Using Participatory Action Research Methodologies for Engaging and Researching with Religious Minorities in Contexts of Intersecting Inequalities
This working paper reflects the findings of the first phase of the REJUVENATE project, which set out to understand and map approaches to integrating children, youth, and community participation in child rights initiatives.
In this paper, we:
Grounded in an understanding of child rights as ‘living rights’, we propose building on the 3Ps of the UNCRC (protection, provision and participation) towards the 3Ss – space, support and system change.
We offer a set of field principles (REJUVENATE) to guide substantively participatory work with children and young people, underpinned by our Ndoro Ndoro model, which refers to intergenerational, community-driven approaches that put children and youth at the centre, while being accountable to them.
We recognise that this paper is far from exhaustive, and we intend it to be a springboard for further work that substantively recognises the importance of children’s participation in work to further child rights, and to enrich and rejuvenate the societies of which children are a part.
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’.
Accountability is a complex issue in South Africa. The country has high levels of inequality, and marginalised groups – as in many countries – struggle to make themselves heard by those in power. Yet the issue is further complicated by an interacting set of factors, including the legacy of apartheid, gender and religious issues, and the lack of access to those in power.
Through a six-year research project, the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation (SLF) used a range of technology-enabled participatory processes to unpack this lack of government accountability. This report focuses on four case studies, which examined the lived realities of marginalised groups and the activists that campaign on their behalf: activists against gender-based violence and for community safety; community care workers and health committee members working for public health; informal traders and the informal economy; and traditional medicine, Rastafarian bossie doktors and indigenous rights.
Using a multi-method research process, SLF supported these groups to work together and identify the accountability issues that they felt were important, and then consider how they could raise their voice collectively to those in power and those who shape and implement policy. As well as providing valuable findings, which SLF fed into the policy dialogue, this process also strengthened the capacity of these groups to speak out – not least through the use of different participatory technologies including digital storytelling, filmmaking, PhotoVoice, geospatial mapping and infographics.
This report reflects on the different tools used, considering not just the effectiveness of the outputs generated but also how these tools can empower citizens and bring marginalised groups together. Lastly, the report reflects on SLF’s role as an intermediary organisation, and how this role can influence the path that marginalised groups take in their efforts to make government more responsive to their needs.
Two of the central challenges in building accountability for marginalised people are how to reach and meaningfully involve the most excluded, and how to establish the kinds of relationships that mean they can achieve, influence and expect government responsiveness.
This report explores how participatory video – an existing methodology for engaging marginalised people – can be adapted and strengthened to inclusively engage citizens and foster responses from decision-makers. It presents four propositions for achieving this.
Proposition 1: Ensure inclusive engagement during group-forming and building.
Proposition 2: Develop shared purpose and group agency through video exploration and sense-making.
Proposition 3: Enable horizontal scaling through community-level videoing action.
Proposition 4: Support the performance of vertical influence through video-mediated communication.
Each of these propositions is discussed in relation to three concepts that are important elements of accountability initiatives: enabling spaces, bonding and bridging communication, and power-shifting. The discussion draws on two long-term participatory video processes at five sites in two countries, Indonesia and Kenya. Many participatory governance and accountability processes – and the theoretical discourses and practical approaches underlying them – do not pay enough attention to the need to shape the relational conditions for accountability for marginalised social groups. This can perpetuate exclusionary dynamics. Extended participatory video processes can mediate relationships, but for them to do so, there is a need to develop more ethical and effective participatory video practice, and for more work on how to foster support from influential decision-makers.
This paper, based on a lecture given at the University of Sussex, UK, takes on the issue of growing inequality. Arguing that we know more about how economic inequality affects political participation than we do about how participation and voice affect economic inequality, the author describes ongoing work to identify participatory practices that offer some precedents for linking strategies for narrowing political and economic gaps from below. These combinations in turn contribute to challenging these intersecting inequalities and hold promise for transformative solutions across the global North and South.
Engaging men and boys in addressing gender-based violence has grown in attention over the past 20 years. However, the emerging field predominantly focuses on the issues as a problem of individuals, neglecting the role of the institutions and policies that shape norms of gender inequality and perpetuate violent power asymmetries between men and women in people’s everyday lives (Cornwall, Edström and Grieg 2011).
