The challenges faced in sanitation and hygiene programmes are numerous and complex. Failures are inevitable. From our experience of working on rapid action learning and research in this sector we have found that when mistakes are shared they are usually those which were uncontrollable and unanticipated i.e. somebody else’s fault.
In this perspectives piece, Jamie Myers and Naomi Vernon from the Sanitation Learning Hub propose a typology of failure alongside criteria for research and learning processes that prioritises timeliness, relevance and actionability. They argue that these can be used together to identify and reflect on failures (and successes) quickly. They provide some practical suggestion for different stakeholders to support a shift towards a more open and reflexive sector, where all types of failures can be shared broadly.
This guide outlines an approach for monitoring and evaluating participatory research (PR). It is intended to provide support to people involved in research and development projects using a PR methodology, in particular at the community level dealing with natural resource management issues. The guide is not a blue-print, but addresses issues that are at the heart of making an art of monitoring and evaluating PR. Chapter one gives a general introduction to issues that influence PR, focusing on the nature of knowledge and information, types of participation, influences on the results of PA, social issues in natural resource management, attitudes of researchers, community perceptions of the research, and project characteristics. The guide is then organized around six basic, interrelated questions that need to be answered when doing monitoring and evaluation (M&E). It examines the reasons for M&E of PR; who benefits from M&E; what to monitor and evaluate; who should monitor and evaluate; when to monitor and evaluate; and how to monitor and evaluate. Examples of tools for M&E of PR are given in each of the five preceding chapters, and a list of these tools with page references is presented at the beginning of the guide. The guide also contains a selected bibliography for references to more detailed information on the subject.
Yoland Wadsworth’s proposition is that the act of inquiry is the way by which every living organism and all collective human life goes about continuously learning, improving and changing. This book explores this approach, a basic theory of human understanding and action. By delving into the cyclical processes of acting, observing, questioning, feeling, reflecting, thinking, planning and acting again, the author identifies how new life might be brought to what we do, both professionally and personally. She also emphasises that the evaluative process needs to drive progress towards social justice and human betterment.
Design Paper for the impact evaluation of the Root and Tuber Improvement & Marketing Program (RTIMP)
This document, jointly authored by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Participatory Development Associates (PDA), lays out the design of the impact evaluation of the Root & Tuber Improvement and Marketing Program (RTIMP) in Ghana. Aiming at improving rural poor people’s livelihoods in Ghana through the development of commodity chains for Roots and Tubers (R&T) supplied by smallholders, the RTIMP consisted of three main areas of work: a) linking of smallholders to old and new markets; b) enhancing smallholder R&T production; and c) enhancing smallholder R&T processing.
The content of this design paper is as follows. The first section briefly describes the impact evaluation approach called PIALA. The second section presents the RTIMP Theory of Change (ToC). The third section continues with the Data Collection Matrix (DCM) laying out the assumptions, evaluation questions and methods. The fourth section presents the multi-stage sampling strategy. The fifth section provided an overview of the methods used to inquire the various populations at different levels. The sixth section outlines the approach taken for data collation, quality monitoring, contribution analysis and rating. Finally, the last section shows the timeline for the evaluation. A bibliography, list of references and annexes are added at the end. The annexes include the desk review note, the sampling frame and procedure, the field research schedule, the district data collation table, and finally, the approved budget.
The Paper was primarily sponsored by IFAD, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (Government of Ghana).
This brief paper is a write up of the experiences of an evaluation team using PRA tools in an impact evaluation of a community based programme providing drinking water (a MYRADA project in Mysore District, Karnataka State, India). The impact evaluation took place over only two days, but, as the paper highlights, some very pertinent lessons resulted from the experience. Six main tools from the 'PRA bag' were used in the evaluation: 'water system map', 'focus group discussions', 'time allocation drawing', 'seasonality of disease', 'individual interviews' and 'observation walk'. On the basis of these methods (and patient facilitation work by the PRA team), it was revealed that the any first impressions of a 'perfect' drinking water system were, in fact, unfounded. Serious (but rectifiable) flaws in the project - in terms of efficiency and equity of access - were exposed and, as a result, the local community became involved in identifying some remedial actions. This extremely useful, and clearly written, paper concludes with a frank discussion of some of the problems with the use of PRA tools, which according to the author, primarily stem from a poor understanding of group dynamics and good facilitation techniques.
This paper presents the experiences and lessons obtained in conducting on-farm participatory research in North Omo, Ethiopia, by an foreign NGO. It highlights how PRA techniques are used in the on-farm trials programme. The objective of the project Farmers' Research Project, is to raise incomes of resource-poor households by improving agricultural technology. Farmers' participatory research is the key approach adopted. To achieve this, the agricultural and extension staff on the project were trained in participatory approaches to enable them incorporate farmers participatory research (FRR) into their own work programmes. The paper discusses how farmers are involved in the decision making process about the research which in itself, is an innovation of farming systems research. The paper mentions that one of the ways farmer participation is achieved is through conducting on-farm trials by going through the stages of diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation, using PRA. Each stage is discussed in the paper. In conclusion, the paper mentions the mutual respect of both staff and farmers as experts, close contacts and cross visits as approaches that played an important role in raising the level of understanding.
A need exists for food security indicators, for use in targeting food security programs, to be both simple to derive and use. This document reports on research to develop such alternative indicators which combined both quantitative and qualitative approaches for identifying indicators of poverty, food insecurity and undernutrition. Participatory rural appraisal techniques and ethnographic case studies were used to identify locally determined indicators of food insecurity.
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.
This paper introduces the work of the project introduces the work on the project Action Research on Community-Based Planning (CBP), providing both the background to the topic and findings after two years. How community involvement in planning and management can link to decentralised delivery systems has formed the basis of this DFID funded action research project covering Uganda, Zimbabwe, Ghana, and South Africa. The CBP project was developed as a response to two challenges: an analysis of the institutional issues in trying to implement a sustainable livelihoods approach; and a realisation of the limitations of efforts to promote decentralisation, where these concentrated on local government itself, and not also on how local government serves citizens. The paper begins by looking at the challenges of implementing a Sustainable Livelihoods Approach on micro (community) and macro (local government) levels. It goes on to describe the purpose and approach of the action research on community based planning project. An approach was adopted addressing all the focuses of CBP in a manner that is implementable and sustainable using the resources available to local governments and in local communities. The principles underlying this approach to CBP are described together with the main challenges of the approach. The core methodology of the approach involved the use of a variety of PRA (Participatory Rural Appraisal)/PLA (Participatory learning and Action) tools, combined in a three to five day strategic process. In the first year of piloting two million people were covered by the methodology. The paper concludes with a discussion of the challenges of upscaling CBP projects.
This book is a guide to a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods for research and practice. It examines the concept of participation and ethical considerations in fieldwork, and stresses methodological pluralism and dialogue in development planning. The main part of the book is devoted to participatory methods. It discusses techniques such as ranking and scoring, mapping and diagrams, and the use of indicators, focus groups and semi- structured interviews in poverty and gender analysis. Participatory monitoring and evaluation and sustainability analysis are also discussed.