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.
The recent 'rise of rights' has sparked much critical reflection, one of the key concerns being 'What is different this time'?. Can this emerging focus on rights within development help bring about favourable changes for poor and marginalised people?
This issue of the IDS Bulletin addresses diverse perspectives and questions across a spectrum of current thinking, policy and practice. Why the rights-based approach and why now? Whose rights count? 'Rights' work has evolved from an historical focus on human rights violations and concern for legal protection, but its future depends on direct engagement with civil society causes.
Development needs rights as much as rights need development. Illustrated here are struggles for rights within specific contexts (tenants associations in Kenya; children's organisations in India): the perspective of marginalised groups alters how formal rights are given meaning. Using rights in practice is challenging and filled with contradictions and tensions. The struggle for rights is happening and it is not simply an agenda of the powerful.
What emerges from this IDS Bulletin is a vibrant picture of often diverse meanings and strategies pursued throughout the world. If the current enthusiasm for rights in development can open thinking spaces and result in appropriate action, rather than serving as a one-size-fits-all export, then rights bases approaches are to be welcomed. Moving beyond old debates and recognising that rights must be claimed and realised by real people, the development community can discover what rights will ultimately mean in context and practice.
Table of contents
- Introduction: Developing Rights: Discourse to Context and Practice (pdf), Jethro Pettit and Joanna Wheeler
- 'Why Rights, Why Now? Reflections on the Rise of Rights in International Development Discourse', Andrea Cornwall and Celestine Nyamu-Musembi
- 'Rights-based Approaches and Bilateral Aid Agencies: More Than a Metaphor?', Laure-Hélène Piron
- 'Rights-based Development: Linking Rights and Participation - Challenges in Thinking and Action', Valerie Miller, Lisa VeneKlasen and Cindy Clark
- 'An Actor-oriented Approach to Rights in Development', Celestine Nyamu-Musembi
- 'Rights-based Approaches: Recovering Past Innovations', Valerie Miller, Lisa VeneKlasen and Cindy Clark
- 'Rights and Power: The Challenge for International Development Agencies', Alexandra Hughes, Joanna Wheeler and Rosalnd Eyben
- 'Can a Rights-based Approach Help in Achieving the Millennium Development Goals?', Salil Shetty
- 'Living Rights: Reflections from Women's Movements About Gender and Rights in Practice', Cindy Clark, Molly Reilly and Joanna Wheeler
- 'Small Hands, Big Voices? Children's Participation in Policy Change in India', Emma Williams
- 'Operationalising the Rights Agenda: Participatory Rights Assessment in Peru and Malawi', James Blackburn, Mary Ann Brocklesby, Sheena Crawford and Jeremy Holland
- 'Defining Rights from the Roots: Insights from Council Tenants' Struggles in Mombasa, Kenya', Samuel Musyoki and Celestine Nyamu-Musembi
- 'Rights and Citizenship in Brazil: The Challenges for Civil Society, Almir Pereira Júnior, Jorge Romano and Marta Antunes
- 'Beyond Approaches and Models: Reflections on Rights and Social Movements in Kenya, Haiti and the Philippines', Mwambi Mwasaru
- 'Transforming Rights into Social Practices? The Landless Movement and Land Reform in Brazil', Zander Navarro
The article argues that strategic planning is crucial for tackling poverty, and looks at the anti-poverty strategy and plan of action in Bulgaria. The article first describes poverty in Bulgaria, and how low levels of income and low levels of employment make women particularly vulnerable. The author looks in detail at the anti-poverty strategy and plan of action as strategic planning tools, and argues that the planning processes have to be made fully participatory and reflect the vision of the poor and vulnerable people. To achieve this, the author suggests that NGOs and CSOs have to be supported further through training in strategic thinking to enable efficient and effective participation in planning processes.
The article explores the processes and structures of the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), which is a cross-sectoral consortium of services into a holistic women and child development scheme. The authors argue that one of the biggest obstacles experienced during the implementation of the ICDS programme was the poor level of community participation. The article goes on the explain scaling up participation in a pilot experiment and the process undertaken. Based on the experience and lessons learnt during the pilot experiment, a framework was developed for scaling up the use of participatory methodologies in other districts under the ICDS programme. Building on reflections from the process, the authors conclude by summarising the problems, challenges and implications identified during the process.
This is a collection of newsletters from ActionAid Kenya, Western region. The newsletters are designed to share learning tools and ideas to increase learning, sharing and documentation within the region, and to provide an avenue for sharing experiences with the rest of ActionAid Kenya. Mwangaza is Kiswahili for illumination. Some regular features of the newsletter include: working with community-based organisations; gender perspectives; HIV/AIDS perspectives; transparency, accountability and effective management; research perspectives; and news and updates.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa is disproportionately affecting and infecting women and girls who themselves face a host of cultural, social, economic and political factors that obstruct the realisation of their rights, further fostering their risk and vulnerability. This paper discusses two participatory learning and action methodologies that were used were used in a project working with Maasai communities in Northern Tanzania. Entitled æA Gender Issue: reducing the vulnerability of girls to HIV/AIDSÆ, it aimed to explore factors contributing to womensÆ and girlsÆ vulnerability to HIV/AIDS, facilitating discussions to create understanding in the community and identifying strategies to reduce risk and vulnerability. The majority of the paper is given over to the description of the gender matrix activity, describing itÆs six steps and how to adapt it for children. Drawing activities with children are also looked at and finally the author discusses the effectiveness of these methodologies.
In India, people with disabilities experience profound social exclusion, largely remaining hidden and having little chance to share their experiences. There is little data on this exclusion and little understanding of their abilities, skills and potential. This paper describes the processes, outcomes and learning from collaborative participatory action research, facilitated by UNNATI-Organisation for Development Education and Handicap International, in partnership with 13 grassroots organisations. The study aimed to develop awareness and a collective understanding of the needs, potential, rights and aspirations of persons with disabilities and challenge the attitude and behaviour of the community towards them. The paper looks first at the methodology used and gives a summary of some of the findings, which cover issues such as: profound exclusion; mobility, access and participation; family life; rehabilitation needs and services; public health services; access to rights,; livelihoods; education, and mainstreaming. It then goes on to look at methodological issues, such as how exercises are communicated, social mapping as an entry point for awareness, overcoming barriers to participation, different realities, disability issues from a womanÆs perspective and sensitivity towards stakeholders. The study represents the voices of 1154 persons with disabilities in 55 villages and eight urban slums across four Indian districts.