Rather than challenging the universal validity of PRA, this discussion paper focuses on the practical task of "doing PRAs" in a new and alien context. The authors advocate the acknowledgement and acceptance of local cultural trends, power relations and structures of authority when undertaking participatory research. This will allow to work with, rather than around these factors. Hence, the proposed "Vietnamisation" of PRA so as to allow local voices to shape the values and techniques of PRA itself. But, just how Vietnamised can PRA become until it comes into conflict with international liberal PRA values? This broad discussion originated in a workshop organised in Hanoi on Community Research Methods in February and March 1996. The issues covered by the paper include: introducing PRA and PRA values in Vietnamese communities, gender, local leadership and dominance; and international donors and PRA. Methodological issues covered are: sampling, recording of research information, interviews, focus group discussions and mapping.
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.
This paper is the third in a three-part series examining participatory rural appraisal. It reviews some of the practical and theoretical questions which have been raised as the spread of PRA accelerates. PRA approaches and methods are analysed in terms of how they have spread, quality assurance, dangers, potentials and strategies, and paradigmatic significance. Rapid spread has made quality assurance a concern, with dangers from "instant fashion", rushing, formalism and ruts. Promising potentials include farmers' own farming systems research, alternatives to questionnaire surveys, monitoring, evaluation and lateral spread by local people, empowerment of the poorer and weaker, and policy review. Changes in personal behaviour and attitudes, and in organisational cultures, are implied. PRA parallels and resonates with paradigm shifts in the social and natural sciences, in business management and development thinking.
The metaphor of the "mirror", constitutes the central theme for this guide to self evaluation [SE] prepared by the evaluation service of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation [SDC]. The "mirror of SE" refers to "a multitude of tools and methods which provide a critical and constructive analysis of our own activities and their consequences". Unlike external evaluation, a SE is always designed to "illuminate" one's own area of responsibility to help find possible improvements. 18 practical examples of SE are introduced in chapter 2, which are divided into three main groups; Externally initiated SE; SE involving partners; and Autonomous SE - which occurs entirely independently of outside influence (the key case study given in the latter group is the SE deployed in the Federation of Senegalese NGOs in Senegal, 1989). In chapters 3 and 4 respectively, an "analysis" and "valuation" of these case studies is carried out, with 8 "fundamental questions" providing the framework for discussion [questions include; "what is being evaluated?", "How is success being measured?", "who are the participants?", "how can SE be implemented?"] In chapter 5 the analytical concept of the "wheel with 8 spokes" is introduced as a specific approach through which SE can be conceptualised and put into practice. Although no mention of PRA is made, this guide does provide some relevant and stimulating discussion which is based around the large number of case studies. Certainly, the 56 arguments - or "excuses" - listed on p.32, which "are used to evade an SE" are equally likely to be employed with reference to the use of PRA methods for M&E. (61 pp)
The report of a training carried out by Myrada, a pre-training course conducted by Myrada and detailed reports in both Khmer and English of a field PRA conducted in Pursat are included in this document. The training followed the pattern of introduction to PRA and development and the tools. There was a field training in one village near to Pursat with a relatively stable security situation. The different stages in the PRA are noted, along with training notes and illustrations. The pretraining is included to give an idea of the information participants received prior to the training, such as the relationship between PRA and Concerns projects, and why an understanding of PRA would be useful to Concern, as well as some information on PRA tools. Concern has subsequently been using PRA in its development work, and the case study illustrates one example of its use.
DELTA (Development Education and Leadership Training for Action) began in Kenya through the Catholic Church and spread rapidly to other countries. This article analyses the use of DELTA in one area of Sierra Leone, bringing out issues around empowerment and action in the context of the implementing institution, the Anglican church. The DELTA method is greatly influenced by Freire's writings. The various stages include: the listening survey, identification of generative themes, from surveys to codes and action planning. Dilemmas that emerged in the implementation of DELTA were around the role of facilitator (how far 'manipulator' would be a better word), how to enable marginalised people to express their concerns and whether a 'project' could actually change the 'root causes of injustice'. 'The ideological strength of DELTA could also be its weakness. It can take people to a place of awareness but is not strong in the organisational and strategic skills which enable them to take their needs further or to draw from other methods.'
