This paper describes the process of training field researchers in PRA methods as part of the PD2DT community development project in Indonesia. The project's approach is to use participatory methods for investigation and analysis with villagers, providing communities with information about the IDT poverty alleviation programme, and allowing outsiders to learn about the nature of poverty in isolated villages. Section 1 describes how the training plan evolved over time to take account of unforeseen factors. Major problems and constraints encountered in the training process are acknowledged. These included time constraints, large training groups, and lack of involvement of local community due to poor coordination by training committee. Section 2 discusses the contribution of training to project results, in terms of levels of satisfaction with the PRA trainers and with the skills gained by trainees. The trainee selection process is given considerable attention. Overall, training in participatory methods is a key to the PD2DT approach. A recurring theme is that training did not alter the attitudes and behaviour of many trainees. This may limit the impact of PRA training on the project's success. It is noted that trainees may also apply these skills in their other employments, making them potentially valuable resource persons for the future. Section 3 summarises recommendations derived from the findings of dialogue with villagers. It is also suggested that the gains in participatory skills can be used in other stages of the IDT poverty alleviation programme, and follow-up issues are discussed. The paper ends with a short summary of some of the key lessons learned.
Using Appreciative Enquiry As An Evaluative Tool: A Case Study on an African Project for Street Children.
This interesting article describes how the author sought to show how an appreciative inquiry technique can be used to embed a self evaluation process in an organisation that caters for the needs of street children in Africa. The paper describes using a narrative style the findings of a three day workshop using this methodology. Appreciative Inquiry works by highlighting the organisations best practice which is then used as a bench mark for all the practitioners to assess their own performance. Several problems existed within the specific context in which this workshop was held which would influence the evaluation. These problems were promptly identified by the author and listed as being as follows; i) the contrast between the rhetoric of democracy and participation on the one hand and the reality of an authoritarian style leadership on the other, ii) the great diversity in the formal education and training levels of the participants, iii) the bias that existed in the organisation which favoured the caring/counselling role but left a gap in the administrative and finance functions and iv) what was described by the author as a kind of 'corporate introspection' where the organisation and it's participants felt undervalued by the donor communities because of the nature of their work. The key technique utilised by the appreciative inquiry methodology was that of story telling and PRA style mapping. The events of the workshop are clearly described in this paper which is generally refreshingly simple in it's style.
The short article starts by discussing the role of evaluation as an integral part of the project cycle and goes on to discuss the problems with the conventional approaches to evaluation. From a list of these problems a number of pre-requisites of good evaluation systems are identified. This then leads to a discussion of participatory evaluation with specific emphasis on how this can be carried out using the general philosophy of PRA techniques. Participatory evaluation as a concept within the watershed development project is then introduced and a list of both quantitative and qualitative indicators which are developed within the programme are identified as indicators. These indicators cover all the different sectors or aspects of the project. A list of potentially relevant PRA tools that could be utilised to evaluate these indicators is provided and a table illustrating the most appropriate tools or groups of tools used to measure a specific indicator is designed. The article concludes with a list of helpful points to keep in mind when carrying out participatory evaluation.
The enigma of empowerment : a study of the transformation of concepts in policy making processes : chapter 1 Introduction
Introductory chapter to a thesis looking at the malleable nature of the concept of empowerment in state and non-state policy making. This section concentrates on the research method and notes that despite claims to the contrary, participatory research is not likely to empower "beneficiary" populations.
This newsletter looks at development and other activities in the villages in the Upper Kahayan area of Indonesia. It is the newsletter of Yayasan Tambuhak Sinta (YTS), an organisation established by a mineral exploration company to facilitate community development in the villages close to the exploration area. YTS has recently been shifting to using PRA approaches with local villages, and the newsletter describes some of the findings from these processes. Main issues covered include insights gained from specific villages as well as more general information about field activities on broader themes such as education, health, economics and governance. The newsletter also contains general updates and news items concerning YTS, and is published quarterly.
How participatory is participation in social funds?: an analysis of three case studies from the Malawi social action fund, (MASAF)
The majority of the evaluations looking at community participation in social funds (SFs) have tended to generalise about the nature of community participation. As a result, there does not appear to be an adequate analysis of the participatory process itself to assess the depth and scope of community participation and whether such participation can generate the benefits associated with the new approach. This paper attempts to contribute to this existing knowledge gap by analysing the nature and type of community participation in three Social Fund projects from Mangochi district of southern Malawi. The paper examines the concept of and different levels of community participation (from passive participation to self-mobilisation), and community participation in social funds worldwide. Community participation in three case studies from the Malawi Social Action Fund (MASAF) are analysed. The case studies included the Chilipa Community Day Secondary School, the Ngao School for orphans, and a construction of a road linking Mbaluku and Nalikolo under the MASAF Public Works Programme. The author examines community participation in practice of needs assessment and project selection, project planning, project implementation, monitoring and evaluation and maintenance. The concept of community participation in each of the three case studies is examined. It is concluded that the definition of community participation in the three MASAF projects was very narrow and limited, takin on a passive and indirect nature. Consequently, the projects are found to fail to generate the benefits that are attributed to community participation in development initiatives while at the same time failing to empower the local community to take charge of decisions that contribute to their well-being and social advancement.