The Participatory Approaches Learning Study (PALS) examined the potential for increasing stakeholder participation in DFID country programmes and at DFID's experience of delivering aid through participatory approaches. Its recommendations include proposals on staff development, on ways to make the Project Cycle Management System more flexible and accountable, and on making participation a stronger characteristic of DFID itself. The two-year research project involved separate studies of four of DFID's geographical departments - DFID-India, DFID-Bangladesh, South East Asia Division, and the Western and North Africa Department, which included India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Ghana, Egypt and Nigeria. This report is a synthesis of the main findings and lessons from each of the geographical studies and includes Operational lessons from PALS, Participation and Project Cycle Management, Training Needs and Participation and Institutionalising Participation.
This network paper from the Rural Development Forestry Network presents two papers. The first paper ôDesigning participatory strategies for forest projects in West Africa: two case studies from Beninö, examines different approaches to achieving effective participation by local people, by contrasting two successful forestry projects in Benin. A GTZ-funded forest rehabilitation programme followed a strategy of 'working with people', creating joint activities and paid labour, while a large multilateral project, PGRN, took the approach of 'talking with people', fostering political involvement. The author argued that certain crucial factors - common interest between project staff and target groups, a clear project strategy and commitment to a long process of communication and institution building - distinguished projects in which participation was merely functional from those in which local people had a full political role in decision-making. The second paper, ôThe Monitoring Team Approach to Project Follow-up and Evaluation: Experiences from two SIDA-Funded Programmes in Central Americaö, looks at a new approach to evaluation of donor projects was described in this paper. Rather than the usual practice of one-off external evaluations, the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (SIDA) experimented with Monitoring Teams, who visited projects in Costa Rica and Nicaragua on a regular annual or biannual basis. Each visit was carried out in a standardised manner with emphasis on in-depth discussion with all stakeholders. The new approach proved well suited to the modern style of flexible, broad-based projects in which the donor has little direct involvement. Not only did the Monitoring Teams provide SIDA with an ongoing accurate picture of project performance, but the repeated visits established an iterative cycle of project improvement.
This paper reports on research carried out on the use and effectiveness of participatory materials on child health, which were developed at community workshops, by the Kumasi Health Education Project in Ghana.
A high degree of satisfaction with the new materials was reported by teachers and health workers who had been trained in the new materials, when asked to carry out self-reporting questionnaire. This was found to contrast with the results of focus-group discussions of mothers attending well baby clinics, at home, in market places and with pupils at school who reported a low level of exposure to the new materials, although those who had been exposed to them were satisfied with them and recalled the messages well.
This report reviews the impact of methodological contributions for assessment amongst NGO development initiatives in West Africa. The review is an effort to provide Oxfam UK/I and Novib staff with the advances made in this region. The report discusses the kinds of impact that Oxfam and Novib development projects are trying to achieve as well as relevance to impact assessment in the West African context. Through the use of participatory methods of impact assessment, it examines the evaluation methods of various organisations in West Africa.
This is a resource book designed primarily for development workers working within the field of the rural poor. It describes a range of first-hand experiences with participatory approaches in the context of projects funded by The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and governments in Asia and the Pacific. The book is divided into a number of sections. Part One examines poverty and participation and explains why the poor should be targeted and in what ways this is possible. Part Two describes in detail the actual participatory approaches. Part three concentrates on participation in the project planning and implementation stage. Part Four assesses the monitoring impact and Part Five examines issues in participation with regards to institutions, partnerships and governance.
Can Participatory Evaluation Meet the Needs of all Stakeholders? A Case Study: evaluating the World Neighbors West Africa Program
Participatory techniques are being used to a greater or lesser degree and in a variety of ways by more and more evaluators. This case study is a description of the methodology used during the participatory evaluation the author facilitated of the World Neighbors programmes in West Africa (Burkina Faso, Togo and Mali). During the one-week evaluation process in each of three programme sites a variety of participatory techniques were used, including PRA with villagers, focus group discussions, interviews with community leaders, roundtable discussions with representatives of other agencies working in the local area etc. But, did this process meet the needs of all stakeholders? At the village level participants gained new perspectives on the effect of the programme on their lives. The programme staff learned how to improve monitoring, routine evaluation, analysis and reporting. At the Area-wide Strategic Planning Conference, ideas and recommendations from the evaluation process shaped new action plans. Hence, the author argues the effectiveness of a community development programme should be measured in terms of how it influences decision-making by all stake-holders with responsibility for future plans.