In the past, poverty alleviation programmes have been implemented with limited involvement of poor people in determining the mode of intervention. PRA has been used in recent times to highlight the poor peoples' own perspective of poverty. This paper presents some of the experiences in sub-Saharan Africa.
"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.
A report of a one day workshop held in Maputo for practitioners, partners and beneficiaries of the Mozambique Participatory Poverty Assessment (PPA). The report examines three themes: process, utility and institutionalisation.
The PPA process and methodological issues of qualitative data collection, institutional partnerships and PPA implementation are discussed under process. Utility of the PPA is looked at in terms of the value added of participatory and qualitative approaches and the issue of institutionalisation includes options for increasing the application and impact of the PPA as a functional tool for poverty alleviation activities.
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.
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.
Observations on urban applications of PRA methods from Ghana and Zambia: participatory poverty assessments
Over the last year exercises termed participatory poverty assessments have been carried out as part of the process of preparing World Bank Country Poverty Assessments in a number of countries. In Ghana, Zambia and Kenya such exercises have been carried out in rural and urban areas using methods based on the RRA/PRA 'family'. The article questions some of the assumptions underlying the methods, drawing on experiences in Ghana and Zambia. It argues that assumptions of community, mutual knowledge and homogeneity in livelihood patterns derive from the rural-based traditions of the RRA/PRA approach and are not relevant to an urban context.
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.
This paper describes the use of rapid appraisal methods for collecting health data in a poor urban area of Tanzania. During a nine-day field-based workshop with municipal officials rapid appraisal methods were used to collect data and plan interventions in three poor municipal areas. The main technique used was semi-structured interviews with key informants. However, after conducting the interviews it was realised that the participants had no way of assigning any priority to the problems which had been revealed. A second visit had to be made to ask the informants to rank the problems in order of priority. Once the data had been analyzed and priorities for each area identified, the workshop participants considered how to develop a plan of action to respond to the problems. The paper concludes with an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the methodology based on this experience.