The contributions of academics and practioners from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the USA and Europe, are extended versions of a selection of papers presented at the International Symposium on Participatory Research in Helath Promotion, Liverpool 17-21 September 1993.
Runoff and other issues of concern affecting people in The Rock: a study for the Flowerpot Hill Landcare Group
Charles Sturt University was approached to help implement a community survey for the Flowerpot Hill Landcare group (FHLG). This group was formed to control run-off water which damaged town property. The information gained from interviews with members of the group, residents, farmers and council members, is presented as "issues" (specific knowledge, problems or feelings expressed by individuals) and "themes" (generally agreed important areas of concern). The themes included "Whose problem is it?", "Who should fix it?" and "Who should pay?" A number of solutions were proposed, with many people expressing a "deep suspicion of quick-fix solutions which the council was often accused of implementing". Recommendations from the study are around "establishing common ground in perception/problem solving and trying to get people committed to working together to improve the situation".
The Highlander Center, a non-profit adult education centre in Tennessee, is working in three rural communities where unemployment has been growing. Their role is "not to create jobs or development, but to help the community undertake a process of education and participatory research through which they could assess their own situation, define and implement strategies for themselves". This article describes briefly the methods used, such as oral histories, community mapping and drawings, videos and community theatre.
The first RRA was carried out in Australia in 1988 with the aim of "forging closer links between researchers and farmers, utilising farmers' expertise and determining possibilities for future agronomic research in the area". It was also hoped to evaluate RRA as a "problem identification method in a developed country context". The RRA was carried out in two phases (exploratory and topical) with two teams of researchers from agricultural and social science backgrounds. The six most frequent problems, identified by producers and research team separately, are listed and a summary of the "action strategies" that were decided upon. Advantages of RRA over conventional survey methodologies included raising the profile of the School of Crop Sciences (who initiated the RRA exercise) in the Shire. The findings also supported the original assumption that "many of the problems that have been evident in developing countries are also evident in developed countries".