This paper presents the results of an international workshop convened to examine verbal autopsy methods with the goal of achieving a consensus on methodological approaches. A verbal autopsy is an interview designed to identify specific medical syndromes, using information about the terminal illness elicited from relatives of the deceased person. Particular attention is paid to the difficulties of cause-specific mortality of children in developing countries.
This is a newsletter which describes the formation of the Midnet PRA group and includes a number of very short articles and thoughts on practitioners experiences with PRA in Southern Africa. Experiences shared include working with young people, in education, with periurban communities, for catchment management and for land reform. The methods used are discussed with details of venn diagrammes for community organisation, historical time lines. There are reports from trainings in Namaqualand and Namibia. The thoughts that emerged from evaluation/ reflection and planning meetings included the ideas of rapid learning and sharing and the need for more training. The final article summarises the PRA and gender workshop held at IIED in December 1993.
This community handbook is designed to help health workers address three questions: i) How do you measure community malnutrition? ii) What are the food problems in your community? iii) Which problems should you attack? A series of appendices describe various practical ways of measuring child development. Health workers are encouraged to analyse and act upon the various socio-economic causes of ill health. An extensive list of further information sources is provided, with little emphasis on methodology.
A guide to the collection, analysis and use of information about the cultural context of diarrhea - household and behavioural factors are identified in a cultural context. the aim is to facilitate the development, implementation and monitoring of programmes for the control and prevention of diarrhea. Part III is a field guide to the use of Rapid Assesment Procedures, many of which are closely related to PRA tools such as mapping, the use of key informants and checklists for informal interviews. Emphasis is placed on understanding the beleif system - how the body works, the causes and consequences of illness - and how the household and caregivers respond to diarrhea. The final section considers practical options for applying the information and testing (often through more formal methods) the generalisability of information.
Integrating formal sample surveys and Rapid Rural Appraisal techniques: summary based on Rapid Rural Appraisal techniques and the monitoring and evaluation of IFAD projects in Sudan
This summary is based on a report written for the Monitoring and Evaluation Division of the IFAD, with the general objective of examining the use of RRA methods for M&E. That report proposes a taxonomy of survey/RRA techniques and methods, which can be regarded as "a menu", thereby allowing choices to fit the precise needs of the user of information and institutional context. As such, the author argues, RRAs and formal surveys can be mixed to great effect. The criteria for such a taxonomy is outlined in this paper, as is a summary table of the main RRA techniques. The lessons from case study RRAs discussed in the original report are mostly positive, confirming "the value of weaving an RRA in to existing data" and showing how a low cost M&E system could be built on this. This is a useful and stimulating report with some clear summary diagrams and an extensive bibliography.
The use of RAP in evaluation in UNICEF is briefly outlined in this paper. In UNICEF, a Rapid Assessment Procedure [RAP] exercise "includes as a central base, the use of techniques derived from the field of anthropology such as focus group discussions, observation, and unstructured one-on-one interviews, that form a body of mainly qualitative data". Normally the qualitative information derived from RAP will be used in conjunction with quantitative data, which might already be available, or which might be collected as part of a RAP investigation itself. Although the report includes an admission that "RAP is not a particularly useful type of method to use for evaluations of a participatory nature..", the author does point out that RAP evaluations do have an important role in encouraging participatory development processes in projects, and that RAP style evaluation "can be used, if so desired, as a way of instilling a sense that more peoples participation may be more desirable in a development project".
This paper describes how The Mazingira Institute in Nairobi created and used a series of illustrated learning packages on environmental issues to stimulate responses from school children. Annual competitions invited children to answer questions and submit essays and drawings on a variety of topics. The children's responses proved a valuable source of information on their perceptions of environmental issues, and traditional knowledge and action in their communities. The "information exchange with children" project helped children to link what they learned in school with what they heard from the elders in their community, and with what they could see and do themselves. The authors conclude that the distributed learning packages and responses gathered from children combine mass media with the education system, allowing the youth to address environment and development problems, and potentially linking with policy making.
Street children, hotel boys and children of pavement dwellers and construction workers in Bombay, how they meet their daily needs
This paper presents the results of research on how street children, hotel boys and the children of pavement dwellers and construction workers in Bombay meet their daily needs. Section two describes the factors which lead to children being in such circumstances and the inadequacies of public provision in meeting their needs. Section three describes the organisations responsible for undertaking the survey and the unconventional means by which contacts were made with the children. It also describes how involving the children in the survey became a means of establishing better contact between the children and the government agencies and voluntary organizations seeking more effective public responses to their needs and problems. Section four presents the findings of the research. (Author's summary)
This report summarizes the result of the 2nd Internal evaluation of the ongoing 4th phase implementation of the 'Rural Family and Welfare Project'. The evaluation objective was not only to assess the current progress of the project and the willingness of the actors at the village level to sustain the program but also to 'test relatively new methodological approaches, mainly PRA, in order to further strengthen grassroot participation'. In doing so the report devotes a great deal of attention to exploring the ideology and rational behind the 'PRA approach' to M&E and provides an extremely useful summary of the key issues involved (in Chapters 1 and 2). There were six main methods applied in this evaluation: 'Rapport building with participants', 'Transect walks', 'Matrix scoring and ranking', 'Trend and situation analysis', 'Dramatized case study/role play' and 'Balloon opinion analysis'. Each of these methods are well introduced in the first two introductory chapters, while the results generated from their application are provided in the remainder of the report. An extensive bibliography is also provided in Chapter 7. This report presents a powerful, and well argued, case for the use of both PRA methods and a 'PRA orientation' in M&E activities (as the reported highly positive impact of these evaluation activities illustrates) while, in addition, it provides a well structured basic reference source for those interested in implementing such activities.
