This video briefly describes a process undertaken by a community group on Northern Ireland to obtain a community centre. Through interviews with local people, it shows the need for a community centre (01-03), the process of building contacts between the community group and other agencies (04), consulting local people about what they want (05 -08) and getting people involved in the process (09).
As part of a course in forestry and participation, 27 forestry officials from Africa, Asia and Scotland spent 10 days in County Kilkenny, Ireland, using PRA and visualisation methods to help local people develop a local forestry action plan. During meetings with local people, visual tools were used to encourage them to express their preferences about the environment. Methods used included resource and social mapping, Venn diagrams, and matrix ranking or tree species preferences. Local people's views were relayed to the local council, thus giving them a say in environmental management. One local council member recognised the need for better communication and broader consultation between the council and local people.
This article looks at the adaptation and adoption of participatory methodologies in the north. The article draws from insights the emerged at an event in April 2004, that brought together practitioners to reflect on the development of participatory processes in the UK. The article begins by looking at the context and history of participatory approaches in the North, particularly linked with unions, poverty and women's rights. The article then looks at recent practices in Participatory Appraisal (PA), commonly used in community health work, patient user groups, regeneration, youth and environmental work, and the question of empowerment within this approach. The key issues emerging include how to ensure a focus on attitudes as well as skills in training; how to help decision makers, managers and practitioners understand PA and why it is being done; how to ensure that PA is carried out within an ethical framework; how to make the processes more inclusive; how to address power within the approach; which approach to use; and finally how to create new spaces for participation. In conclusion, the authors suggest that it is essential that all those involved in participation need to push for the right conditions and build on their community-level experiences in order for positive to change to happen. And that this in turn must be linked with critical reflection and dialogue with decision-makers. Key issues to be addressed include transformational learning, connecting civil society with decision makers, developing a rights-based agenda, amplifying the most marginal voices, working in an ethical way and exploring dimensions of empowerment within participatory work.
Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) has a long history in development planning in less developed countries. In recent years, PLA approaches have also been promoted for participatory development planning in rural areas of industrialised countries with functioning democratic institutions. This paper draws on experiences of applying participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) in a one-week planning workshop in M³hlen, Northern Germany and asks whether or nor PRA is an appropriate instrument for participatory community development in societies with functioning local democratic institutions. The authors conclude that PRA should be seen as a complementary instrument to the existing political and institutional arrangements. That while civil society actors can take over complementary responsibilities and initiatives, the local administrators and democratically elected bodies need to play a key role in order for PRA processes in community development to become successful in affluent societies.
This article is a case study of the author's participatory research with the Annette Lomond garment workers' co-operative in the North East of England. It discusses the relationship between the researcher and the participants, power imbalances, accountability, empowerment, effects of the research project, and presentation of findings. She concludes that the aim of uniting research with action and education is not always possible within one project. This alters the balance of the relationship and the nature of accountability.
This chapter from a guide to participatory land and water resource management, designed for community leaders and extension officers in Australia, discusses participatory planning for community action. Its main points are: the planning process consists of situational analysis, goal-setting, selection of solutions, development of implementation plans and monitoring and evaluation; seven steps are given to provide understanding of institutional planning undertaken by various agencies in the district; eight steps work through community planning by developing managerial skills; and eight techniques for improving participatory planning are described in detail. The chapter is written in a comprehensible and interactive style.
This discussion paper sets out to generate ideas on new approaches to evaluating citizen education in practice. It considers three broad perspectives - renewed interest in the promotion of citizenship in the North and South; the history of citizen education; consideration of how people learn - and then identifies lessons and challenges. The paper then focuses on several factors involved in the internalisation and development of citizenship, and finally reviews new work on learning from other academic fields in order to assess how citizen education can enhance active citizenship. In the final section, there are questions and challenges for future work.
In 1996, the City of Ottowa Council was working on two land management project: the Green way System Management Plan and the Open Spaces Project. When realised, the Greenway System will link natural areas, ecological corridors, hydro corridors, parks and communities, while the Open Spaces Project plans for protected areas. The input of the community was needed for both projects and a series of community workshops were facilitated to gain insight into the various stakeholders' concern for the city's open spaces. The goal of the workshops was to better understand which green and open spaces people value, why they value them, and what their visions were for the future of these spaces. The workshops incorporated community mapping facilitated by staff from the city's Environmental Branch. Participants placed great emphasis on community/citizen action. They felt that the community should be better organised to have a voice in planning, management and operations. The results from the consultation were used to support decision-making on the direction of the projects and were used to determine the social criteria and value of Ottowa's existing natural and open spaces. The authors conclude that upon evaluation of the methods and the results of the consultation, the City should use participatory methods more often in the future.
Participatory Rapid Appraisal: An Investigation into the Health and Social Needs of People Living in Danesmoor - Volume 1
The aim of this study was to identify the health and social problems in relation to Danesmoor, an area in North Derbyshire with high unemployment. PRA techniques were used to collect qualitative information from three main sources : key community people, community members, professionals working in the area. Questions were asked regarding people's perceptions of the area, the health and social problems, existing care service provision and "magic wand" - "within reason what would benefit individuals, families and the community as a whole". This report presents the findings under the groups of people interviewed (eg single mothers, children, health visitors, doctors, playgroup leader), giving direct quotations and their suggested magic wand solution to the problems. Lack of communication and coordination between various service providers is identified as a key issue. Finally an "overall magic wand" (solution to common problems) and a plan of action were made.
This article begins with a brief discussion of the links between the concepts of participation and social exclusion. Brief histories of three government programmes in the United States which have attempted to use participation to address poverty and social exclusion are then given. Themes emerging from these histories are outlined and their possible relevance for the South, as participation is increasingly used as an institutonalised strategy for addressing poverty.
Rural development forestry in Scotland : the struggle to bring international principles and best practices to the last bastion of British colonial forestry.
Examines the failure of the state forestry agency (the Forestry Commission) to involve local rural communities in the management of its substantial forest land holdings in Scotland. This disregard for local people is in spite of the governments declared support for the UNCED Forest Principles and the article suggests that the FC would do well to learn from the governments overseas technical assistance programmes.
The experience of three Scottish NGO's to ensure the participation of local people at all stages of forestry planning and implementation through the use of PRA is outlined. This programme is revealed to have met with some opposition from the Foestry Commission but at the same time to have acted as a catalyst for recent changes in forest policy.
Unemployment and health: the development of the use of PRA in identified communities in Staveley, North Derbyshire
This study in Staveley, an area with high unemployment, aimed to: i) identify & enable people to address the personal risk factors for cardio-vascular diseases ii) enable unemployed workers to discuss health difficulties specific to unemployment iii) promote a greater understanding of the specific health needs of unemployed people Unemployed people and 200 children were interviewed, then key people in the professions of education, health, social services, police, clergy and housing. Video, photos and mapping were used and people "had an opportunity to test their own health by filling in a health profile questionnaire". The various groups' different perceptions of the problems and suggested solutions are analysed. There is a need for "an informed, integrated, inter-agency approach with the involvement of unemployed people in order to respond effectively to the problems of unemployment".