Using Participatory Action Research Methodologies for Engaging and Researching with Religious Minorities in Contexts of Intersecting Inequalities
The sanitation and hygiene (S&H) situation in most of West Africa is considered to be a cause for concern, despite the efforts and the large campaign towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.2.
This rapid desk-based study focused on local governments, given their increasing importance in ensuring improved access to Sanitation & Hygiene (S&H) in West Africa, and across the world.
It was conducted to identify local governments that could be considered champions in the West African region and that demonstrated strong leadership in S&H; to understand why they have prioritised S&H, the support they received, the stakeholders, the management of inequalities, and the gaps in sub-national governments’ efforts regarding S&H prioritisation.
This is part of the Sanitation Learning Hub’s Learning Brief series.
Following widespread decentralisation reforms, including across Africa, responsibility for sanitation and hygiene (S&H) often sits with sub-national governments.
For some time, local government leadership has been recognised as key to ensuring sustainability and scale and it is an important component of the emerging use of systems strengthening approaches in the S&H sector.
From late 2020 to early 2021, the Sanitation Learning Hub collaborated with local government actors and development partners from three sub-national areas to explore ways of increasing local government leadership and prioritisation of sanitation and hygiene (S&H) to drive progress towards area-wide S&H. It is hoped that this work will provide practical experiences to contribute to this thinking.
Case studies were developed to capture local government and development partners’ experiences supporting sub-national governments increase their leadership and prioritisation of S&H in Siaya County (Kenya, with UNICEF), Nyamagabe District (Rwanda, with WaterAid) and Moyo District (Uganda, with WSSCC), all of which have seen progress in recent years.
The cases were then explored through three online workshops with staff from the local governments, central government ministries and development partners involved to review experiences and identify levers and blockages to change. This document presents key findings from this process.
This is part of the Sanitation Learning Hub's Learning Brief series.
Sharing of experiences and thoughts on addressing climate change impacts on sanitation at a local level are critical to evolving the sanitation sector.
SDG 6.2 calls for sustainable sanitation for all before 2030. Yet over 2 billion people still lack access to basic sanitation facilities. Ensuring good sanitation and hygiene practices for everybody means ending open defecation, tackling existing challenges with access and use, and ensuring all sanitation facilities are safely managed.
Climate change is an added complexity in an already challenging landscape – it exacerbates these challenges and has cascading effects on health and livelihoods. Climate change impacts disproportionately affect already disadvantaged and marginalised groups, jeopardising efforts to Leave No One Behind in the drive for sanitation and hygiene for all. There is a real risk that progress made in improving rural sanitation access and coverage will slow, or even reverse.
The global sanitation sector has taken initial steps to incorporate responses to climate change into rural sanitation programming and services. However, much of the discussion has focused on technological improvements.
There is limited actionable guidance on how the rural sanitation and hygiene sector can make systemic changes through planning and implementing project delivery, enabling demand, changing behaviour, addressing social norms, monitoring and evaluation, and more at the local level. Furthermore, the voices of vulnerable people, households, and communities who are at the forefront of experiencing climate change impacts on sanitation are largely absent in existing discussions.
This publication aims to address these gaps in rural sanitation and hygiene thinking through:
Rural sanitation practitioners already consider many types of risk in the design and implementation of programmes. This publication supports rural practitioners in civil society and government to add a climate lens to existing programmes. It provides the sector with a menu of options and ideas from a climate change perspective. It is not a prescriptive list or a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
Practitioners can draw on various ideas and parts of this guidance and modify them to suit specific programmatic and regional contexts. The quotes included are from interviews with sanitation and hygiene practitioners. They describe their experience with programming in contexts increasingly challenged by climate related concerns.
The Sanitation Learning Hub's Frontiers of Sanitation series provides practical, evidence-based guidance and recommendations on essential emerging issues and approaches to programming and learning.
Please note, there is a French translation available of this publication.
The CLTS Knowledge Hub, based at the Institute of Development Studies, convened a regional workshop in Arusha, Tanzania, 16-20 April 2018 with support from SNV Tanzania. The event brought together those engaged in rural WASH programming from eight countries across the region (Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia) alongside experts working at regional and global levels. Over the course of five days participants shared experiences, innovations, challenges and learning, and mapped gaps in knowledge with the aim of improving capacity and future learning, and building consensus on the way forward. SNV Tanzania also facilitated a field visit to its Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All (SSH4A) project areas in Babati and Karatu districts.
