This book focuses on the use of participatory research in poverty reduction policies and presents a series of participants reflections on recent and on going processes. Contributions from researchers and practitioners in the field of poverty reduction examine how participatory research has affected the way poverty is understood and how these understandings have been acted on in policy making for poverty reduction. The critical reflections of the authors feature various aspects of the relationship between participation and policy, spanning different levels from the individual researcher to the global institution. They highlight lessons to be learned from current practice and challenges for the future, including the balancing of knowledge, action and consciousness in participatory research processes which can influence the development of policy that reflects and responds to the needs and priorities of poor people.
Challenging and changing the big picture: the roles of participatory research in public planning policy
This article examines the guiding ideas and ultimate realities of government-led participatory research in Tanzania and Uganda. It considers the extent to which research results have influenced meso- (e.g. district) and macro- (e.g. national) level planning for poverty reduction and why; the degree to which research processes have contributed to democratisation and citizen empowerment and implications for the future of participatory approaches to policy oriented research. The article reflects over the consequences of recent initiatives from development aid donors to streamline development assistance and improve the performance of sector ministries, leading to unprecedented pressure for poor countries to generate up-to-date, detailed socio-economic data. It looks specifically on how this has affected East Africa. It goes on to give a background to the development and role of Participatory Poverty Assessments (PPAs) in Africa, and looks specifically at the Tanzania PPA (TzPPA), 2002-2003, and the Ugandan PPA Process (UPAP), 1998-2001. It compares the methodological differences of the two projects, where the bad experiences with Community Action Plans (CAPs) in UPAP led TzPPA; and UPAP focussed more on involving as many individual community members as possible while TzPPA only sought large community-wide. Finally an analysis is made of the benefits of participatory approaches in UAPAP and TzPPA on policy and empowerment, and it concludes with the potentials and pitfalls of PPAs.
This journal, published by PRIA (Participatory Research in Asia) in New Delhi, focuses on the facilitation of citizenÆs participation in development and democratic governance. This volume presents 7 articles where of 3 are based directly on experiences from practice in case studies, and many are based on experiences from workshops organised by PRIA. Tandon and Mohanty examine the role of civil society initiatives in influencing public policy in India (Influencing public policy: civil society and governance in India). Poverty eradication and democratic governance in South Asia by Sen, is based on the deliberations and concerns that emerged out of the first module, ôUnderstanding the Macro-Policy frameworkö in the second course of Regional Advocacy Training programme held at PRIA. Sen also describes the Status of Baisis in the contemporary context: a study in the Deogarh district of JharkhandI, which is a tiered traditional system of self-governance. Dwivedi contributes with the Challenges of leadership in Voluntary Development Organisations and a discussion of Participatory impact Assessment in South Asia, a pilot project initiated by New Zeeland VASS (Voluntary Agency Support Scheme). Anand write about Experiences and lessons of strengthening citizenÆs monitoring in Jharkand: A citizenship perspective, and Mohanty analyses Research practice engagement for social development. The journal also includes four book reviews on: Internatinoal prespective on voluntary action- Reshaping the third sector edited by Lewis; Complex responsive processes in organisations- Learning and knowledge creation by Staecy; Participation of the poor in Development Initiatives- Taking their rightful place by Long; and Roles and relevance- Development NGOs and the challenge of change by Lewis and Wallace.
With this pioneering book introducing participatory approaches in rural development, the author challenges preconceptions dominating rural development at the time. The central theme of the book is that rural poverty is often unseen or misperceived by outsiders, those who are not themselves rural and poor. The author contends that researchers, scientists, administrators and fieldworkers rarely appreciate the richness and validity of rural peopleÆs knowledge, or the hidden nature of rural poverty. He argues for a new professionalism, with fundamental reversals in outsidersÆ learning, values and behavior, and proposes more realistic action for tackling rural poverty. The book is divided into eight chapters focusing on rural poverty unperceived (i.e. as perceived by outsiders); two cultures of outsiders, negative academics vs. positive practitioners; how outsiders learn; power structures and knowledge; integrated rural poverty including deprivation, vulnerability and powerlessness; making priorities for action; reversals in professional values and bridging gaps between disciplines, professions and departments; and recommendations and discussion of practical actions.
The main focus of this report is to understand how positive change can happen from the perspectives of people living in greatest poverty and marginalisation and what can be done to promote this change. It is based on findings from participatory research, conducted by the Participate Participatory Research Group (PRG), that was undertaken by grassroots organisations, activists and citizens in 29 countries across the world. The views, stories, and experiences of the participants were collected and shared through diverse mediums including participatory film-making, digital storytelling, public forums, public theatre and art.