Men’s engagement in addressing GBV has therefore tended to be relatively depoliticised, focusing predominantly on individuals’ attitude and behaviour change, and less on accountability of the structures that uphold patriarchal power relations and male supremacy, such as macroeconomic policies and the governance cultures of many formal and informal institutions.
This movement mapping report thus introduces a collaborative research project between the Centre for Health and Social Justice (CHSJ), India, their local activist partners in the Men’s Action to Stop Violence Against Women (MASVAW) campaign and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) to explore the effectiveness of men’s collective action in addressing GBV. CHSJ is working across India on the issue of mobilising men to transform discriminatory norms into those based on equity, equality and gender justice to ensure the fundamental human rights of all people.
The research is premised on the notion that challenging patriarchy and working towards gender equality must include working with men and boys to understand their privileges as well as the co-option, coercion and subjugation that they also face within a patriarchal system. In turn, we aim to improve understanding and knowledge of the changing roles of men in addressing GBV and how and why collective action holds possibilities as an effective strategy to support this in the Indian context. This research is exploring the actors, strategies, challenges, collaborations and pathways for future engagement of the MASVAW campaign that works across the state of Uttar Pradesh.
This third edition of the The Sage Handbook of Action Research presents an updated version with new chapters covering emerging areas in healthcare, social work, education and international development, as well as an expanded ‘Skills’ section which includes new consultant-relevant materials. Building on the previous editions, Hilary Bradbury has carefully developed this edition to ensure it follows in their footsteps by mapping the current state of the discipline, as well as looking to the future of the field and exploring the issues at the cutting edge of the action research paradigm today.
International development interventions often fail because development experts assume that our world is linear and straightforward when in reality it is complex, highly dynamic and unpredictable. Things rarely happen in the way that they were planned. The dominance of logical planning models in international development therefore needs to be challenged and replaced by a complexity-based understanding of how change happens.
This book describes three such processes. Firstly it explores processes of ‘participatory systemic inquiry’ which allow complexity to be collectively seen and understood by stakeholders. Then it outlines two approaches to ‘engagement’: the more structured approach of ‘systemic action research’ and the more organic processes of ‘nurtured emergent development’.
The design and process of each are described clearly, allowing readers to utilize and quickly adapt the ideas to their own situations. They are illustrated through detailed case studies which range from water resource management in Uganda, to agriculture transformation in Egypt and Kenya, to education of girls in Afghanistan, and community responses to conflict in Myanmar. Each builds a detailed picture of how local people and practitioners were able to respond to complexity. The final section looks at issues of power, participation and policy that arise in emergent development processes.
This article explores the characteristics of systemic action research. It looks at the conceptual underpinnings of systemic action research and explores some of the ways in which it differs from (builds on) other forms of action research. It then explores some of the issues and dilemmas faced by systemic action researchers.
Tackling extreme poverty and marginalisation alongside rising and intersecting inequalities must be a priority for the post-2015 agenda. As country representatives at the United Nations undertake the difficult task of agreeing the next steps towards a final framework, a focus on the three key areas including improving livelihoods and pro-poor infrastructure development; increasing opportunities for participation and citizen action and tackling discriminatory social norms is critical if the final targets are to be transformative for the poorest and most marginalised people. This Policy Briefing examines these focus areas and provides some policy recommendations.
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 report came out of the learning and inspiration event held in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania from 26th - 28th May 2014, which was part of the Making All Voices Count programme. It is for participants and others with an interest in technology for transparency and accountability
The importance of community-based and participatory approaches to rural development in developing countries has long been emphasized. This book demonstrates how rural people can best participate in development projects when they are collectively organized. With the input of collaborators in the field, this book identifies the local social mechanisms that motivate and control people’s self-organizing activities.
This book is a collection of analytical narratives of what has happened to feminist voice, a key pathway to women’s empowerment. These narratives depart from the existing debate on women’s political engagement in formal institutions to examine feminist activism for building and sustaining constituencies through raising, negotiating and legitimizing women’s voice under different contexts.
Bringing together the reflections and experiences of feminist researchers and activists in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, this unique volume explores how various global trends, such as the development of transnational linkages, the rise of conservative forces, the NGOization of feminist movements, and an increase in the power of donors, have created opportunities and challenges for feminist voice and activism.