This learning brief presents the common challenges and barriers to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.2 that the workshop participants identified across the region. It summarises discussions held across the week, highlights promising practices and considers priority actions moving forward.
The brief is available to download in English (to the right) and also in French here.
The CLTS Knowledge Hub, based at the Institute of Development Studies, WaterAid, WSSCC and UNICEF co-convened a regional workshop in Saly, Senegal, 25th-28th June 2018 with support from AGETIP. The event brought together those engaged in rural WASH programming from 14 countries across the region (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic Congo (DRC), Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Togo) alongside experts working at regional and global levels. Over the course of four days participants shared latest experiences, innovations, challenges and research, mapped knowledge gaps and discussed ways forward with the aim of improving capacity and knowledge.
This learning brief presents the common challenges identified across the region, summarises some of the discussions held, highlights some promising practices and considers priority actions moving forward.
Inclusion of the most marginalised people through addressing discriminatory dynamics is central to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. This research report considers how the intersection of spatial, economic and identity-based factors drive poverty and marginalisation.
It provides insights into how participatory processes with people living in these intersections can contribute to developing accountable relationships between the most excluded groups and duty-bearers. It is based on data, analysis and reflections gathered through collaborative and participatory research in Egypt, Ghana, India, South Africa and Uganda, conducted with Participate partner organisations the Centre for Development Services, Radio Ada, Praxis, Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation and Soroti Catholic Justice and Peace Commission.
In these five settings, partner organisations or ‘translocutors’ have developed participatory action research processes to facilitate exchange between citizens and a range of duty-bearers. They have attempted to open pathways to accountability, through iterative stages of building confidence within the group, deepening contextual understanding, promoting dialogue between citizens and duty-bearers, and developing working alliances between groups and agencies. This report discusses these experiences, and draws out learning and recommendations on how to build inclusive and accountable relationships with marginalised groups through progressive engagement among stakeholders in different spaces and levels of the ‘accountability ecosystem’.
This paper focuses on an Immersive Research Approach designed by Praxis, the Sanitation Learning Hub at IDS and WaterAid whereby researchers lived in villages in recently declared open defecation free districts, to gain an in-depth understanding of ground realities and community perspectives of the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin.
The study shed light on key aspects and dynamics influencing local ownership, behaviour change and construction quality, and also revealed multifaceted exclusion processes. The immersive approach helped build trust with villagers and allowed a unique insight into the SBM in its ‘real life’ context, necessary to explore hidden dynamics and diverse perspectives, and understand the complexities involved.
Despite some practical challenges, undertaking immersive studies and experiences would be beneficial for improving the Swachh Bharat Mission and other sanitation programmes. The approach could be adopted pragmatically, but always respecting some basic principles and ethical behaviour.
The ‘Sustainable Total Sanitation (STS) Nigeria project –implementation, learning, research, and influence on practice and policy’, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, aimed to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, inclusion and sustainability of total sanitation approaches for the poor and underserved in Ekiti and Enugu States in Nigeria, and contribute to wider national and regional good practice.
Sanitation Marketing, also known as ‘SanMark’, is an emerging field that combines social and commercial marketing approaches to scale up demand and supply of improved sanitation facilities. It involves a more comprehensive demand and supply strengthening strategy drawing on social and commercial marketing as well as behaviour change communication approaches.
As part of the Sustainable Total Sanitation (STS) project, WaterAid Nigeria, in collaboration with community members in two states (Enugu and Ekiti)developed an affordable, accessible and durable sanitation product named the Water Easy Toilet (WET).
The project also aimed to generate learning on another sanitation approach – Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS). CLTS is one popular approach to increasing sanitation coverage. CLTS works with an entire community to identify the negative effects of poor sanitation, especially the practice of open defecation, and empowers them to collectively find solutions.
Accountability is a complex issue in South Africa. The country has high levels of inequality, and marginalised groups – as in many countries – struggle to make themselves heard by those in power. Yet the issue is further complicated by an interacting set of factors, including the legacy of apartheid, gender and religious issues, and the lack of access to those in power.
Through a six-year research project, the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation (SLF) used a range of technology-enabled participatory processes to unpack this lack of government accountability. This report focuses on four case studies, which examined the lived realities of marginalised groups and the activists that campaign on their behalf: activists against gender-based violence and for community safety; community care workers and health committee members working for public health; informal traders and the informal economy; and traditional medicine, Rastafarian bossie doktors and indigenous rights.
