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.
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’.
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.
This report articulates three strategies by which the poorest and most marginalised have attempted to ensure accountability from national and global policymakers to local people. It is a response to demands, articulated through the Participate initiative research conducted from 2012 to 2013 with extremely poor and marginalised groups, for greater participation and accountability in decision-making.
Valuing Volunteering was a two year (2012-2014) global action research project, conducted by VSO and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) to understand how and why volunteering affects poverty and contributes to sustainable development. This report summarises findings from inquiries conducted in the Philippines, Kenya, Mozambique and Nepal which explore the role of volunteering across different development contexts and systems. Using Participatory Systemic Action Research it asks local partners, communities and volunteers to reflect on how and where volunteering can contribute to positive, sustainable change.
This report came out of the learning and inspiration event held in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania from 26th - 28th May 2014, which was part of the Making All Voices Count programme. It is for participants and others with an interest in technology for transparency and accountability
The main focus of this report is to understand how positive change can happen from the perspectives of people living in greatest poverty and marginalisation and what can be done to promote this change. It is based on findings from participatory research, conducted by the Participate Participatory Research Group (PRG), that was undertaken by grassroots organisations, activists and citizens in 29 countries across the world. The views, stories, and experiences of the participants were collected and shared through diverse mediums including participatory film-making, digital storytelling, public forums, public theatre and art.
The report highlights how the poorest and most marginalised communities' experience of poverty is multidimensional, often characterised by low incomes, insecure livelihoods, limited or no assets, harsh living environments, violence and environmental degradation. These factors combine with multiple and interconnected inequalities, and close down the opportunities that people have to change their situation themselves. Most of all this research showed the depth of insight and intelligence of people who face extremely difficult circumstances and is a call to pay attention to what this ability offers to those who seek to promote development.
The report's authors argue that development should focus on the very poorest and work with them to make the decisions that matter most in their lives. The research shows that development interventions are targeted at those who are easiest to reach. They are often based on strong assumptions about the experiences of the poorest, rather than a real understanding of how they experience poverty and inequality. The results of this research will contribute ongoing international discussions about a new set of poverty reduction and environmental sustainability targets to replace the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015.
This report presents the findings of the programme evaluation on ‘civil society participation’ commissioned by the Dutch co-financing agencies Cordaid, Hivos, Novib/ Oxfam Netherlands and Plan Netherlands. It is the fourth study in a series of programme evaluations organised during the period 2003-2006 by the MBN, the Network of Co- Financing Agencies in the Netherlands.
This review provides an update on practice and experiences of civil society participation in the development of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs). It was commissioned by DFID and conducted from August-October 2001 by the Participation Group at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS). It begins with an overview of how the principle of participation has been interpreted by a range of actors and how these vary between International Financial Institutions, civil society and governments. Underpinning these variations is the difference between civil society participation as a means to a more effective poverty reduction strategy and participation as a means for non governmental actors to gain voice in their country's policy making and political processes. The review suggests that on balance civil society participation can add considerable value to PRSP processes and to transforming policy environments in ways that are beneficial to the poor and supportive of better governance and more responsive behaviour by governments and donor institutions. Although participation can add value, the review does not demonstrate conclusively that in all countries significant value has been added to date, nor that as much has been added as could be with better quality participatory processes.
This research report concerns the poverty reduction policy process in Kampala, Uganda. The report describes and analyses, in turn, the actors involved in policy processes at national level, the kinds of knowledge on which the processes draw, and the spaces, formal and informal, in which policy actors engage with each other. It finds that the contemporary poverty reduction policy context in Uganda holds several opportunities and several risks. The risks relate to: " The contradiction between the nature of the national political space and the way the Government of Uganda (GoU) is energetically opening up new policy spaces and ushering in a range of diverse actors; " The disconnection between the international-national alliance operating in Kampala, and the relationship between Kampala and the rest of the country. Opportunities include: " The current state of flux of poverty knowledge in Uganda; " The already considerable experience of blending diverse kinds of knowledge for policy purposes. These opportunities allow for optimism about how the "new poverty experts", sub-national actors and others outside the GoU-donor nexus might affect the course of policy in future. The report concludes that civil society actors, and especially non-governmental organisation poverty advocates, are at a critical juncture in Uganda today. To enhance their impact on policy, they can either remain passive participants in processes into which government invites them, or exercise greater agency and autonomy. The report also calls for non-governmental policy actors to reclaim from government and its donor partners the territory of participation, and to make it more their own again.
This report highlights key discussion points that emerged from a workshop on "Strengthening Participation in Local Governance". Conceptual issues around participation, governance, citizenship and decentralisation are discussed. Country presentations highlight various experiences in strengthening participation in local governance: these include looking at the context (particularly with respect to existing legal frameworks), the dynamics of participation, strategies and approaches that are employed to overcome barriers, and the key lessons and proposed ways forward for future research. Lessons and challenges from previous research as well as a summary of action plans for collaboration and future research are also presented.