This paper is the first of several 'think pieces' that have been commissioned as part of a collaborative research programme designed to examine the dynamics of institutionalising people-centred processes and participatory approaches for natural resource management (NRM) in a variety of settings. The paper focuses on natural resource management in Europe and explores the tensions between state-led and participatory management of water and forests. The authors analyse and discuss how participation does - or does not - occur in the management of forest and water resources at various institutional levels in European contexts. Using a historical perspective, they critically reflect on the roles and interests of the state in offering an institutional framework for participation and/or facilitating processes aimed at institutionalising participation in natural resource management. The paper comprises four parts: Institutionalisation of the State and Natural Resources Management; Forests and Water Management - the Changing Role of the State; Participation - States or People's Control? and Conclusions.
Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) has a long history in development planning in less developed countries. In recent years, PLA approaches have also been promoted for participatory development planning in rural areas of industrialised countries with functioning democratic institutions. This paper draws on experiences of applying participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) in a one-week planning workshop in M³hlen, Northern Germany and asks whether or nor PRA is an appropriate instrument for participatory community development in societies with functioning local democratic institutions. The authors conclude that PRA should be seen as a complementary instrument to the existing political and institutional arrangements. That while civil society actors can take over complementary responsibilities and initiatives, the local administrators and democratically elected bodies need to play a key role in order for PRA processes in community development to become successful in affluent societies.
Making sense of community wellbeing : processes of analysis in participatory wellbeing assessments in South London
Conventional health needs assessments do not normally involve community members who experience health problems. In this article, the author examines the processes involved in conducting Participatory Wellbeing Assessments in the London Boroughs of Sutton and Merton. These Assessments engaged residents in documenting and analysing their needs, broadened the focus from 'needs' to 'wellbeing' and involved residents at every stage. The methods employed are described, which range from participant observation to participatory planning. The author also elaborates how the analytical process evolved in phases from 'extraction' to broadening ownership to building partnerships for change, and how the initial analyses done by the author allowed her to better facilitate what was to follow. Finally the challenges and possibilities of strengthening analysis in PRA are briefly examined.
This report presents findings from a 12-month project on participation in local governance in four countries - Ireland, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom - and evaluates new methods being adopted to promote participation in developing successful, local solutions to problems of social exclusion across Europe. The report will be useful for those working in participation with socially excluded and vulnerable groups.
It examines three key issues - 1) innovative approaches to participation by the community, by voluntary and public sector in the context of combating social exclusion; 2) the need for change in local government and the community sector to ensure that participatory democracy is effective for socially excluded communities; 3) the potential for the European Union to further its new mandate to combat social exclusion by promoting participatory principles and methods
Describes the process of using PRA to plan forestry activities in four rural communities in the Highlands of Scotland. The methods enabled people to put forward their ideas on the future of forestry in the areas, as well as creating wider local involvement and helping to spur people on to further action. The paper concludes by reflecting on some of the constraints and opportunities for using PRA in Scotland.
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.
This article begins by posing the question "How might the educational potential of the city be enhanced for children today?" The author suggests that one way to learn from the city is to travel about within it. Using research done in Boston into children's environmental use, knowledge and experience, the author argues that pilot studies are needed to test strategies to improve children's knowledge and use of their cities. Emphasis is placed on increasing children's ability to use maps in city travel and exploration. Tips are offered for making effective maps for children, including taking into account preferences for pictorial rather than verbal information. The research method is not specifically described, but references are made to map exercises, and interviews conducted with children and parents.
This paper argues Landcare is showing a way forward to sustainable agriculture by developing a farming community which can respond to changing economic, environmental and technological conditions and to societies changing priorities. Moreover, Landcare is beginning to establish a system of monitoring and guiding the community's performance.
Participatory Rapid Appraisal: An Investigation into the Health and Social Needs of People Living in Danesmoor - Volume 1
The aim of this study was to identify the health and social problems in relation to Danesmoor, an area in North Derbyshire with high unemployment. PRA techniques were used to collect qualitative information from three main sources : key community people, community members, professionals working in the area. Questions were asked regarding people's perceptions of the area, the health and social problems, existing care service provision and "magic wand" - "within reason what would benefit individuals, families and the community as a whole". This report presents the findings under the groups of people interviewed (eg single mothers, children, health visitors, doctors, playgroup leader), giving direct quotations and their suggested magic wand solution to the problems. Lack of communication and coordination between various service providers is identified as a key issue. Finally an "overall magic wand" (solution to common problems) and a plan of action were made.
Unemployment and health: the development of the use of PRA in identified communities in Staveley, North Derbyshire
This study in Staveley, an area with high unemployment, aimed to: i) identify & enable people to address the personal risk factors for cardio-vascular diseases ii) enable unemployed workers to discuss health difficulties specific to unemployment iii) promote a greater understanding of the specific health needs of unemployed people Unemployed people and 200 children were interviewed, then key people in the professions of education, health, social services, police, clergy and housing. Video, photos and mapping were used and people "had an opportunity to test their own health by filling in a health profile questionnaire". The various groups' different perceptions of the problems and suggested solutions are analysed. There is a need for "an informed, integrated, inter-agency approach with the involvement of unemployed people in order to respond effectively to the problems of unemployment".
A training centre for extension workers in the Emmental region of Switzerland "took on an initiative in RRA". The team consisted of twelve people from different backgrounds, five of whom were from 'the "outside" with experience in 'Southern' countries. This article describes in detail the programme, highlighting methods specific to this 'Northern' context (for example, using the telephone book to locate farms). Certain methods, such as visualization through using cards on pinboards, were already familiar as an established method of Swiss extension. "Mind mapping for setting up a motivation system" for the RRA as a whole proved useful for recruiting more team members and informing local journalists. The effect of having an outsider (who did not speak the local language) on the team was felt to be very positive - he could ask "silly questions" and "perceive things in an 'outlandish' way".
A five day workshop for trainers of PRA was held in the Emmental valley, Switzerland. Participatory mapping and transects were carried out with local residents, as well as theoretical sessions using new training methods, such as a "mood metre" to provide constant feedback. The PRA Problem Solving Exercise questions around fieldwork protocol ("What would you do if..?") are attached as an appendix.