This article, as part of the special 50th edition of PLA Notes, looks at specific tools and methods used by an alliance of three organisations in India that are engaged in initiatives to reduce urban poverty. The organisations are the National Slum Dwellers Federation (NSDF), Mahila Milan (savings cooperatives formed by women slum and pavement dwellers) and the Indian NGO SPARC. The article provides a background of the development of the tools and methods used by these organisations over the last 20 years, which are then linked to empowerment, learning and transformation: Poor people know what their problems are and generally have good ideas regarding what solutions they want. But they lack the resources or capacities to demonstrate that they can produce a solution. So the federations support their members to try out solutions in what can be termed a learning cycle. Some of the tools and methods covered in the article include savings and credit, mapping, surveys, community exchanges and house modelling. The author also describes how the Alliance (the grouping of the 3 organisations) works differently from other NGOs whose strategies tend to be about lobbying and advocating directly for change. Instead, the Alliance focuses on setting precedents and using these precedents to negotiate for changes in policies and practices. As a case study of this approach, the article describes the use of community toilet initiatives. Some of the outcomes include bringing communities together, expanding livelihood options for the participants (who gain useful skills and experiences from building the toilets), strengthening relations with municipal authorities, changing national policies, and enabling spaces for communities to learn. The article concludes with three overarching implication for change processes initiated in the community by the toilet projects, arguing that the poor make ideal partners in the projects and that the projects themselves need to be community managed and controlled. These are: organisation for empowerment; community-based problem solving; and learning to negotiate with city and state governments and other groups.
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.
This publication, produced by the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights, discusses community exchanges between poor people. Horizontal exchanges provide people the space and support to explore and refine their knowledge, builds capacities to deal with the root issues of poverty and homelessness, and to work out their own means to participate in decision-making which affects their lives. Exchange builds networks and working alliances with sufficient scale and clout to strengthen representation of the poor in development debates and to expand the role the poor can play in bringing about equity and social justice. Solutions that are worked out locally potentially become the building blocks for scaling up. The report extracts some of the fundamental ideas about community exchanges, which are then examined in further detail and illustrated with anecdotes. Ideas, tips and lessons learned abound!
A detailed plan to articulate and disseminate experiences in community exchange programmes between low-income urban communities in Asia and Africa. The report highlights the value of community participation and community exchanges in the light of growing urbanization and decentralization of services. The objective of these exchange programmes has been to transform a process of urban development by enabling the poor themselves to be directly involved in planning and negotiating local development strategies that make sense to them and which fit within their existing livelihood struggles. The organisations involved are: Pilotlight in UK, Asian Coalition for Housing Rights based in Thailand, IIED in UK, Society for the Protection of Area Resource Centres in India and People's Dialogue on Land and Shelter in South Africa.
The Pollards Hill Building Connections Single Regeneration Budget Scheme will run for five years with a budget of ú5 million. It aims to improve access to education, training and employment, develop local enterprise, strengthen healthcare and improve the quality of life in the local community. This needs assessment was carried out as part of the "strengthening health care" theme and focused on residents views of life in Pollards HillI. Involving 550 people across a spectrum of ages, it captured their experiences, thoughts, ideas and suggestions for improving the quality of life for local people.
This article argues that the diversity of people to be found in urban areas and also the lack of clear geograhical divisions make it difficult to transfer PRA tools, techniques and topics from rural to urban areas. Where PRA would focus around crops, often in urban areas small business activities have been substituted but in some groups even this has been problematic since for example, some women's group members have no opportunity to start such activities. The paper suggests that it may be more appropriate to organise REFLECT circles around a common occupation so that members can share a common body of skills and knowledge and analyse common practices. Alternatively, circles could be organised around loan use, public works schemes or feeding programmes.
In spite of children and young people being involved in many aspects of community life, social policy in the UK often neglects their interests. This book argues that contrary to conventional adult wisdom children and young people are competent to take part in collective decision making and that it is essential that they do so. Practical examples from Save the Children's work are provided to show ways in which children and young people can be encouraged to participate and have a real say in how things are done.
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.
Resource material for local and national networks to learn about and define sustainability in densely populated industrial regions. The handbook describes ways of mapping and defining flows in human and biological systems, measuring and assessing sustainability, building networks and organizing for action.
This case book was prepared by an independent task force on 'community action for social development' as a prelude to the Copenhagen Social Summit. The 12 case studies on successful community-based social development are from a wide range of countries, such as Zimbabwe, Colombia, Tanzania, Sweden, India, Kenya, Poland, Pakistan, Tibet, Thailand and China. This casebook presents diversity of the worldwide movement towards community- based social development and defines a common process used by the successful programs. A common theme that runs through these case studies is that sustainable social development is difficult but possible; outside agencies involved in sustainable human development should respect people, their values and cultures, build trust and share power and responsibility with the people. The book also stresses the need to provide space for community action and maintain close co-operation between the state, community and NGO.
This is a newsletter which describes the formation of the Midnet PRA group and includes a number of very short articles and thoughts on practitioners experiences with PRA in Southern Africa. Experiences shared include working with young people, in education, with periurban communities, for catchment management and for land reform. The methods used are discussed with details of venn diagrammes for community organisation, historical time lines. There are reports from trainings in Namaqualand and Namibia. The thoughts that emerged from evaluation/ reflection and planning meetings included the ideas of rapid learning and sharing and the need for more training. The final article summarises the PRA and gender workshop held at IIED in December 1993.
This report is a review of the different participatory methodologies used in development throughout Africa. It includes overviews of the literature on participatory development, and participation in agriculture and natural resource management, forestry, health, credit, literacy, water, and urban programming. Numerous methodologies are outlined (e.g. animation rurale, auto-evaluation, GRAAP, Theatre for Development, RRA etc.). ACORD's experience with participatory methodologies in Burkina Faso, Mali, Uganda and Sudan are discussed in detail. There are annotated bibliographies on ACORD and key general publications relating to participatory methodologies, and lists of key institutions.
The author analyses maps both as a metaphor for knowledge and also as a major means of knowledge representation. The book is designed to exercise the skills of visualisation and visual analysis, which the author says are essential to any understanding of the basic theoretical issues of perception and cognition. The author considers maps as embodying shared examples of practice and believes that all maps have a "local, contingent and indexical character intimately tied to human purposes and action." While the book does not mention PRA or RRA in any context, it could serve as useful background reading before undertaking any mapping exercises or training.