How can ordinary citizens - and the organizations and movements with which they engage - make changes in national policies which affect their lives, and the lives of others around them? Under what conditions does citizen action contribute to more responsive states, pro-poor policies and greater social justice? What is needed to overcome setbacks, and to consolidate smaller victories into 'successful' change? These are the questions taken up by this book which brings together eight studies of successful cases of citizen activism in South Africa, Morocco, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Turkey, India and the Philippines.
Close relationships between researchers and participants engaged in a feminst participatory action research project have brought joy and insight, but also challenges. Through the project the authors collaborate to enhance participants' careers and, among some, develop feminst consciousness. This paper discusses methodological and ethical issues that derive from the closeness of the relationships between many of the participants and the authors themelves. Subjectivities are explored, the issues associated with interpreting participants' stories, actions and conversations, the risk of perpetuating uncritical assimilation or colonisation for Maori participants, and the challenge of matching practice with ideals of emancipation for all women.
Feminist discourses of (dis)empowerment in an action research project involving rural women and communication technologies
Women's empowerment is a central aim of feminist action research. However, due to the many contradictory discourses of empowerment, it has become a contested concept. Drawing on poststructuralist theories of power-knowledge, discourse and subjectivity, this article critically analyses the discourses identified in an Australian feminist action research porjcect involving rural women, academics and industry partners. This project aimed to empower women to discuss and use interactive communication technologies (ICTs). This analysis highlights the contradictory effects of the egalitarian and expert discourses that were identified, and the multiple, often conflicting, subject positions that were taken up by the researchers and participants. Our analysis suggests that discourses of empowerment and disempowerment intersect and interpenetrate one another, and highlights some of the dangers and contradictions associated with feminist participatory action research. We argue that a poststructuralist appproach to analysis and critical reflexivity can lessen the "impossible burden" on academic feminists engaged in emancipatory research.
Concepts and methods of ‘participation’ are used increasingly to shape policy and deliver services. Such approaches throw new light on complex interactions within and between society and state institutions at all levels. They lead to questions about how different kinds of knowledge and values shape policy choices. What are the societal and political processes through which power operates that inform whose voice is heard and whose is excluded? What is power? Is it about making people act against their best interests; or is it the glue that keeps society together? What are the connections between power and social change? These questions are at the core of research and teaching by the Participation, Power and Social Change Team at IDS, and this IDS Bulletin presents current work on the practice of power in development and the entry points for change. Contributions to this issue, and ways in which power is interrogated, are very varied – despite a shared commitment to exploring its meaning for social change. In categorising power in the way the team has, the intention has not been to offer a comprehensive or exclusive framework for analysis. Rather, a positive spiral between reflection and transformation is constructed, concluding that the role of the action researcher/teacher is to explore with others how power can be harnessed for change, and to work alongside them in tracing and learning from the myriad of micro-level efforts, successes and failures.
This book is a collection of analytical narratives of what has happened to feminist voice, a key pathway to women’s empowerment. These narratives depart from the existing debate on women’s political engagement in formal institutions to examine feminist activism for building and sustaining constituencies through raising, negotiating and legitimizing women’s voice under different contexts.
Bringing together the reflections and experiences of feminist researchers and activists in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, this unique volume explores how various global trends, such as the development of transnational linkages, the rise of conservative forces, the NGOization of feminist movements, and an increase in the power of donors, have created opportunities and challenges for feminist voice and activism.
MASVAW Movement Mapping Report: Movement Mapping and Critical Freflection with Activists of the Men's Action to Stop Violence Against Women (MASVAW) Campaign, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, August 2014
Engaging men and boys in addressing gender-based violence has grown in attention over the past 20 years. However, the emerging field predominantly focuses on the issues as a problem of individuals, neglecting the role of the institutions and policies that shape norms of gender inequality and perpetuate violent power asymmetries between men and women in people’s everyday lives (Cornwall, Edström and Grieg 2011).
Men’s engagement in addressing GBV has therefore tended to be relatively depoliticised, focusing predominantly on individuals’ attitude and behaviour change, and less on accountability of the structures that uphold patriarchal power relations and male supremacy, such as macroeconomic policies and the governance cultures of many formal and informal institutions.
This movement mapping report thus introduces a collaborative research project between the Centre for Health and Social Justice (CHSJ), India, their local activist partners in the Men’s Action to Stop Violence Against Women (MASVAW) campaign and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) to explore the effectiveness of men’s collective action in addressing GBV. CHSJ is working across India on the issue of mobilising men to transform discriminatory norms into those based on equity, equality and gender justice to ensure the fundamental human rights of all people.
