This ten-minute video was made by Manor Street Community Group in North Belfast, Northern Ireland with the help of students from King Alfred's College. Manor Street is situated in the heart of an area divided by religious and political conflict. The film focuses on efforts by the Community Group to get support from the community and funding for a new Community Centre. After a 3-year public consultation period plans for the centre were drawn up and the City Council was approached for funding to build and run it (00). There was a great need for the centre. Since a wall had been built between the warring catholic and protestant communities shops had closed and buses stopped running (01). There was nothing for young people to do and vandalism was common (02). The problems had been exacerbated by the loss of the old centre and its youth club. All community spirit had gone from the area and the lack of opportunity for protestants and catholics to meet meant the two communities were even more divided (04). The Community Group made contact with various bodies to obtain support and funding. Discussions with residents made it clear that people wanted a centre which would provide something for all ages (05). One person suggested that keep fit classes for women could help deal with stress. The Centre would help put the heart back into the area by providing the community with a focal point and a morale booster (06). The plans provided space for a creche as well as rooms for meetings and classes for the unemployed (08.30). Volunteers from the community were sought to fundraise, run activities and join the management committee (09). The aim was to encourage the whole community to join in.
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.
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.
Guide to participatory research that provides information regarding strategies, methods and resources used by practicing participatory researchers to mobilise communities around gathering and producing popular knowledge. The report begins with a presentation of case studies from around the USA of various participatory research projects.
Following this are do's, don'ts and maybe's regarding amongst other issues, power relations, building community and group alliances and diversity, getting information out, starting and sustaining groups and dealing with conflict and funding.
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 paper analyses the different approaches taken by three NGOs working in Bhutanese refugee camps in Nepal, to incorporate women and refugees into their organizational structures. The impacts the different strategies had on both programme activities and women are examined.
Participatory programme learning for women's empowerment in micro-finance programmes : negotiating complexity, conflict and change.
Micro-finance programmes are currently promoted as strategies for both alleviating poverty and also empowering women. However, a number of recent academic studies have questioned the benefits of such programmes for women. Given the need to examine their gender impact, this paper proposes an alternative to the traditional costly quantitative and qualitative impact studies. A participatory approach is proposed which integrates empowerment concerns with ongoing programme learning, which in itself contributes to empowerment.
'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.
Indigenous peoples, national parks and participation: a case study of conflicts in Canaima National Park, Venezuela
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.