This pamphlet summarises the results of a study conducted by the National Development Service on Nepal and Unicef. Teams of data-collectors went to nine different parts of Nepal showing illiterate villagers a wide variety of pictures in various colours and shadings. The results showed that most of the visual aids used by the health service were not recognised or misinterpreted by local people. Suggestions are made as to how visuals might be improved in response to feedback from villagers.
Knowledge from the Margins: An Anthology from a Global Network on Participatory Practice and Policy Influence
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 article describes the exploratory and preparatory phase of a research project designed to use co-operative enquiry as a method for transformative and participatory action research into relations between donors and recipients in two developing countries, Bolivia and Bangladesh. It describes the origins of the idea, the conceptual challenges that the authors faced in seeking funding, and what they learned from this first phase. The authors analyse why the researchers, as well as the potential subjects of the research, were uncomfortable with the proposed methodology, including the challenges arising from their own positions and the highly sensitive nature of the topic. They explain why they decided to abandon the project, and they reach some tentative conclusions concerning the options for participatory action learning and research in development practice.
Participatory Rural Appraisal : utilization survey report: part 1. rural development area, Sindhupalchowk
Describes the main process, and explores the problems encountered, during the ACTIONAID-Nepal utilization survey in the Rural Development Area of Sindhupalchowk, in September 1991. Objectives of the survey were: to assess how far the ideas and assets which the community has developed with Action Aid Nepal are being utilised, and the community's perception of the impact of these; to involve the community and thus increase their understanding; to increase AAN's understanding of the conditions of the poorest. The week of survey work was carried out by teams which comprised of the Community Development Committee (CDC) members, other local people and staff facilitators - staff, but not community members, were trained in PRA. Selective tools and techniques of PRA methods were used to gather all the information; the village map (of which examples are given in the appendix) was the most extensively used, semi-structured interviews were employed to collect information on household's participation in activities, and time trend and preference ranking methods were also drawn upon. Problems encountered in the survey were that indicators had not been agreed through a participatory process, the three-day training in PRA techniques was found to be insufficient, and structured questions left gaps and revealed bias. The bulk of the report is devoted to the survey findings
MYRADA, an NGO working in about 2,000 villages in South India, developed an approach called PALM (Participatory Learning Methods) from their early experiments with RRA. This article describes the areas in which PALM has been used (eg natural resource development) and outlines a typical PALM training exercise. The programme lasts about five days, including camping in the village, and progresses from "introductory" (history of the village) to "exploratory" (eg livelihood, wealth ranking) to a concluding "Operational Plan". Methods and their applications are summarised in table form and illustrated visually. MYRADA is now experimenting with new applications of the methods, developing new methods and "hybrids". This article shows how a PRA approach can become integrated within NGO project planning through a defined training model.
Reality Check Bangladesh 2010: listening to poor people's realities about primary healthcare and primary education - year 4
This paper discusses community exchange programmes as a powerful mechanism for increasing the capacity of community organisations to participate in urban development. By enabling communities to share and explore local knowledge created through livelihood struggles, a powerful process is triggered, whereby community exchanges transform development. Through a cumulative process of learning, sharing and collective action, strong sustained and mobilised networks of communities emerge. Central to this has been the sharing of experiences between communities, first at very local levels, then in the city, then nationally and internationally. The development of this methodology by the National Slum Dwellers Association, SPARC (an NGO) and Mahila Milan (a federation of women's cooperatives) in India is described. Exchanges are located within a broader approach to community learning and people's empowerment. Benefits of the exchange process are examined, and the paper reflects on why exchanges are an effective methodology for supporting a process of people-centred development. The necessary conditions for the exchange process to be fully effective are reviewed, which consequently point to the distinct characteristics of the exchange process vis-Ó-vis other participation methodology. It concludes by drawing together some of the wider implications of this approach.
Sharing our limited experience for trainers: participatory rural appraisal or participatory learning methods
MYRADA, an NGO working in Karnataka, India, has been using PRA/PALM (Participatory Learning Methods) since 1988. This article reflects on their learning experiences, concentrating on the organisation and approach needed when carrying out PRA activities in a village. PRA/PALM should be "more than a training for outsiders" - the purpose of the exercise should be clear to all. PRA activities tend to "focus upon issues that can yield hard data rather than touch upon relationships". Other reflections include: the composition of the groups of PRA facilitators and of villagers, how to enter the village and "fit in", materials required, duration and timing of training.