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.
"Inspite of the rains, the ground is still dry" : the Ghana Participatory Poverty Assessment studies; impacts, implications and lessons for the future.
This dissertation argues that the Ghana Participatory Poverty Assessment (PPA) was successful methodologically, in terms of obtaining the views of the poor concerning their priorities and strategies to combat poverty. However, in spite of the exercise receiving wide international attention, the results have yet to be accepted as a relevant data source within Ghana itself, owing to a strong preference for statistical data in social policy research.
This article presents a critique of an agency study which used rapid research methods to investigate the role and consequences of structural adjustment programmes and the introduction of a multi-party system in Tanzania. The authors compare the findings of the agency study to their own village-level studies. They argue that the genuinely poor were not included in the analysis by the agency study team, thereby casting doubt on the study's provisional findings that 'trade liberalization has been good for rural people'. They suggest that special efforts need to be made to ensure that 'the unseen and unknown' come to the fore when using rapid research methods.
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.
The programme of economic reform being implemented in Ethiopia is likely to hit the urban poor hardest. Various schemes have been planned by the government to mitigate the impact, including introducing a system of vouchers to be exchanged with local traders for food and kerosene. The article describes a limited, one-day RUA which was carried out in Addis Ababa as part of an assessment of the feasibility of the voucher system. Information was sought on the characteristics, indicators and measurement of poverty, the type of assistance required, and whether potential beneficiaries would receive information about such programmes. A supplementary question of interest was whether Rapid Appraisal techniques were useful in designing such large-scale programmes.
Sustaining Development Through Community Mobilization: a Case Study of Participatory Rural Appraisal in the Gambia
ActionAid, a British NGO, carried out PRAs in Dingiraay and Ndawen in The Gambia, with the aim of creating a "community action plan". This report describes the process in Dingiraay, from introducing the concept of PRA to the community through leaflets and opening ceremony to conducting the activities, analysing the data, deciding options and working out the final plan. PRA activities were introduced in "sets": spatial (village sketch map, transect), temporal (time line, trend line, seasonal calendar) and institutional (inventory and ranking). Methods, findings and organization are described and evaluated in detail, including participants' responses. The report shows how the community participated in analysing the data and planning development activities, and the tensions involved. The conclusion looks at "lessons learned", such as wealth ranking activities creating mistrust.
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.
Participatory Rapid Rural Appraisal in Wollo: Peasant Association Planning for Natural Resource Management.
The first section of this report comprises an introduction to the area in relation to its natural resources with particular emphasis on trees, and perceptions of trees by residents. The background to, and use of R/PRA is discussed, in the context of a workshop held on focusing on participation and trees. The methods used in RRA are discussed and a checklist of important issues given. In example case studies, local attitudes towards woodlands, private and communal tree planting, trees on arable lands, firewood and environmental problems were detailed, and linked to livestock and cropping constraints. From the R/PRA, a discussion of different problems and potential solutions was encouraged, and 'best bet' project actions worked out, although these were formulated away from the field, and taken back for further discussion. The report concludes with an evaluation of the workshop and the methodolgy (generally favourable comments although problems of expectation-raising and excessive focus on trees were mentioned). There was a felt need for further training and follow-up work.
The report, written for an Arid Lands Workshop, very briefly discusses the main issues in SWC in sub-Saharan Africa. A list of "do's" for participatory soil and water conservation are then briefly discussed, which are mostly to do with the organisational side of SWC, rather than the technical. A short analysis is made of the character of Oxfam-funded SWC projects which concludes that the Oxfam projects are innovative and successful at getting the local population involved when compared to other such projects in the area. Four short case studies, from Burkina Faso, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, end the report.