Using Participatory Action Research Methodologies for Engaging and Researching with Religious Minorities in Contexts of Intersecting Inequalities
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.
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:
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.
This paper focuses on an Immersive Research Approach designed by Praxis, the Sanitation Learning Hub at IDS and WaterAid whereby researchers lived in villages in recently declared open defecation free districts, to gain an in-depth understanding of ground realities and community perspectives of the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin.
The study shed light on key aspects and dynamics influencing local ownership, behaviour change and construction quality, and also revealed multifaceted exclusion processes. The immersive approach helped build trust with villagers and allowed a unique insight into the SBM in its ‘real life’ context, necessary to explore hidden dynamics and diverse perspectives, and understand the complexities involved.
Despite some practical challenges, undertaking immersive studies and experiences would be beneficial for improving the Swachh Bharat Mission and other sanitation programmes. The approach could be adopted pragmatically, but always respecting some basic principles and ethical behaviour.
The Disabling Menstrual Barriers research aims to investigate and address the barriers to menstrual health and hygiene that adolescents and young people with disabilities face in the Kavre district in Nepal.
It is a collaboration between WaterAid and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. During September 2017, qualitative data was collected using participatory methods, including PhotoVoice.
This Learning Note presents the research questions, timeline, data collection methods and ethics. It also captures the preliminary findings from PhotoVoice and highlights the emerging research themes from this.
Community-Leave No One Behind (CLNOB) is a new participatory approach to identify both challenges and solutions in communities’ journeys towards ODF-S.
It has been designed to be integrated into Phase II of the Swachh Bharat Mission-Grameen (SBM-G). The government of India has issued the guidelines for Phase II of SBM-G, of which one of the guiding principles is ensuring that no one is left behind. CLNOB demonstrates a way to achieve this goal. It encourages communities to identify gaps in sanitation coverage and use and promote actions they can take themselves.
CLNOB builds on experiences with Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and with the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin (SBM-G)’s ‘Community Approaches to Sanitation (CAS)’. These approaches have helped communities towards achieving open defecation free (ODF) environments; however, it has been acknowledged that ODF status has deficiencies.
The purposes of this handbook are two-fold: first to inform policymakers and stakeholders at all levels about this new initiative, and second to provide guidance to facilitators and practitioners for CLNOB implementation. This handbook is a living document and will be updated and refined after more field experiences are conducted. It is based on limited experience from a small pilot carried out between June and October 2020 during the challenging environment of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For Annexes on suggested talking points, a sustainability register, case studies and information on informed consent and data protection, click here to download (PDF).
This paper explores the relationship between accessible sanitation and disability-inclusive employment in Bangladesh and Nigeria.
Both countries have sanitation and hygiene challenges as well as disability-inclusive employment challenges, but the existing evidence on the intersection of these issues that is focused on Nigeria and Bangladesh is extremely limited. Building on the literature where this complex issue is addressed, this paper presents the findings of a qualitative pilot study undertaken in Nigeria and Bangladesh. It focuses on the need for toilets at work that are easy for people with disabilities to use in poor countries.
These are sometimes called accessible toilets. Accessible sanitation is not regarded as a challenge that must be addressed by people with disabilities themselves, but as a challenge that must be addressed by many people working together – including governments, employers, and the community.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had direct and indirect effects on religiously marginalised groups, exacerbating existing inequities and undermining the ambitions of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to reach (and include) those ‘furthest behind’. Religious inequalities intersect with other inequalities to compound vulnerabilities, particularly the convergence of low socioeconomic status, gender inequality, and location-specific discrimination and insecurity, to shape how people are experiencing the pandemic.
This policy briefing, written by Dr Joanna Howard (IDS) and a co-author (who must remain anonymous for reasons of personal security), draws on research with religious minorities living in urban slums in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka states in India. Findings show that religiously motivated discrimination reduced their access to employment and statutory services during the pandemic. Harassment and violence experienced by Muslims worsened; and loss of livelihoods, distress, and despair were also acutely experienced by dalit Hindus. Government response and protection towards lower caste and religious minorities has been insufficient.
