Indigenous people and local communities (ILSs) are struggling to defend their rights over land and other resources they have traditionally used and over traditional knowledge they have developed over generations. They experience outsiders such as mining organisations being given rights without any reference to them, and receive few benefits from the commercial use of their crops or knowledge. Two righs-based tools – community protocols (CPs) and free, prior informed consent (FPIC) are being used to help claim indigenous rights and negotiate agreements in various biodiversity contexts. This issue of PLA draws on a range of experiences of using these tools, the lessons learnt and ways to maximise the benefits of their use. Some 17 articles are divided into five parts: setting the scene – research partnerships and ABS from the perspective of communities; institutional innovations for FPIC and benefit-sharing; community protocols for genetic resources and ABS; community protocols and FPIC – mining, protected areas and forest partnerships, and tips for trainers.
In 2020, WSSCC’s India Support Unit (now UNOPS) piloted a new participatory approach called Community Leave No One Behind (CLNOB) to support the Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen (SBM-G) Phase II. This Sanitation Learning Hub learning brief outlines the purpose of CLNOB, the actions generated by the pilot and our reflections of the CLNOB approach.
The pilot took place in five districts in India (Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh, Ranchi in Jharkhand, Kamrup in Assam, South 24 Paragnas in West Bengal and Purnea in Bihar). A Prerak (facilitator) was appointed in each district to support this process and work within villages at community level. The Sanitation Learning Hub supported an accompanying learning component of the pilot, facilitating learning sessions between the preraks and the development of a Handbook based on the experience.
This learning brief outlines the purpose of CLNOB, the actions generated by the pilot and our reflections of the CLNOB approach. The CLNOB Handbook, a handbook on Community Leave No One Behind, accompanies this Learning Brief. CLNOB was designed to ensure a participatory method to enable sustained access to safely managed sanitation facilities for people who have been ‘left behind’ or left out of the first phase of India’s national sanitation campaign.
Participatory processes at the grassroots can have a powerful impact. But what happens afterwards to the learning and knowledge generated? Are these experiences translated into wider organisational learning, and if so how – or why not? And what impact do they have on decision-making or strategic planning within INGOs? This special issue of PLA explores how widely the impacts created from participatory processes spread from their original source. Following an initial overview, the 24 articles are divided into four parts: Part 1 looks at participatory communication practice and how the information is generated; Part 2 is about making sense of the dynamics of interpretation and use of participatory outputs; Part 3 is about learning in organisations and Part 4 explores structures, mechanisms and spaces.
The Listening to People Living in Poverty Study was undertaken by ActionAid Nepal in order to break away from traditional poverty analysis. It aimed to be an in-depth, wide-ranging investigation of all the details that are usually omitted from reports, and to document poverty from the eyes of poor men and women themselves. The study produced a number of outputs, one of which was the Nepal Country study which is divided into two volumes. This first volume is a collection of poor people’s stories: over 60 in total covering 10 districts across Nepal.
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.
This article describes the exploratory and preparatory phase of a research project designed to use co-operative enquiry as a method for transformative and participatory action research into relations between donors and recipients in two developing countries, Bolivia and Bangladesh. It describes the origins of the idea, the conceptual challenges that the authors faced in seeking funding, and what they learned from this first phase. The authors analyse why the researchers, as well as the potential subjects of the research, were uncomfortable with the proposed methodology, including the challenges arising from their own positions and the highly sensitive nature of the topic. They explain why they decided to abandon the project, and they reach some tentative conclusions concerning the options for participatory action learning and research in development practice.
This 66th issue of Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) includes general articles on participatory approaches to development submitted by readers and explores the links between participation, sustainable natural resource management and improving livelihoods. It also includes a selection of other articles, including how urban community groups in Chile have opposed two urban redevelopment projects; the use of participatory impact assessment tools to define, measure, monitor, review and analyse progress; and a discussion of ethical issues and standards for participatory work. There are also reflections from members of the international Resource Centres for Participatory Learning and Action (RCPLA) network, a foreword from IIED’s Camilla Toulmin and reflections from Robert Chambers of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS). The PLA series was 25 years old in 2013 and at this milestone, IIED decided to take stock to look at PLA’s legacy and future direction. After this issue, the series will be put on hold, pending the findings from an external evaluation.
UNICEF Field Notes on Community Approaches to Total Sanitation: Learning from Five Country Programmes
Developed primarily for UNICEF staff and its partners, these field notes can be used to learn about specific aspects of Community Approaches to Total Sanitation (CATS) programmes in different contexts. For example, learning on CATS monitoring was captured in the Zambia and Mali cases, while the Philippines and Nepal have good experiences on strengthening sub-national governance for sanitation.
The Haiti and Mali cases meanwhile capture lessons on improving and maintaining CATS effectiveness (defined as the number of communities ‘triggered’ that went on to become open defecation free [ODF]). The issue of what happens beyond ODF certification is addressed in Mali and in the Philippines.
In addition, application of components of Social Norms Theory to strengthen CATS programming was also captured in some of the cases – notably in Nepal and Zambia. Experiences on implementing CATS after humanitarian crises can be learnt from the Philippines and Haiti. With regards to equity, Mali has experience in working to leave no community behind, while Nepal has developed a programme that resulted in mobilising support for the most vulnerable households.
Using Immersive Research to Understand Rural Sanitation: Lessons from the Swachh Bharat Mission in India
This paper focuses on an Immersive Research Approach designed by Praxis, the Sanitation Learning Hub at IDS and WaterAid whereby researchers lived in villages in recently declared open defecation free districts, to gain an in-depth understanding of ground realities and community perspectives of the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin.
The study shed light on key aspects and dynamics influencing local ownership, behaviour change and construction quality, and also revealed multifaceted exclusion processes. The immersive approach helped build trust with villagers and allowed a unique insight into the SBM in its ‘real life’ context, necessary to explore hidden dynamics and diverse perspectives, and understand the complexities involved.
Despite some practical challenges, undertaking immersive studies and experiences would be beneficial for improving the Swachh Bharat Mission and other sanitation programmes. The approach could be adopted pragmatically, but always respecting some basic principles and ethical behaviour.
Using Participatory Process Evaluation to Understand the Dynamics of Change in a Nutrition Education Programme
With roots in approaches to popular education and participatory action research that place the learner and the ‘beneficiary’ of development at the centre of enquiry and action, the participatory visualisation methods associated with Participatory Rural Appraisal have been widely used as tools for learning and accountability. In this article, the author reflects on lessons learnt from using these methods in a participatory process evaluation of an educational programme aimed at addressing chronic malnutrition in an East African country. Building on this experience, she explores the educative and empowering dimensions of participatory visualisation methods, and considers the contribution that these methods can make to effective evaluation.