This pamphlet summarises the results of a study conducted by the National Development Service on Nepal and Unicef. Teams of data-collectors went to nine different parts of Nepal showing illiterate villagers a wide variety of pictures in various colours and shadings. The results showed that most of the visual aids used by the health service were not recognised or misinterpreted by local people. Suggestions are made as to how visuals might be improved in response to feedback from villagers.
MYRADA, an NGO working in about 2,000 villages in South India, developed an approach called PALM (Participatory Learning Methods) from their early experiments with RRA. This article describes the areas in which PALM has been used (eg natural resource development) and outlines a typical PALM training exercise. The programme lasts about five days, including camping in the village, and progresses from "introductory" (history of the village) to "exploratory" (eg livelihood, wealth ranking) to a concluding "Operational Plan". Methods and their applications are summarised in table form and illustrated visually. MYRADA is now experimenting with new applications of the methods, developing new methods and "hybrids". This article shows how a PRA approach can become integrated within NGO project planning through a defined training model.
Over the past few years, the Sanitation Learning Hub, in collaboration with the Government of India, Praxis, WSSCC and WaterAid India, have been developing Rapid Action Learning approaches. Multiple approaches have been trialled, with flexible formats, but the essential criteria is that learning is timely, relevant and actionable.
These learning approaches are the focus of the latest edition of the Frontiers of Sanitation series. This Frontiers explains the advantages and disadvantages of the approaches trialled and sets out a challenge to those working in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector to:
Reflect on what, for you, constitutes rigour.
Adopt and adapt approaches to fit your context and needs.
Develop your own approaches.
Record your experiences and lessons learnt.
Take the time to share your experiences with us. (Email the Hub on SLH@ids.ac.uk)
To commemorate and reflect on the publication, the Hub sat down with colleagues and partners WaterAid India and WSSCC to discuss lessons learned and the future of Rapid Action Learning. You can watch these five short videos in the playlist below.
In this WASH Talks video, Robert Chambers talks about the use of Rapid Action Learning (RAL) workshops, immersive research and participatory mapping methodologies in India with the purpose of checking what is actually happening on the ground, and learning from this, in relation to the national Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) (SBM-G) (clean India mission).
These methodologies have been developed and implemented with the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), WaterAid, Delhi University and the Indian government.
This paper discusses community exchange programmes as a powerful mechanism for increasing the capacity of community organisations to participate in urban development. By enabling communities to share and explore local knowledge created through livelihood struggles, a powerful process is triggered, whereby community exchanges transform development. Through a cumulative process of learning, sharing and collective action, strong sustained and mobilised networks of communities emerge. Central to this has been the sharing of experiences between communities, first at very local levels, then in the city, then nationally and internationally. The development of this methodology by the National Slum Dwellers Association, SPARC (an NGO) and Mahila Milan (a federation of women's cooperatives) in India is described. Exchanges are located within a broader approach to community learning and people's empowerment. Benefits of the exchange process are examined, and the paper reflects on why exchanges are an effective methodology for supporting a process of people-centred development. The necessary conditions for the exchange process to be fully effective are reviewed, which consequently point to the distinct characteristics of the exchange process vis-Ó-vis other participation methodology. It concludes by drawing together some of the wider implications of this approach.