The report on a five-day workshop, organized by the Bay of Bengal's Programme - Post Harvest Fisheries Project and Outreach, which looked at various aspects of PRA. Topics examined included post-harvest activities, credit, women and government links. Exercises were carried out helping to familiarize the workshop participants with certain PRA techniques: matrix scoring, trend diagrams, wealth ranking and the like. An actual series of PRA activities were carried in a small coastal village - Alikuppam, as part of the workshop. The paper also reviews the comments of various groups attending the workshop, as to the application of PRA in their areas of concern. These groups included NGO staff, policy-makers and planners as well as more senior staff from government. This article also contains excerpts from a conversation between Peter Colaco and James Mascarenhas, director of OUTREACH, who acted as the principal resource person for the workshop.
It describes the activities of ActionAid in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, specifically in an area known as Hazara. An essentially descriptive account, it begins by considering the general characteristics of the region: who live there, how they live, and a brief assessment of the level of development. The emphasis is on agriculture and its impact on the local economy. Finally, a brief account of ActionAid's activities is given. PRA has been at the heart of ActionAid's approach, helping the people of the region to identify their own priorities.
This paper concerns seasonality diagrams drawn up by farmers during a RRA/PRA training workshop, carried out in western Nepal. Subsequently, the results obtained via the seasonality diagramming were compared with scientifically-collected meteorological data from a nearby agricultural research centre. After briefly reviewing some important methodological data, the paper moves on to discuss the 'goodness of fit' of the two data sets. It concludes that as far as the scientifically collected data represents the 'real data', the data collected from the farmers represents a remarkably good approximation. In fact this latter data set is not only accurate, but, was also constructed in a far more cost effective manner, taking very little time.
Refering to a previous article, which attempted to assess the accuracy of various relatively rapid means of stratifying a rural population in Bangladesh, this paper argues that that exercise was somewhat premature. Little progress can be made toward improving the efficiency with which succeeding generations of fieldworkers conduct their enquiries, until more is known about the way in which existing practitioners have divided their time and the considerations behind these allocative decisions. The paper offers an account of how a stratification of a rural population in Bangladesh, in the course of fieldwork, was carried out.
It concerns the experience of Krishi Gram Vikas Kendra (KGVK), a NGO sponsored and supported by the Usha Martin Group of Industries. It has conducted a series of PRA training exercises for government officers from watershed and forestry programmes, for voluntary agencies, research institutions and other NGOs. This paper describes one particular PRA camp at Mahilong, Bihar, which had two purposes. Firstly, to ascertain more information about the area and project sustainability, and secondly to train others in the required methodology. The paper discusses the sequence adopted at the camp, special features of the programme and the opportunities the camp gave to discuss issues with farmers from the area.
This book is intended to supply sufficient information so that development workers can judge the likely usefulness of a Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) approach in their projects and programmes, and select the techniques most appropriate to their needs and resources. The emphasis is on a methodology which is rigorous, cost-effective and multidisciplinary. RRA aims to work with farmers and local community leaders to analyse local problems. An extensive annotated bibliography of RRA literature is included.
In conferences on RRA the 'tarmac' or 'main road bias' has been frequently listed among the biases affecting outsiders' observations and perceptions of rural poverty. Referring to fieldwork carried out in the southwestern costal zone of Sri Lanka, the paper illustrates some of the misconceptions that can result from 'tarmac' bias. Using the core-periphery approach, the paper concludes that the poor may not even be found just by taking a path off the main road. Also noted is the use of housing standard as a good approximation against which to measure success in the war against roadside and other kinds of anti-poor observational bias.
Rural Communities' Perception of Poverty and Well Being: Some Case Studies in a Participatory Framework
From a position of disenchantment with traditional approaches to poverty measurement and alleviation, it presents an analysis of rural communities' perceptions of rural poverty as revealed through the use of PRA. The study covers three Indian villages where PRA techniques of mapping village households and land use, were used to arrive at a wealth ranking. The paper also suggests policy measures based on the rural community's perceptions. In this paper, it is observed that the villages' criteria of well-being is a much broader concept encompassing a wide range of socioeconomic and environmental aspects of living, as well as access to public services.
This is a study of PRA methods of mapping and ranking that have been used in two Indian villages to study the villagers' perception of rural poverty. The maps were used to help the villagers identify the poor households in the village, rank them, and understand the basis of the ranking process. The ranking procedure takes into account not only living conditions and assets of the household but also their accessibility to food, employment, public services and common property resources. This makes for variations in ranking of poor households which the villagers perceived easily and clearly.
The paper reports on the MYRADA Kamasamudram project and reviews its objectives to: (1) plan a micro watershed in a participatory way; (2) provide more experience in PRA methods for staff; (3) train staff; and (4) to introduce the PRA approach to appraisal to the villagers. The paper contains a brief note on the exercises conducted, the highlights of the exercise, the opinion of participants, and the method and extent of adoption of the key features discussed by the participants.
PRA activities were conducted in Gujarat with a group of village women whilst men observed in the background. The women counted the number of families in each caste and the class-wise distribution of farmers, then used circles to construct a chart showing their debts. Finally, they estimated how many hours they spent on various activities each day, using twigs on a chart. This report is written as dialogue between the participants so shows clearly how activities were introduced and discussed.
This article consists of observations arising from the author's visits to several NGOs on the Indian sub-continent. Four main suggestions are made: conduct limited direct observations; use pile sorting techniques with key informants; experiment by modifying the pile sort technique; conduct key informant interviews on issues relating to the context of women's health.
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.
The "pass on the pen" approach was used to identify the poorest of the poor families eligible for credit assistance under the Integrated Rural Development programme (IRDP) in Anantapur District, India. The pen, a symbol of truth and learning, was given to the poorest villager who then told about their situation and passed the pen to another poor person. The detailed description of this event shows clearly how the technique helped ensure a fair selection of families for credit assistance, avoiding manipulation by government officials.
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.