PRA was tried in 25 new villages in Tamilnadu, India, from which Activists for Social Alternatives (an Indian NGO) answer the question positively. Moreover, they were more relaxed there. They walked into a village and introduced themselves. A group convened in a Panchayat building and mapping of the village began. Village history was discussed. Trends in food, cropping and livestock rearing were discussed. Finally, seasonality was discussed.

Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) Initiatives

This booklet introduces the PRA work of Activists for Social Alternatives, in Tamilnadu, India. Recognising that their efforts were not reaching the poorest, ASA was introduced to PRA in 1990. The development of RRA and PRA is described, and placed in relation to other participatory methodologies. Key principles of PRA are outlined, viz. reversal of learning, learning rapidly, offsetting biases, optimising trade-offs, triangulating, seeking diversity, facilitating, self-critical awareness, responsibility, and sharing. Practical approaches and methods are listed.

PRA in Watershed Management

Activists for Social Alternatives (ASA) is an NGO working in the rural areas of Tamil Nadu in south India (01). This video records a four-day PRA run by ASA which focused on the watershed in two villages, and also acted as a training workshop for NGO activists (03). During the first day of the workshop time lines and maps were drawn to illustrate the social composition and health aspects of the village (05). The findings of each group were presented to the other villagers at the end of the day so the accuracy of the information could be cross-checked (09).

PRA Workshop on Women's Issues

The video documents a three-day PRA exercise which was carried out by Activists for Social Allternatives (ASA) with village women in Tamil Nadu, India. The PRA focused specifically on issues relating to women, and also acted as a training exercise for NGO representatives. The exercise began with a discussion of the participant's expectations of the workshop (02). They then divided into four groups to do family profiles, village mapping, village modelling and time-lines, each with a focus on women (03).

Participatory Rural Appraisal : an Initiation in Tamil Nadu

This is a report on an 'experience sharing' workshop, the objective of which was to discuss different organisations' experiences, which are reproduced in an informal format. There is a discussion on the use of PRA. Four of the case studies given are PRAs for training social forestry officials, indicating the way in which training was done, along with a few comments on its suitability and some examples from village visits. This is predominantly about RRA not PRA.

Kotappatty Micro Watershed Development Programme

This is a midterm participatory evaluation report of a watershed programme in Tiruchirappalli, South India. The project used PRA techniques (integrated with other methods) in the planning and impact evaluation stages. The report includes a detailed background to the programme and quantitative findings. No detail is given on how the PRA activities were carried out as the emphasis is on the information collected, including case-studies on the impact on women's status.