Participatory approaches in animal healthcare: from practical applications to global -level policy reform
This article, as part of the special 50th edition of PLA Notes, looks at the history of the use of participatory approaches and methods in animal health care, including community-based animal health workers (CAHWs). Early development focused mainly on tools and methods, that have gradually been grouped together under the term participatory epidemiology. It describes how negative attitudes among professionals and academics have changed during the process of policy reform, and explains how participatory impact assessment and other methods have contributed to the policy process. The article focuses on experiences in East Africa and the Horn of Africa, while also describing how events in these regions have influenced change in international bodies. The article concludes by looking at future challenges, arguing that the reorganisation of government veterinary services and regulatory bodies is still a major challenge in many countries, where governments still directly control services that can be handled by others. The author recommends supporting CAHWs and private practitioners, as well as the development of enabling policies and ongoing learning methodologies to monitor and evaluate policy change.
The benefits of participatory methodologies to develop effective community dialogue in the context of a microbicide trial feasibility study in Mwanza, Tanzania
During a microbicide trial feasibility study among women at high-risk of HIV and sexually transmitted infections in Mwanza, northern Tanzania we used participatory research tools to facilitate open dialogue and partnership between researchers and study participants.
A community-based sexual and reproductive health service was established in ten city wards. Wards were divided into seventy-eight geographical clusters, representatives at cluster and ward level elected and a city-level Community Advisory Committee (CAC) with representatives from each ward established. Workshops and community meetings at ward and city-level were conducted to explore project-related concerns using tools adapted from participatory learning and action techniques such as listing, scoring, ranking, chapatti diagrams and pair-wise matrices.
Key issues identified included beliefs that blood specimens were being sold for witchcraft purposes; worries about specula not being clean; inadequacy of transport allowances; and delays in reporting laboratory test results to participants. To date, the project has responded by inviting members of the CAC to visit the laboratory to observe how blood and genital specimens are prepared; demonstrated the use of the autoclave to community representatives; raised reimbursement levels; introduced HIV rapid testing in the clinic; and streamlined laboratory reporting procedures.
Participatory techniques were instrumental in promoting meaningful dialogue between the research team, study participants and community representatives in Mwanza, allowing researchers and community representatives to gain a shared understanding of project-related priority areas for intervention.
This book explores the idea that although the value of participatory approaches is now fully established, the assumption that all participatory interventions are efficient and beneficial is a long way from the reality. It suggests that this has long been ignored and suggests that meaningful participation is an eminently political process, usually struggled for from below rather than granted from above. Using contributions from across the world, the authors show that this involves issues of power, mobilization and collective action which needs to be supported by all elements of civil society.
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.
Using Participatory Process Evaluation to Understand the Dynamics of Change in a Nutrition Education Programme
With roots in approaches to popular education and participatory action research that place the learner and the ‘beneficiary’ of development at the centre of enquiry and action, the participatory visualisation methods associated with Participatory Rural Appraisal have been widely used as tools for learning and accountability. In this article, the author reflects on lessons learnt from using these methods in a participatory process evaluation of an educational programme aimed at addressing chronic malnutrition in an East African country. Building on this experience, she explores the educative and empowering dimensions of participatory visualisation methods, and considers the contribution that these methods can make to effective evaluation.