This paper presents some basic challenges faced by ZOA-Refugee Care, an international Christian NGO, in Rwanda in recent years. The organisation has been working in the post-1994 genocide and war period to provide emergency aid, and now increasingly focuses on community development work. The paper reports on the background of the project, issues around institutional environment and organisation change of ZOA-Rwanda, notes from the PRA sessions held, and follow-up processes. Along with specific recommendations, it is seen that the decentralisation policy of the Rwandan government offers a good opportunity for a participatory approach, particularly as local authorities have a large impact on the progress of a development programme and are crucial to inducing change.
This paper raises issues around PRA as an empowering process. For the poor, product matters more than process and "it is the functional, material gain which is the entry point, not the empowerment". PRA can be seen as "Orwellian manipulation" from the point of view of "elaborate processes imposed to secure participation". In practice, those "least familiar with Western cultural processes will be the most excluded and manipulated" - usually the women of a community. Any approach or technique has "differing meanings in differing geographical, cultural and temporal contexts", so PRA should also be seen as "context limited and context enhanced".
Regaining knowledge: an appeal to abandon illusions: manual for innovative, community-based shelter training programmes
This training manual for innovative, community-based shelter training programmes is the result of a partnership which has developed since 1991 between the People's Dialogue, a national network linking representatives from illegal and informal settlements in South Africa, and a group of three organisations in India. These are SPARC, an NGO working broadly in the area of housing and community development; the National Slum Dwellers Federation; and Mahila Milan, a federation of women's collectives. The first part of the manual describes the participation of the South African delegation in a shelter training programme in India. Part two focuses on a follow-up training conducted by the South African delegates in their own country, with the support of the Indian trainers. Forty leaders of the Federations of the Homeless Poor in South Africa took part as they assisted one township to explore their shelter options. The final section reflects on the kinds of methodology followed in the process and provides guidelines for training.
This article describes 'Development Planning for Real', a new approach for integrating participation into the uban planning process. It has grown out of 'Planning for Real', which is discussed in the article by Tony Gibson in the same issue of RRA Notes. Pilot trials of the approach are being held in a number of countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Early pilot results from Cambodia, Tanzania and Zambia suggest that the approach can be successfully used to generate a community-controlled planning process in both rural and urban contexts, and in a variety of societies and cultures.
Brief note on results of internal evaluation regarding the use of PRA by The Community Action Programme in Uganda. In the programme trained community facilitators used PRA techniques with partner communities to develop micro-projects. The report outlines some of the short-comings of the facilitation process based on the results of a survey of a random sample of the partner communities. The survey examined, attendance by men and women of PRA sessions, PRA tools remembered by participants and aspects learnt, the relationship between men and women's main problems and the final choice of micro-project and their level of agreement with it.