The organic process of participation and empowerment in REFLECT.
After four years of implementing REFLECT in Uganda, this article examines some of the issues REFLECT participants have discussed including, children's education and the giving of food to relatives and friends after a good harvest. The impacts the approach has had are briefly outlined.
Micro-finance programmes are currently promoted as strategies for both alleviating poverty and also empowering women. However, a number of recent academic studies have questioned the benefits of such programmes for women. Given the need to examine their gender impact, this paper proposes an alternative to the traditional costly quantitative and qualitative impact studies. A participatory approach is proposed which integrates empowerment concerns with ongoing programme learning, which in itself contributes to empowerment.
This book includes a wide ranging collection of papers which have been divided into sections dealing with communicating with children, gender empowerment, community interactive processes, approaches and insights, ethics and values of community participation and organizational capacity building.
This edition looks at interconnections between education and power. Articles cover: accountability of schools to communities, primary education for working children in India, theatre for development, participatory planning using Planning For Real, REFLECT, disability, gender, and more.
This introductory chapter argues that many participatory development intiatives do not deal well with the complexity of community differences, including age, economic, religious, caste, ethnic and, in particular, gender. The fields of participatory development and gender have remained far apart, both in theory and practice, despite their shared goals of social inclusion and societal transformation. The chapter discusses how participatory development has come to pay so little attention to community differences, focusing on the problem of simplistic notions of community, participation and empowerment. It then describes how development organisations are slowly waking up to the importance of these issues. Finally, it summarises the collective insights from the contributors to the book "The Myth of Community".
This article focuses on gender aspects of participatory projects. It draws on the author's own research as well as secondary sources and states that gender inequalities in resources, time, and power, influence the priorities and framework of participatory projects as much as "top-down" development and market activities. Increasing the numbers of women involved in participatory projects cannot, therefore, be seen as a soft alternative to specific attention to change in gender inequality. Meeting the demands of poor women in the South will require not only local participatory projects, but a linking with wider movements for change in the national and international development agenda.
This manual is for development professionals and residents of local communities in the North and the South who address constraints to equitable, effective and sustainable development. The authors hope that the framework for socio-economic and gender analysis offered will contribute to capacity building and empowerment of communities. The manual is divided into five sections - an overview, outline of conceptual framework, elaboration of participatory strategies and tools, sketching of scenarios and a concluding section on measuring effectiveness. Each section is detailed and a step by step guidance is offered to conduct the analysis.
This article describes participatory action research carried out by Roofless Women's Action Research Mobilization (R-WARM), in investigating homelessness amongst women in Boston, Massachusetts. Researchers themselves had formerly experienced homelessness, and dialogue - rather than standard interviews - was used to discover the shared nature of problems and common grounds for action.
'Voices of the Poor' is a series of three books that collates the experiences, views and aspirations of over 60,000 poor women and men. This second book of the series draws material from a 23-country comparative study, which used open-ended participatory methods, bringing together the voices and realities of 20,000 poor women, men, youth and children. Despite very different political, social and economic contexts, there are striking similarities in poor people's experiences. The common underlying theme is one of powerlessness, which consists of multiple and interlocking dimensions of illbeing or poverty. The book starts by describing the origins of the study, the methodology and some of the challenges faced. This is followed by an exploration of the multidimensional nature of wellbeing and illbeing. Most of the book comprises the core findings - the 10 dimensions of powerlessness and illbeing that emerge from the study - and is organised around these themes. These include livelihoods and assets; the places where poor people live and work; the body and related to this, accessing health services; gender roles and gender relations within the household; social exclusion; insecurity and related fears and anxieties; the behaviour and character of institutions; and poor people's ratings of the most important institutions in their lives. These dimensions are brought together into a many-stranded web of powerlessness, which is compounded by the lack of capability, including lack of information, education, skills and confidence. The final chapter is a call to action and dwells on the challenge of change.
"Voices of the Poor" is a series of three books that collates the experiences, views and aspirations of over 60,000 poor women and men. This first book of the series gathers the voices of over 40,000 poor women and men in 50 countries from the World Bank's participatory poverty assessments. Using participatory and qualitative research methods, the study presents very directly, through poor people's own voices, the realities of their lives; these voices send powerful messages that point the way toward policy change. The book explores the common patterns that emerged from poor people's experiences in many different places. It starts by presenting the conceptual framework, elaborating on participatory poverty assessments and the study's methodology, including its limitations. It then articulates definitions of poverty from the perspective of the poor, stressing its multi-dimensionality. State institutions and civil society institutions are assessed critically, with their impact on reaching the poor deemed ineffective and limited respectively, forcing the poor to depend primarily on informal networks. Gender relations in the household are then analysed, as is how these affect and are affected by larger institutions of society. The issue of social fragmentation is also explored, including a discussion of social cohesion and social exclusion. The book concludes by proposing the way forward, while elaborating the elements of a strategy for change.
This dissertation focuses on the dynamics between PRA/participatory development and empowerment processes, particularly in the context of gendered relations of power. It starts with a critical discussion of existing literature around PRA, empowerment and gender, from which a theoretical framework is developed. It argues that PRA arenas are spaces of unusual social relations, where the participation of subordinated groups may be perceived as representing their 'empowerment', when in fact such observations are not necessarily indicative of people's 'empowerment' in the time-spaces in which their everyday lives are played out. Drawing on Foucault's notion of 'heterotopian spaces', it then explores whether people's participation in PRA events, their performance of unusual social relations in this constructed arena, can engender their own critical questioning and sustainable transformation of their everyday social relations in everyday time-spaces. Focussing on the particular approach to PRA practiced by the Society for People's Education and Economic Change (SPEECH) and their work within a situated community in Tamil Nadu, southern India, the author centers the analysis around the constructions and practices of gendered relations of power within different time-spaces, and the transformations engendered through the multiple dimensions of SPEECH's work with the community. In doing so, it examines the processes through which 'empowerment' might be re-performed and extended beyond PRA arenas into people's everyday lives.
This is the second issue of REFLECTions, the newsletter of the REFLECT (Regenerated Freierian Literacy through Empowering Community Techniques) Coordination Unit in Bangladesh. The REFLECT approach towards adult-literacy combines the theory of Paulo Freire with the methodology of Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) techniques. A REFLECT project uses innovative means designed by participants of the project for developing learning materials such as maps, matrices, calendars or diagrams. This is instead of the traditional textbook approach. The newsletter pays homage to Paulo Freire as the beacon for REFLECT. It also describes personal experiences of REFLECT participants and the outcomes of the recent trainers forum.