The paper discusses the use and usefulness of participatory approaches in the work of Save the Children Fund (SCF). It asks how PRA can be used effectively by SCF when the nature of its work means it is unlikely to be involved purely as a facilitator in a community development process. Areas where PRA has proved useful are research, training and awareness, and participatory monitoring and evaluation. It is suggested that the awareness and skills of a growing number of staff members will gradually increase SCFs capacity to use PRA. Participatory methods are also seen as having a useful role to play in turning SCF into a more child-focused agency, and in helping to develop partnerships between SCF, local communities and partner organisations.
The article suggests that three processes - detailed field research, policy research and dissemination - need to run in parallel in order to make research relevant and accessible to policy-makers at different levels of decision-making. These processes are discussed in the context of an ActionAid research project on children's roles in development. Some of the problems with the approach and the lessons learned are discussed.
The understanding of children's roles in the household, how work loads are shared and how they alter over time and with different socio-economic and environmental conditions is crucial for development. Gender issues are important, and an understanding of both gender and children should be built into projects and policy. Children's work has not often been considered in planning development initiatives. The first section provides a background to this before moving onto the background to the fieldwork conducted in Nepal and a description of the area. Environmental issues and their effects on children are illustrated using flow diagrams, maps and historical analysis. The role of children is highlighted in a framework of caste/ ethnicity, poverty and gender which affects control over resources and decisions. Different perceptions are examined using seasonal calenders, activity matrices and mobility diagrams. Throughout the study participatory methods were used, in addition to a basic questionnaire, and the methodology is highlighted in the appendix. The report concludes with six "steps forward", providing practical leads for policy and action. It is stressed that this report is not an end in itself but rather a first step towards development in which children are given a voice.
Conventional studies of child feeding practices are difficult and time-consuming, since family food use is a sensitive topic since it hinges on economic status and power relationships. The author argues that since "this information can only be obtained by workers trusted by the community, after both sides have understood and become concerned with the object of the investigation". The roles of an RRA facilitator in providing, collecting, interpreting and discussing information are outlined. Section 2 discusses 8 questions relating to feeding practices, covering problems with conventional food consumption surveys, trust between researchers and researched, the importance of relating reported to actual practices, evaluating 'satisfactory' feeding practices, understanding mothers' perceptions of practices, problems and obstacles to change, and the importance of sharing information for mutual learning between the interviewer and the community.
A Rapid Participatory Assessment of the health needs of women and their children in an urban poor area of Myanmar.
The research was carried out using participatory qualitative rapid appraisal procedures (RAPs) in order to assess the health needs of women and their children. The study was quite large involving two hundred mothers of children under five years of age. Data was collected by volunteers from the Maternal and child welfare association (MCWA) and the Myanmar Red Cross (MRC). The assessment covers planning issues of communication between formal and informal Health Services, quality of care and training through the importance of the roles of midwives and traditional birth assistants (TBAs), as well as investigating local perceptions and practices. These concern reproductive health issues, ranging from pregnancy to post-natal care and long-term problems, family planning methods, contraception in the prevention of STDs and HIV/AIDS, and abortion. Other related issues such as health financing, drugs policies, and a broader socio-cultural gender analysis are also analysed. The methodology used for this assessment is innovative, participatory and appropriate, generating a considerable amount of new data in a short time. Of particular interest may be the techniques of body mapping used by the women to identify reproductive morbidity and the side effects of birth spacing and other contraceptive methods; sexuality life lines are also used to give an awareness over time of the trials and tribulations faced in the reproductive lives of the women.
Community-Based Workshops for Evaluating and Planning Sanitation Programs: A Case Study of Primary Schools Sanitation in Lesotho
The Lesotho Primary Schools Sanitation Project, undertaken in 1976-9, had limited success. When a follow-up project was proposed, it was decided to hold workshops to find out the communities' views on how the follow-up should be designed. Workshop participants included school and community representatives, ministerial and donor agency representatives. This paper describes the results of those workshops held in March 1981. Most of the report discusses technical implications of the workshop discussions. A final section discusses the role of community based workshops in development planning.