Worker-led participatory research and evaluation: lessons from the real world: reflections of the SREPP participants

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In 1997, four US union health and safety training programmes entered into a three-year, multi-union learning-action-research collaborative, the Self-sufficiency Research and Evaluation Pilot Project (SREPP). This initiative sought to build the research and evaluation capacities of the participating unions trainings by offering a new model of participatory learning and action in the area of worker health and safety. Existing examples of participatory action research in this field have tended to concentrate on single worksites and start with a stakeholder labour management model. By contrast this project has sought to foster participatory learning across programmes from a union perspective. It uses and expends on the peer training model to institutionalise a new base of worker produced knowledge. During the last of SREPP's four training workshops participants reflected on their experiences in the project through a series of participatory activities. In this article the background to the project is followed by the words of SREPP participants describing what it takes to learn about and do participatory evaluation in the context of union-based, worker-led health and safety training programmes. This includes a look at what was learned, and how, as well as supports and barriers to participatory evaluation and the model that they have developed.

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No. 38
81 - 84