The research is premised on the notion that challenging patriarchy and working towards gender equality must include working with men and boys to understand their privileges as well as the co-option, coercion and subjugation that they also face within a patriarchal system. In turn, we aim to improve understanding and knowledge of the changing roles of men in addressing GBV and how and why collective action holds possibilities as an effective strategy to support this in the Indian context. This research is exploring the actors, strategies, challenges, collaborations and pathways for future engagement of the MASVAW campaign that works across the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Disabling Menstrual Barriers: Identifying and Addressing the Barriers to Menstrual Hygiene that Adolescents and Young People with Disabilities Face in Nepal
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.
Opening the Doors to the Hidden WASH Needs of Women from the Onset of the Perimenopause in Urban Ghana
Recent debates on ensuring equity and inclusion in sanitation and hygiene provision in the Global South have begun to explore the needs of excluded groups of individuals. Yet, the sanitation and hygiene needs of perimenopausal (PM) women, who are making the transition to menopause, are neglected.
This study explores this new field of research and aims to provide recommendations to meet the sanitation and hygiene needs of PM women. Opening the doors to these needs warrants the use of adaptive, participative, feminist methodologies, placing PM women at the centre of the study to enable them to share their experiences. This research uses a six-stage case study methodology: a literature review, a phenomenological review, research design, case study selection, data collection, and data analysis.
This research identified several sanitation and hygiene needs as crucial to PM women’s health. This research concludes that the hidden sanitation and hygiene needs of PM women require participatory techniques to reveal them. Relationships with certain people allow PM women to discuss and meet the sanitation and hygiene needs to a degree. PM symptoms vary in nature, between women and day to day. This research demonstrates that the sanitation and hygiene sector needs to become more attentive to bathing and laundry issues overall, learning from the needs of PM women.
An intentional focus on gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) is key to sustainable and effective Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) projects.
This guidance is for staff of WASH implementation and research projects and organisations, who are committed to improving the practice of GESI in their projects and organisations.
What is this tool for? To support individual and collective reflective practice among staff on the extent and quality of gender equality and social inclusion work in their WASH projects and organisation.
Who should use this tool? Anyone working on WASH implementation or research projects that wants to improve (GESI) practice.
Who needs to be involved in the process?
- A Contact Point within your project/organisation/team to guide the process internally
- Staff and managers from across your organisation/team/project (maximum 20 people)
- A facilitator, ideally someone external
How long does the process take?
- For implementing WASH agencies, four x 2 hour workshops, plus 2 hours individual preparation and 2 hours preparation in pairs
- For research and learning WASH organisations, three x 2 hour workshops, plus 2 hours individual preparation and 2 hours preparation in pairs
This publication is also available in French and Portuguese:
- Outil d’autoévaluation de l’égalité des genres et l’inclusion sociale
- Ferramenta de auto-avaliação de Igualdade de Género e Inclusão Social
Watch the launch webinar here
The Afar people of Northern Ethiopia live in what can be considered the very definition of ‘challenging contexts.’ Largely nomadic pastoralists, they navigate a harsh and unforgiving landscape, often having to travel great distances for water. They have been described as living on the frontline of climate change. The Covid-19 pandemic and emerging peace and security issues in Ethiopia have only compounded challenges around poverty, nutrition and sanitation as markets are disrupted and entire communities are displaced.
It can still be incredibly challenging to ensure that the most marginalised members of a community are included and actively engaged in the process . In the case of Afar, this encompasses women, those with little to no formal schooling and those with very low levels of literacy. With this learning paper the authors want to share their experiences of using a methodology designed to include the voices of those most marginalised – in particular, women’s voices – in a nutrition and WASH participatory research project in Northern Ethiopia.
Fostvedt-Mills Consulting (FMC) was contracted by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) as part of their Improved Food security through Transitional Aid for Resilience Project (IFTAR), which aimed to improve the nutritional status of vulnerable groups and the nutritional and hygiene behaviours of caregivers. They were asked to investigate the attitudes and practises of target communities in Afar relating to nutrition and water, sanitation, and hygiene and then to design a subsequent intervention that was contextually relevant to the communities.
For the study, FMC sought to answer the questions:
- What are the social and gender-based factors determining the nutrition and WASH practices of the communities?
- How are those factors affecting the nutrition and WASH practices of the communities?
In designing the approach, FMC wanted to ensure that they carried out their research with the communities, rather than on the communities, in a way that would build trust and create a shared understanding of the future intervention and generate interest and a sense of ownership in its potential outcomes.
The full study carried out by FMC included a desk review as well as primary quantitative and qualitative data collection. In this learning paper they share the findings from the qualitative research. Specifically, FMC examine how the use of photovoice and Community Action Planning methods worked to amplify the voices of women and ultimately engage a more diverse group of community members in the research process. They will share our most important findings and discuss some of the advantages and challenges of using these methods in Afar, as well as the potential for application of these research methods in other challenging contexts.