Sharing experiences of participation in Latin America: a workshop report.
This paper argues that local perceptions of poverty have tended to be used as mere additions to more conventional poverty assessments because not only do people's perceptions of poverty differ making it difficult to compare results across locations but also, little is known about how to aggregate these local perceptions to be able to estimate overall levels of poverty at regional and national levels. Work carried out in Honduras to test a methodology designed to overcome these constraints is reported on step by step in the document.
This network paper from the Rural Development Forestry Network presents two papers. The first paper ôDesigning participatory strategies for forest projects in West Africa: two case studies from Beninö, examines different approaches to achieving effective participation by local people, by contrasting two successful forestry projects in Benin. A GTZ-funded forest rehabilitation programme followed a strategy of 'working with people', creating joint activities and paid labour, while a large multilateral project, PGRN, took the approach of 'talking with people', fostering political involvement. The author argued that certain crucial factors - common interest between project staff and target groups, a clear project strategy and commitment to a long process of communication and institution building - distinguished projects in which participation was merely functional from those in which local people had a full political role in decision-making. The second paper, ôThe Monitoring Team Approach to Project Follow-up and Evaluation: Experiences from two SIDA-Funded Programmes in Central Americaö, looks at a new approach to evaluation of donor projects was described in this paper. Rather than the usual practice of one-off external evaluations, the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (SIDA) experimented with Monitoring Teams, who visited projects in Costa Rica and Nicaragua on a regular annual or biannual basis. Each visit was carried out in a standardised manner with emphasis on in-depth discussion with all stakeholders. The new approach proved well suited to the modern style of flexible, broad-based projects in which the donor has little direct involvement. Not only did the Monitoring Teams provide SIDA with an ongoing accurate picture of project performance, but the repeated visits established an iterative cycle of project improvement.
REFLECT is a structured, participatory learning process that facilitates people's critical analysis of their environment. This process is guided by local facilitators, who in the early years of REFLECT were trained on the basis of the 'REFLECT Mother Manual'. There has been debate about whether or not to use a manual at all and if so, what form it should take. This article documents recent experiences from El Salvador, whereby facilitators of participatory processes learn by experiencing, rather than by being taught. The training process is described, which encompasses an experiential learning process of learning how to train facilitators 'on the job'.
Information on farmer attitudes towards categories of livestock and farmer -imposed production constraints was elicited using pair-wise and line animal-ranking in a community in Honduras. Reasons for preference were elicited and gender differentiation in livestock preference were found to be minimal. The techniques used were evaluated, and pair-wise ranking was found to produce the most extensive and reliable information about perceived production constraints and the value of the animals.
The effects of Hurricane Mitch in 1998 and the subsequent 10 years' worth of rain which fell in five days brought environmental and agricultural devastation to Central America. World Neighbors (WN) had worked for many years on the promotion of soil and water conservation; the hurricane provided an opportunity for WN to study the effectiveness of this work in combating the disastrous effects of a potentially destructive climate and this newsletter gives details their work. They decided to carry out Participatory Action Research (PAR), a level of study which not only allowed the involvement of those most greatly affected by the climate - the local people - but other participants who expanded their own knowledge through the research methods and results. The system used was a pairing of plots with similar characteristics such as location and vegetation, but which provided a sharing of data through a direct comparison of agro-ecological and conventional cultivation. Other organizations were invited to participate in the study and form teams with the farmers, and all participants attended a workshop to learn methodologies. The methods used to analyse different variables such as slope, top soil thickness, texture, organic matter, insect and animal life, vegetation, erosion, landslides, and conservation practices are detailed along with the findings and lessons learned.
The Participate initiative involves 18 organisations, who work with diverse marginalised people in over 30 countries, coming together to make their voices count on development policy. This anthology is an account of the activities carried out by the Participatory Research Group (PRG) within the Participate initiative between 2012 and 2014, and also a reflection on the methods and processes created and utilised during that time. It aims to share the insights and lessons learnt to help promote thought and discussion about how to use participatory approaches to influence policy at a variety of levels. These experiences include: applying, adapting and innovating participatory methods to promote the voices of participants in all stages of the research process; creating opportunities and spaces for including the perspectives articulated through the research where possible in the policymaking processes; and embedding participatory approaches in local-to global policymaking processes.
This books reflects about the use of participatory action research for social change; a methodology that is more a way of working that allows a diversity of groups and social actors to better understand the complexity and changing nature of the reality they live in, as well as being a process for enabling change. In a time of globalization, climate change, and constant change; active learning and action research are tools that social groupings can use for confronting such problems. The reflections contained in this book are based on years of experience using the participatory action research methodology in diverse rural regions of Mexico and other countries in collaboration with those groups that have been subject to different types of marginalisation and exclusion but that have taken action to change their situation.
This paper provides conceptual and methodological guidelines for researchers seeking to undertake an urban participatory climate change adaptation appraisal (PCCAA), illustrated with examples from appraisals in Mombasa (Kenya) and Estelí (Nicaragua). It highlights the importance of hearing local people’s voices regarding incrementally worsening and often unrecorded severe weather. The conceptual framework distinguishes between the analysis of asset vulnerability and the identification of asset-based operational strategies, and sets out a number of methodological principles and practices for undertaking a PCCAA. This PCCAA addressed five main themes: community characteristics; severe weather; vulnerability to severe weather; asset adaptation; and institutions supporting local adaptation. For each of these, it identified potential tools for eliciting information, illustrated by examples from Mombasa and Estelí.
In an area of El Salvador where dengue fever was endemic four anthropologists, one entomologist and one epidemiologist collected data from women for one week. Participants were given nine different insects in mounted boxes which included malarial mosquitos and were then asked to group insects with common characteristics. The results were processed on computer using a package called (ANTHROPAC). "These data concerning the insect vectors , together with other data from respondents identifying symptoms of dengue, malaria, and other illnesses, provide the necessary background of information for developing appropriate messages in the campaign against dengue fever." (Reprinted from Cultural Anthropology Methods Newsletter, May 1990)
Este informe, del serie Lecciones del Campo, presenta los mÚtodos y los resultados de un esfuerzo de investigaci¾n-acci¾n realizado para medir y comparar el impacto del huracßn y tormenta tropical Mitch en parcelas agrÝcolas manejadas ecol¾gicamente con aquellas manejadas tradicionalmente (en Guatemala, Nicaragua, y Honduras). El proyecto cont¾ con la colaboraci¾n de 2000 campesinos, promotores y organizaciones locales como socios en el proceso de investigaci¾n, desde el principio hasta el fin. El objetivo del estudio era de informar a polÝticos y donantes, y de influenciar prioridades y polÝticas de la recuperaci¾n. El informe mira los impactos del huracßn Mitch en regiones agrÝcolas sostenibles contra aquellos convencionales y examina las razones de diferencias en el impacto tÚcnico (es decir suelos, la cubierta de la vegetaci¾n, la erosi¾n etc.). Presenta la metodologÝa de investigaci¾n-acci¾n usada en el estudio de evaluaci¾n del impacto y prßcticas agrÝcolas, y analiza el impacto social del proyecto sobre el conocimiento de los campesinos, las instituciones y el gobierno local. Se concluye que los mÚtodos alternativas de cultivaci¾n evit¾ del peor da±o causado por la huracßn Mitch en millares de granjas en Centro AmÚrica, y se dan recomendaciones para prßcticas agrÝcolas futuras.