This book reviews contemporary campaigns for community participation and empowerment with examples from all over the world. It critically assesses developments in the 'mixed economy of welfare' in terms of their relevance for self-help and community participation. It also considers the concept of empowerment and its relation to public policy and development within social movements.
In Tanzania, a participatory approach was used to increase community capability to identify poor households and arrange assistance based on community resources. Community-based nutritional status data was used to identify households with severely malnourished children, and community leaders were used to identify poor households. Strengths and weaknesses of participatory methods are discussed with a proposition that their purpose should be community-enabling, rather than only to extract information from communities. The Triple-A cycle developed by UNICEF (Assessment, Analysis and Action) to improve conditions of women and children is adapted to include community assessment, analysis and action. Some case studies from Tanzania are presented with examples from conventional as well as participatory studies.
This paper describes the use of wealth ranking as part of rapid nutritional assessments undertaken between 1988 and 1989 in Darfur, Sudan by an Oxfam nutrition team. The assessments combined two techniques; wealth ranking, a technique to show people's own perceptions of differences in wealth, and conventional weight-for-height measurements of child malnutrition. The objective was to establish whether it was the poorer families who were more likely to have malnourished children. Contrary to expectations, poor nutritional status did not correspond with low wealth status as percieved by the people themselves. It was found that malnourished children were present in both rich and poor families in the three communities surveyed. This suggests that targetting food to households on the basis of socio-economic data may in some cases be inaccurate and wasteful. Wealth ranking was considered by the survey team to be far quicker than household interviews in previous surveys.