Adapting participatory methods to the government system: the Wenchuan earthquake rehabilitation project
This article gives account for a domestic violence study conducted in 12 haor areas (areas that flood regularly) in the northeastern region of Bangladesh. Concern Worldwide (an international NGO) has been implementing integrated rural development projects in three remote sub-districts- Khaliajuri, Itna, and Gowainghat- or the last ten years. Key project activities include the formation of community groups with the poor for raising awareness, human development training, skill training, non-formal education, saving and credit schemes, and rural infrastructure development. Roughly 96% of the group participants are women and the activities aim to contribute to the socio-economic empowerment of poor women. A research study was undertaken in 2003 in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the programme; to determine the socio-economic factors contributing domestic violence; the most common types of abuse and their health consequences; reductions of physical and mental abuse of housewives due to Concern's interventions. The research methodology used was based on PRA (Participatory Rural Appraisal) methods with social mapping of poverty; family relationships diagrams; focus group discussions; and Venn diagrams. The results are presented defining the fabric of inter-household relationships; analysing abuse in family relationships; and looking at defence strategies. The authors go on to the effectiveness of the Concern Project, examining housewives' feelings about power and ways to achieve power. Lessons learned form the project are summarised and it is concluded that processes of change in gender relations and attitudes are ongoing and take time and that it is equally important to work with both women and men to change attitudes.
This literature review is intended to complement the English and Spanish literature reviews carried out as part of the Global Study. Many of the issues and points of discussion raised in the English review were also noted or confirmed in the French literature. There are inevitable influences and overlaps between the various literatures, such that to make a clear distinction between the French, Spanish and English literature is, to a certain extent, artificial. However, it cannot be denied that there are some differences in approaches and emphasis, due to the predominance of certain schools of thought or institutional cultures. This paper emphasizes the differences by focusing on elements that were not yet necessarily covered by the other views, or that are addressed from a different angle. The objectives of the review are to clarify the concepts and definitions of terms related to participation and consultation in the French literature on development and humanitarian aid; present and analyse key debates around the concept and practice of participation; review lessons learned, recommendations, and manuals that can be useful for the elaboration of the Global Study Practitioner's Handbook and overview book; and illustrate the issues raised through case studies that are relevant to humanitarian action.
This paper presents some basic challenges faced by ZOA-Refugee Care, an international Christian NGO, in Rwanda in recent years. The organisation has been working in the post-1994 genocide and war period to provide emergency aid, and now increasingly focuses on community development work. The paper reports on the background of the project, issues around institutional environment and organisation change of ZOA-Rwanda, notes from the PRA sessions held, and follow-up processes. Along with specific recommendations, it is seen that the decentralisation policy of the Rwandan government offers a good opportunity for a participatory approach, particularly as local authorities have a large impact on the progress of a development programme and are crucial to inducing change.
'Voices of the Poor' is a series of three books that collates the experiences, views and aspirations of over 60,000 poor women and men. This second book of the series draws material from a 23-country comparative study, which used open-ended participatory methods, bringing together the voices and realities of 20,000 poor women, men, youth and children. Despite very different political, social and economic contexts, there are striking similarities in poor people's experiences. The common underlying theme is one of powerlessness, which consists of multiple and interlocking dimensions of illbeing or poverty. The book starts by describing the origins of the study, the methodology and some of the challenges faced. This is followed by an exploration of the multidimensional nature of wellbeing and illbeing. Most of the book comprises the core findings - the 10 dimensions of powerlessness and illbeing that emerge from the study - and is organised around these themes. These include livelihoods and assets; the places where poor people live and work; the body and related to this, accessing health services; gender roles and gender relations within the household; social exclusion; insecurity and related fears and anxieties; the behaviour and character of institutions; and poor people's ratings of the most important institutions in their lives. These dimensions are brought together into a many-stranded web of powerlessness, which is compounded by the lack of capability, including lack of information, education, skills and confidence. The final chapter is a call to action and dwells on the challenge of change.
