Using Participatory Action Research Methodologies for Engaging and Researching with Religious Minorities in Contexts of Intersecting Inequalities
This newsletter is a special issue on trying to bridge the gap between donors' resources and their effective use in targeting the poor, through the use of community development funds. Community development funds function like banks, but can work more flexibly and at different levels. Several case studies are presented from countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and southern Africa, and a number of tips and advantages in setting up a community development fund are outlined. Some of these are that they: " Set new standards of transparency and accountability; " Make multiple, small-scale investments in many community-initiated urban development projects; " Support tangible outputs of value to the urban poor, in different sectors and areas; " Help establish and strengthen long-term partnerships between community organisations, municipal authorities and the private sector, while stimulating new working practices; " Provide poor communities and their organisations with opportunities to learn by doing.
This article provides a summary of the major challenges currently facing PRA, as well as the changes implied by some of these challenges. The challenges are considered at six different levels, namely the individual, community, organisational, project and programme, donor and policy levels. The challenges identified are drawn from the literature on PRA, as well as from a recent series of workshops held by the author with the staff of six NGOs that are promoting PRA in South Asia. The article concludes by attributing these challenges to five cross-cutting factors: differences in power, culture, knowledge, money and time.