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.
In 2020, WSSCC’s India Support Unit (now UNOPS) piloted a new participatory approach called Community Leave No One Behind (CLNOB) to support the Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen (SBM-G) Phase II. This Sanitation Learning Hub learning brief outlines the purpose of CLNOB, the actions generated by the pilot and our reflections of the CLNOB approach.
The pilot took place in five districts in India (Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh, Ranchi in Jharkhand, Kamrup in Assam, South 24 Paragnas in West Bengal and Purnea in Bihar). A Prerak (facilitator) was appointed in each district to support this process and work within villages at community level. The Sanitation Learning Hub supported an accompanying learning component of the pilot, facilitating learning sessions between the preraks and the development of a Handbook based on the experience.
This learning brief outlines the purpose of CLNOB, the actions generated by the pilot and our reflections of the CLNOB approach. The CLNOB Handbook, a handbook on Community Leave No One Behind, accompanies this Learning Brief. CLNOB was designed to ensure a participatory method to enable sustained access to safely managed sanitation facilities for people who have been ‘left behind’ or left out of the first phase of India’s national sanitation campaign.
Community-Leave No One Behind (CLNOB) is a new participatory approach to identify both challenges and solutions in communities’ journeys towards ODF-S.
It has been designed to be integrated into Phase II of the Swachh Bharat Mission-Grameen (SBM-G). The government of India has issued the guidelines for Phase II of SBM-G, of which one of the guiding principles is ensuring that no one is left behind. CLNOB demonstrates a way to achieve this goal. It encourages communities to identify gaps in sanitation coverage and use and promote actions they can take themselves.
CLNOB builds on experiences with Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and with the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin (SBM-G)’s ‘Community Approaches to Sanitation (CAS)’. These approaches have helped communities towards achieving open defecation free (ODF) environments; however, it has been acknowledged that ODF status has deficiencies.
The purposes of this handbook are two-fold: first to inform policymakers and stakeholders at all levels about this new initiative, and second to provide guidance to facilitators and practitioners for CLNOB implementation. This handbook is a living document and will be updated and refined after more field experiences are conducted. It is based on limited experience from a small pilot carried out between June and October 2020 during the challenging environment of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For Annexes on suggested talking points, a sustainability register, case studies and information on informed consent and data protection, click here to download (PDF).
This is one of two freely available chapters from the SAGE Handbook of Participatory Research and Inquiry.
The SAGE Handbook presents contemporary, cutting-edge approaches to participatory research and inquiry. It has been designed for the community of researchers, professionals and activists engaged in interventions and action for social transformation, and for readers interested in understanding the state of the art in this domain.
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.
This working paper reflects the findings of the first phase of the REJUVENATE project, which set out to understand and map approaches to integrating children, youth, and community participation in child rights initiatives.
In this paper, we:
Grounded in an understanding of child rights as ‘living rights’, we propose building on the 3Ps of the UNCRC (protection, provision and participation) towards the 3Ss – space, support and system change.
We offer a set of field principles (REJUVENATE) to guide substantively participatory work with children and young people, underpinned by our Ndoro Ndoro model, which refers to intergenerational, community-driven approaches that put children and youth at the centre, while being accountable to them.
We recognise that this paper is far from exhaustive, and we intend it to be a springboard for further work that substantively recognises the importance of children’s participation in work to further child rights, and to enrich and rejuvenate the societies of which children are a part.
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 practitioner research, carried out by women’s empowerment organisation FAMM Indonesia, brings the voices of young women – a group consistently excluded from decision-making spaces about the allocation of local government resources – into the conversation about social accountability. Barriers to young (especially unmarried) women’s participation in public spaces include the prevailing view that doing so violates social norms, young women’s often low level of education, and family expectations. Many young women have internalised their marginalisation and lack the confidence to participate in community forums.
This paper describes participatory action research carried out in partnership with eight grassroots Indonesian women’s NGOs. Preliminary focus group discussions laid the foundation for a series of movement-building initiative workshops to strengthen rural young women’s leadership capacity, encourage critical awareness and develop their roles as community organisers. Young women’s social engagement can generate criticism and backlash, which may lead to their losing interest in public forums. As well as empowering participation in formal meetings, the research suggests that young women can overcome closed spaces through building on informal relationships and collaborations. And young women’s involvement in producing creative content (print, audio and multimedia) for use in community organising is used to strengthen their self-esteem and abilities.
The paper ends with a reflective conversation between Niken Lestari of FAMM and Francesca Feruglio of MAVC. They discuss the kind of capacity-building needed to enable young women to overcome barriers to their engagement in local governance spaces, and thus fulfil their own declared potential to contribute much more to the development of their communities.
This paper, based on a lecture given at the University of Sussex, UK, takes on the issue of growing inequality. Arguing that we know more about how economic inequality affects political participation than we do about how participation and voice affect economic inequality, the author describes ongoing work to identify participatory practices that offer some precedents for linking strategies for narrowing political and economic gaps from below. These combinations in turn contribute to challenging these intersecting inequalities and hold promise for transformative solutions across the global North and South.
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.
The processes of international development often mean that beneficiaries have pre-designed programmes imposed upon them. Even the most well-intentioned development projects are often constrained by funding requirements from fulfilling their vision of social justice, with the result that poor, marginalized communities feel even more disempowered and excluded by programmes over which they have no control. Participation Pays attempts to show how beneficiaries of aid can challenge and overcome conventional power arrangements set up by donors and development agencies. It does so through a focus on community knowledge and self-generated data, control of which enables greater ownership and direction of development processes. These projects involved members of marginalized and resource-poor communities including landless people, female sex workers, tribal people, and people affected by a natural disaster. Eight thematic case studies are featured, seven from India and one from the Maldives. Participation Pays argues for the need, in any vibrant democracy, for multiple ways of making development more accountable to excluded communities. In doing so, the book invites an understanding of marginalized people not simply as beneficiaries of technical solutions, but –through the work of participatory development projects – architects of a politics of equity and democratization.