Using a multi-method research process, SLF supported these groups to work together and identify the accountability issues that they felt were important, and then consider how they could raise their voice collectively to those in power and those who shape and implement policy. As well as providing valuable findings, which SLF fed into the policy dialogue, this process also strengthened the capacity of these groups to speak out – not least through the use of different participatory technologies including digital storytelling, filmmaking, PhotoVoice, geospatial mapping and infographics.
This report reflects on the different tools used, considering not just the effectiveness of the outputs generated but also how these tools can empower citizens and bring marginalised groups together. Lastly, the report reflects on SLF’s role as an intermediary organisation, and how this role can influence the path that marginalised groups take in their efforts to make government more responsive to their needs.
Two of the central challenges in building accountability for marginalised people are how to reach and meaningfully involve the most excluded, and how to establish the kinds of relationships that mean they can achieve, influence and expect government responsiveness.
This report explores how participatory video – an existing methodology for engaging marginalised people – can be adapted and strengthened to inclusively engage citizens and foster responses from decision-makers. It presents four propositions for achieving this.
Proposition 1: Ensure inclusive engagement during group-forming and building.
Proposition 2: Develop shared purpose and group agency through video exploration and sense-making.
Proposition 3: Enable horizontal scaling through community-level videoing action.
Proposition 4: Support the performance of vertical influence through video-mediated communication.
Each of these propositions is discussed in relation to three concepts that are important elements of accountability initiatives: enabling spaces, bonding and bridging communication, and power-shifting. The discussion draws on two long-term participatory video processes at five sites in two countries, Indonesia and Kenya. Many participatory governance and accountability processes – and the theoretical discourses and practical approaches underlying them – do not pay enough attention to the need to shape the relational conditions for accountability for marginalised social groups. This can perpetuate exclusionary dynamics. Extended participatory video processes can mediate relationships, but for them to do so, there is a need to develop more ethical and effective participatory video practice, and for more work on how to foster support from influential decision-makers.
The Disabling Menstrual Barriers research aims to investigate and address the barriers to menstrual health and hygiene that adolescents and young people with disabilities face in the Kavre district in Nepal.
It is a collaboration between WaterAid and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. During September 2017, qualitative data was collected using participatory methods, including PhotoVoice.
This Learning Note presents the research questions, timeline, data collection methods and ethics. It also captures the preliminary findings from PhotoVoice and highlights the emerging research themes from this.
Developed primarily for UNICEF staff and its partners, these field notes can be used to learn about specific aspects of Community Approaches to Total Sanitation (CATS) programmes in different contexts. For example, learning on CATS monitoring was captured in the Zambia and Mali cases, while the Philippines and Nepal have good experiences on strengthening sub-national governance for sanitation.
The Haiti and Mali cases meanwhile capture lessons on improving and maintaining CATS effectiveness (defined as the number of communities ‘triggered’ that went on to become open defecation free [ODF]). The issue of what happens beyond ODF certification is addressed in Mali and in the Philippines.
In addition, application of components of Social Norms Theory to strengthen CATS programming was also captured in some of the cases – notably in Nepal and Zambia. Experiences on implementing CATS after humanitarian crises can be learnt from the Philippines and Haiti. With regards to equity, Mali has experience in working to leave no community behind, while Nepal has developed a programme that resulted in mobilising support for the most vulnerable households.
This report aims to provide inspiration and impetus to those making decisions about how to implement and monitor the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It shows how local level experiences and ideas can contribute to greater accountability and ultimately to increasing the impact of policies and initiatives aimed at reaching the SDGs. The work featured here focuses on how to make cities and informal settlements safer and more inclusive, taking as a starting point the extremely high levels of insecurity and violence that characterise daily life for many within townships and informal settings in South Africa.
The case study discussed in this Evidence Report explores the value and limitations of collective action in challenging the community, political, social and economic institutions that reinforce harmful masculinities and gender norms related to sexual and gender based violence (SGBV). As such, the concept of structural violence is used to locate SGBV in a social, economic and political context that draws histories of entrenched inequalities in South Africa into the present. The research findings reinforce a relational and constructed understanding of gender emphasising that gender norms can be reconfigured and positively transformed. It is argued that this transformation can be catalysed through networked and multidimensional strategies of collective action that engage the personal agency of men and women and their interpersonal relationships at multiple levels and across boundaries of social class, race and gender. This collectivity needs to be conscious of and engaged with the structural inequalities that deeply influence trajectories of change. Citizens and civil society must work with the institutions – political, religious, social and economic – that reinforce structural violence in order to ensure their accountability in ending SGBV.