The report highlights how the poorest and most marginalised communities' experience of poverty is multidimensional, often characterised by low incomes, insecure livelihoods, limited or no assets, harsh living environments, violence and environmental degradation. These factors combine with multiple and interconnected inequalities, and close down the opportunities that people have to change their situation themselves. Most of all this research showed the depth of insight and intelligence of people who face extremely difficult circumstances and is a call to pay attention to what this ability offers to those who seek to promote development.
The report's authors argue that development should focus on the very poorest and work with them to make the decisions that matter most in their lives. The research shows that development interventions are targeted at those who are easiest to reach. They are often based on strong assumptions about the experiences of the poorest, rather than a real understanding of how they experience poverty and inequality. The results of this research will contribute ongoing international discussions about a new set of poverty reduction and environmental sustainability targets to replace the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015.
Knowledge from the Margins: An Anthology from a Global Network on Participatory Practice and Policy Influence
The Participate initiative involves 18 organisations, who work with diverse marginalised people in over 30 countries, coming together to make their voices count on development policy. This anthology is an account of the activities carried out by the Participatory Research Group (PRG) within the Participate initiative between 2012 and 2014, and also a reflection on the methods and processes created and utilised during that time. It aims to share the insights and lessons learnt to help promote thought and discussion about how to use participatory approaches to influence policy at a variety of levels. These experiences include: applying, adapting and innovating participatory methods to promote the voices of participants in all stages of the research process; creating opportunities and spaces for including the perspectives articulated through the research where possible in the policymaking processes; and embedding participatory approaches in local-to global policymaking processes.
Rapid changes are taking place in international development. The past two decades have promoted the ideals of participation and partnership, yet key decisions affecting people's lives continue to be made without sufficient attention to the socio-political realities of the countries in which they live. Embedded working traditions, vested interests and institutional inertia mean that old habits and cultures persist among the development community. On this premise, the authors of this book describe the need to recognise the complex, non-linear nature of development assistance and how bureaucratic procedures and power relations hinder poverty reduction in the new aid environment. The book begins with a conceptual and historical analysis of aid, exposing the challenges and opportunities facing aid professionals today. It argues for greater attention to accountability and the adoption of rights based approaches. In section two, practitioners, policymakers and researchers discuss the realities of power and relationships from their experiences across 16 countries. Their accounts, from government, donors and civil society, expose the highly politicised and dynamic aid environment in which they work. The book then explores ways forward for aid agencies, challenging existing political, institutional and personal ways of working. Breaking the barriers to ensure more inclusive aid will require visionary leadership and a courageous commitment to change. The authors show how translating rhetoric into practice relies on changing the attitudes and behaviours of individual actors. The book aims to present a contribution to the understanding of how development assistance and poverty reduction can be most effectively delivered by the professionals and agencies involved.
What Matters Most? Evidence from 84 participatory studies with those living with extreme poverty and marginalisation
This Participate report draws on the experiences and views of people living in extreme poverty and marginalisation in 107 countries. It distils messages from 84 participatory research studies published in the last seven years.
A development framework post-2015 will have legitimacy if it responds to the needs of all citizens, in particular those who are most marginalised and face ongoing exclusion from development processes. The framework has to incorporate shared global challenges and have national level ownership if it is to support meaningful change in the lives of people living in poverty.
What do Buzzwords do for Development Policy? A critical look at 'participation', 'empowerment' and 'poverty reduction'
In the fast-moving world of development policy, buzzwords play an important part in framing solutions. Today's development orthodoxies are captured in a seductive mix of such words, among which ‘participation’, ‘empowerment’ and ‘poverty reduction’ take a prominent place. This paper takes a critical look at how these three terms have come to be used in international development policy, exploring how different configurations of words frame and justify particular kinds of development interventions.
It analyses their use in the context of two contemporary development policy instruments, the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (prsps) and the Millennium Development Goals (mdgs). We show how words that once spoke of politics and power have come to be reconfigured in the service of today's one-size-fits-all development recipes, spun into an apoliticised form that everyone can agree with. As such, we contend, their use in development policy may offer little hope of the world free of poverty that they are used to evoke.
This is the introductory chapter to the Handbook of Participatory Research and Inquiry. The handbook aims to articulate a wide range of pioneering and cutting-edge perspectives, as well as some innovative mainstream approaches, methods and techniques - in other words, what the editors and quthors see as the state of the art at the current time. Developed over the past few decaes, these perspectives and approaches reflect the work of a community of researchers, professionals and activists eganged in research that is both participatory and intrinsicaly linked to interventions and actions for social transformation.