This article is extracted from a report outlining the experiences of a partnership between the 'People's Dialogue', a national network linking representatives from illegal and informal settlements in South Africa, and a group of three organisations in India. These are SPARC, an NGO working broadly in the area of housing and community development; the National Slum Dwellers Federation; and Mahila Milan, a federation of women's collectives. The article describes several of the participatory methods and techniques which are used in community-based shelter training programmes, and explains why the training process is important to community development. It argues that experiential learning is a more useful approach than those offered by conventional training.
This short article discusses the gender implications of the REFLECT adult literacy methodology. In REFLECT literacy circles provide a space where a topic of interest to both women and men is analyzed in an open-ended but well focused discussion, rooted in their own experiences. An evaluation of the three pilots of the REFLECT methodology which are being carried out in Uganda, Bangladesh and El Salvador found encouraging first results. Women reported being treated with more respect by men because they are attending literacy circles. In some cases this led to greater involvement in discussion and decision-making, increased mobility and more sharing of domestic work between women and men.
The ActionAid pilot projects linking literacy and PRA (see ActionAid, 1994) are soon to be evaluated. As empowerment is one of the central objectives of the new approach, a key issue is how do we measure empowerment? Matrices and semi-structured interviews form the basis of the evaluation which will be developed with the literacy learners. For example, matrices to measure community actions initiated through the literacy programme, participation of women in household decisions and children's education.
The bulletin starts with an introductory article on the evolution of REFLECT (Regenerated Freirean Literacy through Empowering Community Techniques), which combines the Freirean approach to literacy with PRA. The teaching methods used in what is called a REFLECT circle (class) are described. Based on the result of the pilot projects, the article claims that REFLECT approach has been proved successful and cost-effective in teaching people to read and write and in enabling people to link literacy with wider developmental issues. Reports from the REFLECT pilots, country case study of El Salvador and Uganda, and adapting REFLECT to the urban context are included The expansion of REFLECT programme into new areas and the future of the programme is discussed. All the articles are translated into Spanish alongside the English.
Unlike the conventional methods of information collection in which outsiders are the immediate major gainers, this brief note describes how PRA can reverse this tradition and enable the villagers to gain from information sharing. Two examples from India - Panahpur, Utter Pradesh and ActionAid Karnataka - have been presented. Local people were used as PRA trainers (after receiving trainers' training from outside experts) and the informal village organisations took the responsibility of organising PRA training for outsiders. The income earned (through fees collected from the participants of the training) was utilised in local development projects.
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 case book was prepared by an independent task force on 'community action for social development' as a prelude to the Copenhagen Social Summit. The 12 case studies on successful community-based social development are from a wide range of countries, such as Zimbabwe, Colombia, Tanzania, Sweden, India, Kenya, Poland, Pakistan, Tibet, Thailand and China. This casebook presents diversity of the worldwide movement towards community- based social development and defines a common process used by the successful programs. A common theme that runs through these case studies is that sustainable social development is difficult but possible; outside agencies involved in sustainable human development should respect people, their values and cultures, build trust and share power and responsibility with the people. The book also stresses the need to provide space for community action and maintain close co-operation between the state, community and NGO.
Neighbourhood Action Packs have been developed with the help of 'professionals' and other 'local experts', to facilitate decision-making about the neighbourhood. They can be used to work out step by step what has to be done and who is best placed to do it, drawing on the knowledge of 'experts' of both kinds. This guide explains the methodology underlying the approach and some of the applications in the Neighbourhood Action Packs. These concern relations between locals and council or government representatives, education for neighbourhood change in schools, finding out about local needs and resources, doing local research and planning action. The Neighbourhood Action Packs are aimed at 'northern' country settings, but most of the issues involved are common to other settings as well.
This paper reports on recent developments in the rural-issue based research programmes of the Gandhigram Rural Institute (GRI) in Tamilnadu, India. This has involved the consolidation of its village community development programmes. Emphasis has shifted towards the needs of special groups, with whom PRA meetings have been held. Some problems with such meetings are noted, including time constraints, tendency for some individuals to dominate, constraints on multi-disciplinary team, problems in group formation and discussions, and little documentation. Three-day PRA workshops were held to derive an action plan by and for villagers. The programme of workshops is outlined, discussing the extent of community participation, the methods used, and the specific projects and proposals which emerged. Strategies to support these processes beyond the workshops are also considered, and some weaknesses acknowledged: little attitude and behaviour change, dependency syndrome and internal conflicts.
This brochure describes how to do village appraisals in twelve sequenced steps. The methodology and material is aimed at rural communities in the UK. Such appraisals are aimed at describing local resources and facilities, assessing the options for achieving resources currently not possessed, and planning for the future. Village appraisals can involve parish councils and other local organisations such as schools, Women's Institutes etc. Everyone's opinion can be taken into account through this simple survey technique. A computer programme helps users choose questions from a menu, print a questionnaire and analyse replies.
This report concerns a conference involving a network of academics and NGO representatives involved in development issues in Southeast Asia. The network is committed to an alternative development paradigm, the advancement of people-centred development, associated with the work of David Korten. The report discusses the development of the network, and discusses themes which emerged in the conference: the failure of conventional development strategies; the evolving paradigm and action research; partnerships between universities and NGOs; and the importance of reversal in learning in development education curricula.
''NKASIRI'': Participatory Rural Appraisal and Planning Techniques: Workshop proceedings, Maralal, Kenya, 1996
This paper documents a workshop run by SDDP for trainees on PRA and participatory planning. The introduction to the workshop raised issues like what participatory development actually entails in practice, and introduced the '' ladder of participation'' i.e. different degrees of participation. The trainees were divided into four teams and introduced to a range of PRA tools, with a list of do's and dontÆs. Community action plans were introduced. The document concludes with discussions arising from the process and their implications for workshop participants and communities. The annexes include a discussion of the relation between PRA and rural development and workshop participantsÆ evaluation comments.
This paper explores the potentials and limits of REFLECT, with particular reference to its piloting in Bundibugyo, Uganda. Issues examined include, post-literacy support and the language barriers experienced by newly-literates. The paper argues that since the present REFLECT programme in Bundibugyo leans more towards the methodology and ethics of PRA, it holds less opportunity for Freirean conscientization.
This video provides a good introduction to the potential benefits of PRA in implementing projects which benefit those normally excluded by conventional approaches. It contains interesting interviews with villagers who had previously participated in a PRA process. It also uses dramatised scenes to emphasise aspects of PRA, mostly concerning behaviour and attitudes. Which scenes have been scripted is sometimes confusing. Key points made are that marginalised people are usually not reached by conventional development approaches (03, 05, 30). The attitudes and behaviour of development workers and academics contributes to this (13, 37). PRA facilitates outsiders learning from villagers (08, 18) and overcomes conventional biases (34, 38). This is shown through the experience of Paraikulan villagers who worked with an NGO, SPEECH, to reclaim barren land. The outputs of PRA methods shown include mapping (19), wealth ranking (25), seasonality analysis (26), matrix ranking of problems (28), oral history (29), and Venn diagrams (32). Women were included in village development activities, through literacy classes and increased access to agricultural inputs (34). Villagers reflect on the subsequent activities to reclaim barren land and its impact on their lives (42), both in terms of production and increased confidence (44). A resident of another villager reports that the experience of Paraikulan set an example for other villagers (46).