This is the report of a study designed to reach some broad conclusions about social, economic and cultural change in rural and peri-urban communities of mainland Tanzania. It draws on previous accounts and on group interviews and other RRA methods. Substantive findings concern the responses of members of rural communities to the process of economic liberalisation and their reception of constitutional reforms leading to the adoption of a multi-party political system. Regarding methodology, the study confirmed the value of combining existing literature with fresh fieldwork, although problems of generating generalisable conclusions from location-specific material are acknowledged. Focus-groups were found to be particularly useful, when combined with the possibility of drawing on the long-term field experience of researchers.
This video explores numerous issues surrounding participatory poverty assessments (PPAs), using the example of a PPA in Tanzania. A key issue is the identification of the poor, about which appropriate information is needed to inform government policy. In contrast to traditional surveys of income-poverty, the PPA provides a way to understand poverty from the perspective of the poor and to enable this perspective to influence policy. The importance of the involvement of policy makers in the PPA is stressed at several points in the video. This involvement contributed to chantes in attitudes to the poor within government and a recognition of the need for a corresponding change in government development tactics. The findings of the PPA were presented at policy workshops and contributed to changes in thinking about the nature and characteristics of poverty in Tanzania, as well as more specific policy reforms. The PPA primarily used PRA methods and visual materials developed by local artists in the PPA. The methods shown include, mapping, discussion of well-being, wealth ranking with villagers and district officials, 'story with a gap' and seasonality analysis. Among the highlighted findings of the PPA are that: indicators of poverty are location specific; intangible indicators of deprivation are important; strong gender differences exist in the prioritisation of problems; the poor adapt to seasonality through complex coping strategies. The PPA also revealed that participatory methods could be used to construct time series price data for rural Tanzania, which had not previously existed. The links between the PPA's findings regarding the causes of poverty and the implications for policy are highlighted, including access to land, agricultural policy, lack of production inputs, environmental degradation and access to credit and savings.