Exploring the potential for primary environmental care in squatter communities in Salvador da Bahia

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Discusses the methods of collecting information during a field-study carried out in Brazil, in the health district of Pau da Lima. It was intended to provide a learning experience for students as well as to explore the local potential for Primary Environmental Care (PEC) and to produce a number of recommendations to local bodies. Possible actors, conditions, means and resources to promote PEC within the Pau da Lima district were investigated. PEC integrates three components: empowering communities, protecting the environment, and meeting needs. The first step was a preliminary identification of present and future potential actors in PEC in the Pau da Lima district. A Rapid Appraisal (RA) was conducted in three squatter communities within the district, focusing on felt problems; interests and priorities in PEC; forms and conditions of community organisation; and instances and conditions of community-based action. Methods used include: review of secondary data, informal disucssions with informants, direct observations, laboratory analysis of water samples collected during the observation walks, life history interviews, focus groups and ranking exercises, semi-structured interviews. While the study found the RA methods useful, it suggested that they may not be sufficient to identify community-based solutions to specific problems. The techniques in "Making Microplans" (Goethert and Hamdi 1988) provide an example of how this action-oriented phase could proceed.

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This article would be of use to researchers, fieldworkers, policy makers, planners and managers.
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RRA Notes
A more detailed version of this report is available from the authors c/o Istituto Superiore di Santa, International Course for Primary Health Care Manager, V. le Regina Elena, 299, 00161 Rome, Italy.
16 (July 1992)
IIED, 3 Endsleigh Street, London WC1H ODD, UK