The paper is divided into three sections: I) origins of PRA - its advantages and disadvantages; II) the potential applications of PRA in family planning, health and nutrition. This is discussed with specific reference to India and three stages of PRA development are envisaged i) techniques which are simple enough to be applied on a routine basis with local health workers acting as facilitators (verbal feedback on healthcare performance, recording of seasonal trends, village mapping and verbal autopsies). ii) techniques in category i) which work well might then be applied on a continuous basis to monitor and manage service performance iii) PRA is then used in a more formal way to facilitate research and development. III) suggestions are made on how PRA might be institutionalised, again using the Indian example. NGOs are considered to be vital to institutionalize the PRA process. The speed at which governments are able to absorb PRA techniques will be determined by the rate at which suitable NGO support for the process can be made available.
This paper is intended to encourage staff within the World Bank and health planners in borrower countries to consider the uses of PRA techniques.
IDS H1, IIED G2 JT2
Asia Technical Department, World Bank