The report presents key findings on ways in which the experiences of people are accentuated by religious marginality in its intersections with other identifiers. The findings are drawn from discussions held during 24 participatory inquiry groups (IGs), drawings, reflections, ranking and scoring matrices, and 30 semi-structured interviews.
These activities took place with people living in poverty, brought together in separate groups of men and women of each religious minority, and with comparator groups from the mainstream religion. The selected sites were towns sheltering internally displaced people (IDPs) in Plateau and Kaduna states in Nigeria, and urban slums in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka states in India. In each site, we also consider the experiences of comparator 9 groups, i.e. those also living in poverty but of the mainstream religion, such as dalit Hindus in India, Muslims living in a predominantly Christian area of Nigeria, and Christians living in a predominantly Muslim area of Nigeria.
This IDS Working Paper explores the role of labour intermediaries, their aspirations, and their perceptions about the benefits and costs of facilitating work in the ‘Adult Entertainment Sector’ (‘AES’) and other employment.
Our research objective was to understand these experiences to develop more effective policies and interventions to prevent human trafficking and labour and sex exploitation. Using a victim-centred participatory approach, we interviewed 33 adults who identified themselves or were identified by others as labour intermediaries.
This Working Paper has a companion paper – Labour Trajectories and Aspirations of Nepali ‘Adult Entertainment Sector’ Workers – which builds upon previous research to examine the labour trajectories, and the role of labour intermediaries, for ‘AES’ workers within Nepal and beyond its borders.
This IDS Working Paper explores the labour trajectories and aspirations, and the labour intermediaries of Nepali ‘Adult Entertainment Sector’ (‘AES’) workers.
Our research objective was to understand these experiences to develop more effective policies and interventions to prevent human trafficking as well as labour and sex exploitation. Research included a literature review, interviews with ‘AES’ workers, and observations in areas with reported elevated levels of human trafficking to visualise the economic activities.
This Working Paper has a companion paper – Getting Work: The Role of Labour Intermediaries for Workers in Nepal and the International ‘Adult Entertainment Sector’ – which focuses on the role of labour intermediaries, their aspirations, and their perceptions about the benefits and costs of facilitating work in the ‘AES’ and other employment.
This is a participatory toolkit for understanding unpaid care work and its distribution within local communities and families.
Together, these tools provide a way of ascertaining and capturing research participants’ understanding of women’s unpaid care work – giving special attention to the lived experiences of carrying out unpaid care work and receiving care. Please note that these tools were developed and used in a pre-Covid-19 era and that they are designed to be implemented through face-to-face interactions rather than online means.
Engaging men and boys is an exciting development in the WASH space; for too long our efforts to transform gender inequality focused too narrowly on women and girls.
Limiting ourselves to half the possible number of allies, partners for change, innovators, and leaders to address this issue held back progress, and also placed the ‘burden for change’ squarely on women’s shoulders
This issue of Frontiers of Sanitation explores the extent to which engaging men and boys in WASH processes is leading to transformative change in gender roles, attitudes, and sustainable change in reducing gender inequalities across households, communities, organisations, and policy.
This document is an update to Frontiers Part 1 produced in 2018. In Part 1, the differing roles of men and boys were reviewed in terms of objects to change (i.e. to change sanitation or hygiene behaviours), agents of change (in promoting improved practices), and partners for change in gender-transformative WASH processes.
This update reviews progress and provides practical examples of the opportunities and challenges with this endeavour. It also includes recommendations for those thinking about why and how to include engaging men and boys as part of their WASH programmes.
This publication is also available in French and Portuguese:
This document accompanies Frontiers of Sanitation: Engaging men for gender transformative WASH, Part 2, which explores the extent to which engaging men and boys in WASH processes is leading to transformative change in gender roles, attitudes, and sustainable change in reducing gender inequalities across households, communities, organisations, and policy.
Practical examples are presented here from:
Each of these examples, all of which are from projects funded by the Australian Government’s Water for Women Fund, describe interventions that employed different gender-transformative approaches to engage with and reach men and boys. They also describe the projects’ successes and challenges.