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Hearing the voices of the poor: assigning poverty lines on the basis of local perceptions of poverty; a quanitative analysis of qualitative data from participatory wealth ranking in rural South Africa

This paper looks at the links between qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. Participatory techniques to investigate poverty have been used in development research and practice for some time, but have been used less in other fields. However there is increasing interest in using participatory methods in generating statistics to influence policy, and Participatory Wealth Ranking (PWR) is one tool widely used already. This paper describes the generation of poverty data collected in a large-scale application of PWR in rural South Africa.

Using participatory learning and action (PLA) in understanding and planning an adolescent life planning and reproductive health programme in Nigeria

This paper reports on the experience of the Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH) in adopting Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) in understanding the life planning and reproductive health needs of young people in Nigeria. The tools used were focus group discussions, key informant interviews, and in-depth interviews. The lessons learnt were that pre-marital sexual relations are major reproductive health problems amongst adolescents. The problems associated with these were unwanted pregnancies and withdrawal from school by young girls.

Using PLA in human rights assessment: the experience in Bangladesh

This brief paper is concerned with using Participatory Learning and Action (PLAs) in assessing poor peoples understanding of human rights and the law and in exploring options for building mechanisms to provide support and protection of their rights. The study took place in 42 villages in Bangladesh and was commissioned by the Bangladeshi Government channeled through the project, "Action Research for Institutionalizing Development of Human Rights in Bangladesh".

Lessons from malaria control activities in urban West Africa using a research-action-capacity building approach

This paper discusses how a community-based approach - Research Action Capacity-building (RAC) - can be valuable for malaria control and more specifically for the dissemination of insecticide treated bednets (ITNs), using the case study of a bednet project in N'Djamena, capital of Chad. A description of the concepts and methods of the RAC approach is given, along with a comparison with the like-minded approach of Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) - the RAC approach emphasizing that social change is its ultimate goal.

Petals and thorns: the dilemmas of PLA and debt bondage

A fundamental principle of successful participation is that participants are enthusiastic, interested and choose to take part. However, in some cases, community gatekeepers prevent some people from becoming involved, whilst forcing others to do so. This article, in PLA Notes, No. 40 examines the dilemmas faced by a community development project working with sex workers in Cambodia, bound by debt to their managers who, by not complying to their managers restrictions risk violent repercussions from them, as well as potential arrest by external authorities.

Using actor-oriented tools to analyse innovation systems in Bangladesh

The article describes experiences of using an actor-oriented approach to identify pro-poor interventions in chilli and livestock innovation systems in the char lands of Bangladesh. The article first discusses what is meant by an actor-oriented approach, the tools the authors have been developing, and then concludes with some of the issues raised by their experiences in Bangladesh.