The article focuses on the generation of knowledge about social relationships within participatory rural development projects. In the Kribhco Indo-British Rainfed Farming Project (KRIBP) in India significant constraints were experienced in using PRA techniques for social analysis. Although they were successful at generating agro-ecological information, they were less helpful in revealing the structures of power and influence within a village or in helping project workers identify the social relations which shaped 'public' opinion. It is unlikely that public participatory research methods will prove good instruments for the analysis of local power relations since they are shaped by the very social relations which are being investigated. In fact, an understanding of local social networks is a necessary prerequisite for the organisation of effective PRA based work. In KRIBP understanding of these relations came from participant observation and critical review of the PRA activity itself rather than from the use of PRA methods.
This article provides a summary of the major challenges currently facing PRA, as well as the changes implied by some of these challenges. The challenges are considered at six different levels, namely the individual, community, organisational, project and programme, donor and policy levels. The challenges identified are drawn from the literature on PRA, as well as from a recent series of workshops held by the author with the staff of six NGOs that are promoting PRA in South Asia. The article concludes by attributing these challenges to five cross-cutting factors: differences in power, culture, knowledge, money and time.
This brief paper argues that a participatory monitoring (PM) system is meaningful and effective only when people are involved right from the inception of the project, given a free hand in setting their own objectives and monitoring indicators. The outsider should aim at developing the institutional capability of local organisations, instead of overburdening them with data collection to fulfil the monitoring requirements of outsiders. The effectiveness of a PM system is questioned when people have to participate in a project designed by the outsiders often using indicators that are alien to them.
This introductory paper defines the most commonly used development terms - participation and empowerment. The theoretical and ideological roots of these concepts and the use, abuse and misuse of these terms in the policy and practice of developmental organisations are reviewed. Drawing on various theoretical and more specific case studies presented in the book, a clear gap is shown between institutional rhetoric and the practice of participatory development. The paper suggests a shift in power within the community and institutions and appeals to both researchers and practitioners involved in participatory development to create an enabling environment in which participatory values are institutionalised.
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.
This report gives an overview of the work of ActionAid-Pakistan in 1992. The general section on programme work notes that a process is envisaged where PRA is used to facilitate the initial introduction to a community, leading to preliminary ideas from which to begin immediate entry point activities, to provide a basis for developing the programme further. An example is given of a PRA study whose aims were to elicit information about an area unfamiliar to staff and to develop understanding between ActionAid and the communities. The benefits of undertaking the introductory PRA are elaborated, which included community participation in project choice and facilitation of communication of ActionAid's ideas about proposed projects to villagers. The report includes a description of the programme area, local problems defined in the PRA and the initial programme objectives. The need to develop community management structures and monitoring and evaluation systems to ensure continuing community involvement is elaborated.
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.
Reforming Agricultural Extension in Bangladesh: Blending Greater Participation and Sustainability with Institutional Strengthening
The limited effectiveness of the Training and Visit (T&V) system of extension in sustaining agricultural growth, combined with concerns about sustainability and pressures towards greater participation by farmers and the private sector, have stimulated major reconsideration of extension strategies in Bangladesh. This paper offers a conceptual framework for assessing the coherence, performance and sustainability of extension strategies. Subsequent sections review changes in agricultural production and productivity in the past two decades. Evidence of the contribution of extension is mainly circumstantial. The final section of the paper examines the major features of the new extension which include: decentralisation within the Department of Agricultural Extension; the use of groups in communications with farming communities; and greater efforts to assess farmers' needs and to tailor messages. The paper concludes that although these reforms are steps in the right direction, the strategy appears to be based upon unrealistic assumptions regarding the willingness and ability of different organisations to make changes and work together.