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.
With PhotoVoice research participants can express themselves in a visual medium instead of using words, which is beneficial for those who can’t communicate their WASH needs as easily or find it difficult to speak about taboo issues.
This Sanitation Learning Hub Learning Paper explores the potential of an innovative participatory visual method known as PhotoVoice to help to achieve universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) by 2030. The paper outlines what PhotoVoice is, and shares learning relating to its use in the WASH sector around the world for research, programming and advocacy.
It draws on lessons learned from these experiences to show how PhotoVoice can be used for learning in WASH, how it can be used with other methodologies to explore topics which are neglected or taboo, and the benefits and drawbacks of PhotoVoice to consider. It includes practical recommendations for using PhotoVoice in WASH and the ethical considerations to make when it is used. The paper reflects on how PhotoVoice is important for exploring new frontiers in WASH, and can help us gain a deeper understanding into how people experience, interpret and respond to their realities.
Meaningful accountability can shift power imbalances that prevent sustainable development for people living in poverty and marginalisation. Accountability consists of both the rights of citizens to make claims and demand a response, and the involvement of citizens in ensuring that related action is taken.
However, for the poorest and most marginalised people accountability is often unattainable. This briefing draws on research by the Participate initiative to highlight the key components necessary for processes of accountability to be meaningful for all.
This Reality Check was undertaken by a team of Nepali researchers, and carried out as a contribution to the mixed methods approach to monitoring, evaluation and learning commissioned by DFID Nepal to complement and assist the routine monitoring and evaluation of the Rural Access Programme 3 in Mid and Far West Nepal. It complements a ‘baseline’ RCA that was undertaken for RAP in May 2014.
The processes of international development often mean that beneficiaries have pre-designed programmes imposed upon them. Even the most well-intentioned development projects are often constrained by funding requirements from fulfilling their vision of social justice, with the result that poor, marginalized communities feel even more disempowered and excluded by programmes over which they have no control. Participation Pays attempts to show how beneficiaries of aid can challenge and overcome conventional power arrangements set up by donors and development agencies. It does so through a focus on community knowledge and self-generated data, control of which enables greater ownership and direction of development processes. These projects involved members of marginalized and resource-poor communities including landless people, female sex workers, tribal people, and people affected by a natural disaster. Eight thematic case studies are featured, seven from India and one from the Maldives. Participation Pays argues for the need, in any vibrant democracy, for multiple ways of making development more accountable to excluded communities. In doing so, the book invites an understanding of marginalized people not simply as beneficiaries of technical solutions, but –through the work of participatory development projects – architects of a politics of equity and democratization.
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.
The importance of community-based and participatory approaches to rural development in developing countries has long been emphasized. This book demonstrates how rural people can best participate in development projects when they are collectively organized. With the input of collaborators in the field, this book identifies the local social mechanisms that motivate and control people’s self-organizing activities.
Wealth-ranking is a participatory tool enabling people to group others in their community into wealth bands, and thus identify the very poor. The method has been developed to include the broader aspects of well-being – such as social standing and health – that people value as much as material wealth. It tells the story of the development of these assessment methods since the rise of wealth ranking in the 1980s and looks at the results of well-being ranking exercises and how they help identify important differences within communities and monitor changes in well-being over time. Exploring strengths and weaknesses of methods it suggests that understanding differences within communities is essential for good development aid work. The book goes on to describe the successful use of ranking tools over large populations and the value of using multi-dimensional models of well-being, and briefly explores the ideas used to make assessments of well-being at national levels.
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.
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.
Do we use obscure words to impress our colleagues – or fashionable ones to win research proposals? How do poor people define their poverty? How can we use aid budgets most effectively? Are many of our actions against poverty simple, direct... and wrong? This book is an entertaining and unsettling collection of writings that questions concepts, conventions and practices in development. It is made up of short and accessible writings by Robert Chambers, many from the last ten years and some from earlier, reflecting on the evolution of concepts like participation and of organisations like the World Bank. Besides provocations, there is mischief, verse and serious fun. The book is organised into four sections: Word Play, Poverty and Participation, Aid and For Our Future.
From Vulnerability to Resilience: A handbook for programming design based on field experience in Nepal
This handbook is aimed at practitioners who seek examples of how the V2R framework can be used in practice, based on examples from Nepal. It offers a step process, workbooks and tools. It includes guidance on how to include long-term trends in programming with a focus on climate change.
It is essential that organisations working on poverty reduction take into account the impact of climate change on the communities and sectors where they are working. In so doing, they will be better able to support community members and government officials to adapt to the adverse effects and take advantage of any opportunities presented. This requires a detailed analysis of the impacts of climate change at the local level in order to build adaptive capacity to withstand both sudden shocks and incremental changes in the climate. Participatory tools have been updated for use of uncovering community perceptions of changes, alongside identifying historical climate data.