Local people can generate their own numbers – and the statistics that result are powerful for them and can influence policy. Since the early 1990’s there has been a quiet tide of innovation in generating statistics using participatory methods. Across all sectors from local to national, participatory statistics are being generated in the design, monitoring and evaluation, and impact assessment of development interventions. This book, by describing policy, programme and project research, aims to provide impetus for the adoption and mainstreaming of participatory statistics within international development practice. It lays down the challenge of institutional change that allows a win-win outcome in which statistics are part of an empowering process for local people and a valuable information flow for those open to it in aid agencies and government departments.
This collection of lessons from the field brings together the experiences of ActionAid's newly adopted approach to annual reviews: participatory reviews and reflections. These processes allow communities to challenge the organisation over the way money is raised and spent, the ability to demand greater openness and flexibility, and the possibility of raising rights issues. Review and reflection is a key part of ActionAid's 'accountability, learning and planning' system (ALPS), which makes accountability to the poor and marginalised central. The key principles of ALPS are explored through case studies presented of on-going projects in India and Africa, and include: " Strengthening ActionAid's main accountability to the people they target and work with; " Strengthening commitment to gender equity; " Making information relevant and useful to the people who use produce it, receive it, and who need to make decisions; " The information provider must receive feedback; " Making the best use of staff time by cutting down on the amount of written information needed; " Relating financial expenditure to programme quality; " Promoting critical learning that enables the organisation to learn from their successes and failures.
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.
PRA methods and their application to participatory monitoring and evaluation: report on a course held in El Obeid, Sudan
A two week course was held for government and NGO participants in El Obeid, Sudan, to "explore some of the issues around PM&E and introduce a selection of possible PRA methods". This report briefly describes the actual course and analyses certain problem areas that arose - attitude to villagers, use of symbols and the difficulty of focusing on PM&E within a PRA course. Tools found most useful for evaluation were: impact diagrams, impact matrices and evaluation matrices (visual examples of each are given). Participants were asked to give a personal evaluation of the course using symbols only.
A restocking project in Isiolo District in north-east Kenya aimed to help displaced families go back to a 'traditional' pastoral way of life by giving them goats. Success ranking was one of the PRA techniques used to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the scheme. The objective was to determine each individual household's level of success and to elicit the local people's perception of success. The success ranking enabled the evaluation team to see how effective the programme had been, and what the constraints were for those families who had not been very successful.
This short report provides some useful comments on a two week training course on the use of PRA for PM&E conducted by the Development Support Programme Khartoum, part of the Community Development Services in Cairo. It took place over two weeks in Kordofan and involved fieldwork in villages, with varying involvement in SOS Sahel's Natural Forest Management Project, near to El Obeid. Among the problems that emerged from this course, were; 1. the difficulties in encouraging a "suitable PRA attitude" amongst course participants in their approach to the villagers; 2. A lack of confidence amongst the participants; 3. Problems with the use of symbols during the fieldwork. Although participants were slow to grasp the usefulness of PRA for PM&E, three "tools" were found to be most useful for evaluation, namely; Impact diagrams, Impact matrices and Evaluation Matrices. The later was developed from the Innovation Matrix in the SCF/IIED manual; PRA for community development (1991), and its purpose was to generate discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of forestry activities.
Divided into 4 regional and one worldwide section, this bibliography includes a wealth of material on all aspects of PRA. The first section, on Nepal, includes a number of titles in Nepali and includes publications by local organisations and Nepalese branches of international ones, as well as work within Nepal carried out by other agencies and individuals. For Nepal, there is a focus on forestry issues. In all sections, the subject matter covered ranges from forestry, agriculture, methodology, health, training, gender, women, evaluation, etc. The titles within each regional section are not ordered, but each item is described systematically. Articles are defined as thoeretical or practical, by region, by subject matter, classification, tools, a summary and key words.
A major part of this twelve day workshop was spent in fieldwork, using the PRA techniques (listed in Section II) learnt in theory classes. This report describes in detail the methodology and findings of the field exercises, showing clearly the practical problems encountered (such as how to "reach" the women) as well as the lively and diverse information that can emerge from PRA activities. The fieldwork in Chimontu and Chongwe resulted in two methodological innovations : i) the seasonality analysis of illness was combined with trend analysis to show how illness had changed over ten years ii) the institutional diagram was used to show what the group would like to see in the area. Points about location of fieldwork, timing, structure of training and group composition conclude this report. The appendices include an interesting list of participants' concerns after completing the fieldwork, plus the actual visual results of the PRA activities.
Rapid Assessment of the Food and Nutrition Security Impact of the CARE Food Programming Activitites in Eastern Shewa and Western Hararghe
A rapid food security assessment was carried out in Eastern Shewa and Western Hararghe to determine what CARE food-assisted projects have been undertaken, and what impact they have had on the participants. To determine whether the projects were properly designed, a rapid assessment of the household food security situation in each project area was carried out. Peasant Associations were selected on the basis of accessibility, main economic activity, distance from main roads, and history of food assistance. Two villages in which CARE assistance was not provided were surveyed in order to compare project areas with nonproject areas. Information sources included a document review, semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions. Other interviews were conducted with government agencies, and collaborating institutions such as United Nations organizations and other NGOs.
This reports on ActionAid's project aimed at strengthening emergency preparedness and responses in famine vulnerable areas in a number of African countries. It examines the setting up of Community Based Food Security Monitoring Systems (CBMS) that help field staff make timely predictions about impending food shortages. One of the principles of a CBMS is that it is 'people-centred', and the community should be involved with data collection, interpretation and response. The aim is to build up a picture of the way peoples' livelihoods operate and what constraints and stresses they face. To assess the food security situation, PRA techniques are used including semi-structured interviews with key informants and group discussions with farmers and village leaders. PRA is also used to collect data on early warning indicators. The paper comments however that it is best not to take a full community-managed approach in circumstances where a number of participatory prerequisites are not in place.
A brief description paper of PIM and PIM partners. PIM relies on process inherent in grassroots organisations and the focus is on monitoring rather than planning or evaluation. PIM is being developed in various grassroots organisations around the world and the results are being collaborated by FAKT/GATE. A small PIM guide is to be produced shortly. PIM addresses the fact that self help organisations suffer when there is an over-emphasis on technical goals and a neglect of the social component, particularly the dynamics of group building. Constant observation of the impact of a group's work, particularly socio-cultural, followed by reflection, allows the activities to be adapted as required and the group members to enhance their social and analytical skills. The different expectations of sub-groups are recognised.
Integrating formal sample surveys and Rapid Rural Appraisal techniques: summary based on Rapid Rural Appraisal techniques and the monitoring and evaluation of IFAD projects in Sudan
This summary is based on a report written for the Monitoring and Evaluation Division of the IFAD, with the general objective of examining the use of RRA methods for M&E. That report proposes a taxonomy of survey/RRA techniques and methods, which can be regarded as "a menu", thereby allowing choices to fit the precise needs of the user of information and institutional context. As such, the author argues, RRAs and formal surveys can be mixed to great effect. The criteria for such a taxonomy is outlined in this paper, as is a summary table of the main RRA techniques. The lessons from case study RRAs discussed in the original report are mostly positive, confirming "the value of weaving an RRA in to existing data" and showing how a low cost M&E system could be built on this. This is a useful and stimulating report with some clear summary diagrams and an extensive bibliography.