Local people can generate their own numbers – and the statistics that result are powerful for them and can influence policy. Since the early 1990’s there has been a quiet tide of innovation in generating statistics using participatory methods. Across all sectors from local to national, participatory statistics are being generated in the design, monitoring and evaluation, and impact assessment of development interventions. This book, by describing policy, programme and project research, aims to provide impetus for the adoption and mainstreaming of participatory statistics within international development practice. It lays down the challenge of institutional change that allows a win-win outcome in which statistics are part of an empowering process for local people and a valuable information flow for those open to it in aid agencies and government departments.
Yoland Wadsworth’s proposition is that the act of inquiry is the way by which every living organism and all collective human life goes about continuously learning, improving and changing. This book explores this approach, a basic theory of human understanding and action. By delving into the cyclical processes of acting, observing, questioning, feeling, reflecting, thinking, planning and acting again, the author identifies how new life might be brought to what we do, both professionally and personally. She also emphasises that the evaluative process needs to drive progress towards social justice and human betterment.
Rapid changes are taking place in international development. The past two decades have promoted the ideals of participation and partnership, yet key decisions affecting people's lives continue to be made without sufficient attention to the socio-political realities of the countries in which they live. Embedded working traditions, vested interests and institutional inertia mean that old habits and cultures persist among the development community. On this premise, the authors of this book describe the need to recognise the complex, non-linear nature of development assistance and how bureaucratic procedures and power relations hinder poverty reduction in the new aid environment. The book begins with a conceptual and historical analysis of aid, exposing the challenges and opportunities facing aid professionals today. It argues for greater attention to accountability and the adoption of rights based approaches. In section two, practitioners, policymakers and researchers discuss the realities of power and relationships from their experiences across 16 countries. Their accounts, from government, donors and civil society, expose the highly politicised and dynamic aid environment in which they work. The book then explores ways forward for aid agencies, challenging existing political, institutional and personal ways of working. Breaking the barriers to ensure more inclusive aid will require visionary leadership and a courageous commitment to change. The authors show how translating rhetoric into practice relies on changing the attitudes and behaviours of individual actors. The book aims to present a contribution to the understanding of how development assistance and poverty reduction can be most effectively delivered by the professionals and agencies involved.