This brief paper is a write up of the experiences of an evaluation team using PRA tools in an impact evaluation of a community based programme providing drinking water (a MYRADA project in Mysore District, Karnataka State, India). The impact evaluation took place over only two days, but, as the paper highlights, some very pertinent lessons resulted from the experience. Six main tools from the 'PRA bag' were used in the evaluation: 'water system map', 'focus group discussions', 'time allocation drawing', 'seasonality of disease', 'individual interviews' and 'observation walk'. On the basis of these methods (and patient facilitation work by the PRA team), it was revealed that the any first impressions of a 'perfect' drinking water system were, in fact, unfounded. Serious (but rectifiable) flaws in the project - in terms of efficiency and equity of access - were exposed and, as a result, the local community became involved in identifying some remedial actions. This extremely useful, and clearly written, paper concludes with a frank discussion of some of the problems with the use of PRA tools, which according to the author, primarily stem from a poor understanding of group dynamics and good facilitation techniques.
Community Participation in Rural Water Supply Projects in Northern Punjab and AJK: an exploratory study (Volumes I and II)
The report aims to evaluate the structures and organisational systems associated with effective water user groups, analysing the factors that hinder or support their role in the management of water supply schemes. Although the study is termed participatory, no direct mention of the methodology used is made. However, the study provides some very structured and detailed information on different aspects of water management collected in a survey of 69 villages. Volume I provides information on organisational issues in water management. Volume II instead illustrates five case studies covering a range of issues including social impact of technological choice and community level subsidisation.
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.
Navigating the Pathways from Exclusion to Accountability: From Understanding Intersecting Inequalities to Building Accountable Relationships
Inclusion of the most marginalised people through addressing discriminatory dynamics is central to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. This research report considers how the intersection of spatial, economic and identity-based factors drive poverty and marginalisation.
It provides insights into how participatory processes with people living in these intersections can contribute to developing accountable relationships between the most excluded groups and duty-bearers. It is based on data, analysis and reflections gathered through collaborative and participatory research in Egypt, Ghana, India, South Africa and Uganda, conducted with Participate partner organisations the Centre for Development Services, Radio Ada, Praxis, Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation and Soroti Catholic Justice and Peace Commission.
In these five settings, partner organisations or ‘translocutors’ have developed participatory action research processes to facilitate exchange between citizens and a range of duty-bearers. They have attempted to open pathways to accountability, through iterative stages of building confidence within the group, deepening contextual understanding, promoting dialogue between citizens and duty-bearers, and developing working alliances between groups and agencies. This report discusses these experiences, and draws out learning and recommendations on how to build inclusive and accountable relationships with marginalised groups through progressive engagement among stakeholders in different spaces and levels of the ‘accountability ecosystem’.