Filmed in the Gambia, this video shows what was found out about girl's education as a result of using PRA.
"Investing in education for girls is the single most important thing a country can do...it leads to faster economic growth, higher family incomes, lower infant deaths and in many, many ways a better life for this generation and the next." Yet in most parts of the developing world girls receive much less education than boys. The film shows a PRA exercise which was carried out in a village in Gambia to investigate the constraints to female education and what might be done to improve access to education for girls. The methods used during the PRA included village mapping to establish which households had children attending or not attending school (06); pi-charts to show village income and expenditure (08.30); matrix ranking of problems and solutions (09); and card sorting to identify rich and poor households (12). Information from the ranking and the map were then compared and checked for discrepancies (13). However, it was only discovered by accident that 25% of girls did not appear on the map. These were girls who had never been to school or were about to get married (15). It was found that two of the major constraints to educating girls were the expense and demands for their labour at home. Cost was an important deterrent, particularly as the largest school expenses occurred just before harvest when people had no money. In addition, the demand for girls' labour in the fields was heaviest at the busiest time of the school year, while the demand for boys labour at that time was light (16). All the problems the villagers had identified were then ranked in pairs by different age-groups of women and men (18). An inventory of village associations was also made using venn diagrams to show the relationship between them (20). Having identified the problems and the resources available within the village, in the last phase of the PRA the villagers met to decide what action to take (23). The video concludes by discussing some of the wider applications of PRA (25) as well as some of the dangers (26).
This video provides a good introduction to the potential benefits of PRA in implementing projects which benefit those normally excluded by conventional approaches. It contains interesting interviews with villagers who had previously participated in a PRA process. It also uses dramatised scenes to emphasise aspects of PRA, mostly concerning behaviour and attitudes. Which scenes have been scripted is sometimes confusing. Key points made are that marginalised people are usually not reached by conventional development approaches (03, 05, 30). The attitudes and behaviour of development workers and academics contributes to this (13, 37). PRA facilitates outsiders learning from villagers (08, 18) and overcomes conventional biases (34, 38). This is shown through the experience of Paraikulan villagers who worked with an NGO, SPEECH, to reclaim barren land. The outputs of PRA methods shown include mapping (19), wealth ranking (25), seasonality analysis (26), matrix ranking of problems (28), oral history (29), and Venn diagrams (32). Women were included in village development activities, through literacy classes and increased access to agricultural inputs (34). Villagers reflect on the subsequent activities to reclaim barren land and its impact on their lives (42), both in terms of production and increased confidence (44). A resident of another villager reports that the experience of Paraikulan set an example for other villagers (46).