This 20 minute video focuses on rural communities in the UK. It demonstrates the use of Village Appraisals and Parish Maps, two creative methods which enable village groups to study and express the needs and feelings of local people and then go on to influence the future of their community. Village appraisals are a systematic 'stock-take' of the resources and services in a community using a local questionnaire survey. Two examples are shown, from the Dene Valley near Bishop Auckland, County Durham and from Motcombe, Dorset. Parish Maps use maps, pictures or any form of art and craftwork to illustrate the natural or human-made features of a parish that people really care about. Two examples are given from Buckland Newton in Dorset and Lockwood in Cleveland.
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.
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.
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.
The use and abuse of PRA has attracted considerable criticism from social anthropologists. This overview article discusses some of the wider concerns voiced about the practice of PRA by practitioners and academics working in development settings. The relative strengths and shortcomings of a PRA approach versus an anthropological approach are discussed. The article suggests that "anthropological concerns with reflexivity, social processes and context can help inform the practice of PRA and enable practitioners to appreciate the complex realities of the urban and rural poor. The challenges PRA raises for anthropology take critiques from within the discipline further, opening up new possibilities for development anthropology".
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 thesis analyses the potential of PRA to empower communities in the development process. The research is based on a literature review that includes both theoretical literature and project documents and evaluations. It discusses the emergence of empowerment as an issue in development, and looks at why it has been so difficult to achieve in practice. The empowering potential of PRA is then discussed in the context of a case study from urban Pakistan. It is concluded that PRA "can be a potent tool in empowering communities but this will not happen automatically".
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".
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.
The article discusses four areas of concern in current PRA practice. Firstly, it is likely that investment in careful, long-term and comparative on-the-ground social research will be curtailed in favour of quicker data-gathering using PRA methods. A second concern is whether the routinisation of PRA within the bureaucratic processes of development agencies contradict or divert the original aim of giving more voice and control to the rural poor. A third issue is the lack of clarity on where RRA/PRA practitioners stand in relation to the major debates in social theory. What is to be made of a participatory development exercise that assumes there is a clear split between structure and action, and where structure takes precedence over action? A fourth issue is the question of whether participative initiatives ever break free from the context of local politics. The author argues for a move towards interventions in which attention focuses on action as a key component in the establishment of an emancipatory learning environment.
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.
Jos Plateau Environmental Resources Development Programme, Nigeria - Project Identification using Rapid Rural Appraisal, October 1991: Part I (interim report 21) selection of communities and collaborative workshop/ Part II (interim report 22) Marit villag
The Jos Plateau Environmental Resources Development Programme [JPERDP] (Nigeria) aims at developing a viable approach to rural development in the tin-mining region of the Jos plateau. The approach was by 1991 already moulding itself around two twin thrusts, namely, action research and capacity building. Part I of the report contains the selection process used to identify and contact cooperating communities for part of the phase two of the JPERDP, and also goes on to document the action-oriented collaborative training workshop. Two communities were selected, Marit and Wereng, according to a set of selection criteria offsetting common biases in rural development. Part II and III are village reports from the villages of Marit and Wereng.
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.
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.