This paper provides a resume of a D.Phil. research project. The overall aim of the project is to study and analyse the nature of conflicts in Canaima National Park, with emphasis on their history, structural causes and power relations. It seeks to find out which forms of participation are more likely to contribute to managing conflicts in national parks established in indigenous peopleÆs territories. The paper gives a brief background and rationale to the research project; presents the main points of argument and objectives; describes the project site and existing conflicts; and explains the research methodology which combines a community case study approach with traditional qualitative research methods. The paper discusses the spread of natural resource conflict management in Latin America; present trends and gaps in analysing conflicts in national parks; and the need to go beyond perception and stakeholder analysis in order to understand conflicts. The preliminary results of the study are presented regarding the nature of conflicts over implementation of park policy with focus on the use of fire by the Pemon people; tourism development; and the building of a power line to Brazil. The role of power in shaping different forms of participation is analysed focussing on the meaning of participation for the different factors. Based on the preliminary results, the paper proposes forms of participation that are likely to contribute to conflict management in Canaima National Park, focussing on the main conflicts (as mentioned above). An attachment gives further details of the field work process.
This book includes a wide ranging collection of papers which have been divided into sections dealing with communicating with children, gender empowerment, community interactive processes, approaches and insights, ethics and values of community participation and organizational capacity building.
This video draws on the experience of an Australian funded participatory rural development project in the Philippines, to examine the challenges, risks and benefits of adopting a participatory approach. It takes the form of interviews with project staff, including foreign project consultants, provincial and local project staff, community development workers and agricultural extension workers. A range of issues is discussed, include potential factors causing conflict or distrust, the need for and obstacles to empowering farmers, the need for and resistance to a very slow learning process, transparency and agendas of various stakeholders, and the need to recognise and share constraints and strengths. These issues are discussed from the perspective of bilateral agency staff, NGOs, local government and community partners.
This paper looks at the role of PRA in addressing inequality and argues that participatory methods themselves contribute very little to an emancipatory process. It suggests that unless PRA is explicitly linked with an educational process which enables people with little power and resources to gain more control over their lives, the term 'participatory' will remain meaningless. A critical step is understanding issues of difference among 'the poor,' especially gender difference. However, it is one thing to identify differences but another to deal with the conflicting interests that emerge. The potential for a backlash against weaker groups is a real concern and must be taken into consideration. While the facilitator has a role to play in enabling groups to analyze the effects of possible reactions to the action they propose, it is the group of participants who must make the final decision.
This article explores constraints encountered when using PRA on an ODA-funded natural resources project in a tribal area of Western India. It was particularly evident that women's participation in the PRAs was minimal. The reasons for this were practical (women were not available collectively for long periods of time & there were few women fieldworkers as the project had just begun), social (PRA activities tended to take place in public places where women felt awkward) and methodological (women respond to PRA activities in different ways, sometimes feeling bored and "communicating by singing instead"). The author argues that an organised PRA "gives privilege to certain kinds of knowledge and representation and suppresses others" : the emphasis given to formal knowledge and activities tends to "reinforce the invisibility of women's roles". However, once the formal and public nature of PRA is perceived as a problem, it can become a means by which "women's knowledge and activities.. can be transferred from the informal to the formal arena of project planning", thereby increasing women's profile. Suggestions for encouraging women's participation in PRA include: making non-public contexts (since women are more used to the "private sphere"), using women's knowledge and ways of communicating (songs, sayings, proverbs). There are constraints: the "production of observable outputs (maps, diagrams of PRA) have more status for fieldworkers" than scribbled songs or informal interview notes and women's expressed needs (eg a flour mill) "don't fit easily into established categories of natural resource development".
This book is the outcome of a workshop on participation organised by Duryog Nivaran, a South-Asian network of individuals and organisations concerned with large scale disruptions in society due either to natural disasters or conflicts. This introductory chapter gives a glimpse of papers included in the above book. The papers come from a group who have not only encountered the notion of participation in different capacities but have also understood it in different ways. Four of the seven papers included in the book look at participation primarily in the context of development and development projects; two of the papers look at the link between participation and political process at the macro level and raise questions about the relationship between development projects and political processes in wider society. Finally, one paper attempts to straddle these two worlds. The book contends that it is important to promote healthy critical debates on the concept and the experience of participation in various contexts. However, the emergence of participation as a new development orthodoxy needs to be questioned.