The benefits of participatory methodologies to develop effective community dialogue in the context of a microbicide trial feasibility study in Mwanza, Tanzania
During a microbicide trial feasibility study among women at high-risk of HIV and sexually transmitted infections in Mwanza, northern Tanzania we used participatory research tools to facilitate open dialogue and partnership between researchers and study participants.
A community-based sexual and reproductive health service was established in ten city wards. Wards were divided into seventy-eight geographical clusters, representatives at cluster and ward level elected and a city-level Community Advisory Committee (CAC) with representatives from each ward established. Workshops and community meetings at ward and city-level were conducted to explore project-related concerns using tools adapted from participatory learning and action techniques such as listing, scoring, ranking, chapatti diagrams and pair-wise matrices.
Key issues identified included beliefs that blood specimens were being sold for witchcraft purposes; worries about specula not being clean; inadequacy of transport allowances; and delays in reporting laboratory test results to participants. To date, the project has responded by inviting members of the CAC to visit the laboratory to observe how blood and genital specimens are prepared; demonstrated the use of the autoclave to community representatives; raised reimbursement levels; introduced HIV rapid testing in the clinic; and streamlined laboratory reporting procedures.
Participatory techniques were instrumental in promoting meaningful dialogue between the research team, study participants and community representatives in Mwanza, allowing researchers and community representatives to gain a shared understanding of project-related priority areas for intervention.
Participatory approaches in animal healthcare: from practical applications to global -level policy reform
This article, as part of the special 50th edition of PLA Notes, looks at the history of the use of participatory approaches and methods in animal health care, including community-based animal health workers (CAHWs). Early development focused mainly on tools and methods, that have gradually been grouped together under the term participatory epidemiology. It describes how negative attitudes among professionals and academics have changed during the process of policy reform, and explains how participatory impact assessment and other methods have contributed to the policy process. The article focuses on experiences in East Africa and the Horn of Africa, while also describing how events in these regions have influenced change in international bodies. The article concludes by looking at future challenges, arguing that the reorganisation of government veterinary services and regulatory bodies is still a major challenge in many countries, where governments still directly control services that can be handled by others. The author recommends supporting CAHWs and private practitioners, as well as the development of enabling policies and ongoing learning methodologies to monitor and evaluate policy change.
The lake Victoria Fisheries Research Project (LVFRP) developed a long term programme in order to get agreement on a plan for the co-management of the Lake Victoria's fisheries project. This article presents the second step in this process and looks at how participatory monitoring systems were initiated at Nkombe Beach in Uganda. It looks at the problems faced, the solutions tried, the monitoring indicators agreed and how this process was replicated in communities in Kenya and Tanzania. Finally it draws a number of conclusions, such as participation requires a two-way flow of information, participatory monitoring is a slow process, context is crucial and nothing goes to plan!
'Say it with pictures': an account of a self assessment process in a dairy sector support project in Tanzania
This article offers an account of a self-assessment process in a dairy sector in Tanzania. It discusses the work of the Southern Highlands Dairy Development Project in re-orienting their dairy support sector approach towards one that works with households involved in dairy work in a more participatory manner.
Article on how authoratitive arguments made by local people can be transmitted through video. Maasai men record a film stating that local residents are best equipped to undertake environmental conservation. International bodies and conservation authorities try to stop distribution of the video, because their report tells a story different to that told by the Maasai. They try to discredit the video. The article concludes that project coalitions can use video to get involved in local processes of negotiation.