The Community Publishing Program began in 1986 in Zimbabwe with the aim of building up the "confidence, creativity, practical and analystical skills of development workers and local leaders through books and workshops." Books are produced "collectively and democratically" through a team travelling around Zimbabwe, listening to what people want in a book. Five main principles guiding community publishing are listed and examples given of books that were produced using these participatory methods. The article ends with "Lessons from the Experience", giving more detail of the methods used to encourage people to participate and view books as a "process not a product".
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.
A comprehensive account of a large scale experimental PRA conducted for SCF in Vietnam. The approach taken and its justification (not agreed by all doners) is detailed. The methodology section is extensive, discussing the theory behind PRA, training, tools and fieldwork, as well as problems such as the external and timeconsuming production of the report. The final report gives details of the education system and educations problems encountered, in general terms and by specific commune. In some communes this is felt to be one of the most significant constraints, and potential solutions are discussed in detail.
"Investing in education for girls is the single most important thing a country can do...it leads to faster economic growth, higher family incomes, lower infant deaths and in many, many ways a better life for this generation and the next." Yet in most parts of the developing world girls receive much less education than boys. The film shows a PRA exercise which was carried out in a village in Gambia to investigate the constraints to female education and what might be done to improve access to education for girls. The methods used during the PRA included village mapping to establish which households had children attending or not attending school (06); pi-charts to show village income and expenditure (08.30); matrix ranking of problems and solutions (09); and card sorting to identify rich and poor households (12). Information from the ranking and the map were then compared and checked for discrepancies (13). However, it was only discovered by accident that 25% of girls did not appear on the map. These were girls who had never been to school or were about to get married (15). It was found that two of the major constraints to educating girls were the expense and demands for their labour at home. Cost was an important deterrent, particularly as the largest school expenses occurred just before harvest when people had no money. In addition, the demand for girls' labour in the fields was heaviest at the busiest time of the school year, while the demand for boys labour at that time was light (16). All the problems the villagers had identified were then ranked in pairs by different age-groups of women and men (18). An inventory of village associations was also made using venn diagrams to show the relationship between them (20). Having identified the problems and the resources available within the village, in the last phase of the PRA the villagers met to decide what action to take (23). The video concludes by discussing some of the wider applications of PRA (25) as well as some of the dangers (26).
PRA is set in the context of other participatory approaches to development, such as PAR. A table is used to present the varying ways of using "participation" showing to what extent local people are involved. This paper looks at PRA 'in terms of the potential it offers for colearning within a process oriented toward a goal of collective action'. Drawing on personal experiences, the process of using visualisations within PRA is analyzed in detail. Compared with conventional research methods such as interviewing, 'constructing a visual representation is in itself an analytic act'. The 'focus of activity shifts from the researcher to the representation' and the visualised product acts as a focus for discussions, a shared reference point. Difference can be explored by using visuals to extend focus group work, such as to discuss gender differences in separate groups of men and women. Visualisations can thus provide a way of discussing sensitive issues or points of conflict by moving the conversation to an object rather than to the individuals concerned. Drama, as a more dynamic visual form, offers creative potential to explore issues rather than the usual didactic theatre used in health education. PRA leads to a wider understanding of 'health' as being the result of issues such as inequality and poverty. Health workers can use the visual methods to 'bridge the gap between medical messages and local knowledge' and to change their role so they are learning from people's experiences.
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 report examines poverty in relation to community forestry and dairy development. The initial section discusses the background to the study and the methods used. The emphasis is on PRA, with checklists developed and lists of tools identified. The four different communities are described, and although the subsequent analysis is sectoral, the differences between the four communities are highlighted. There are numerous case studies interspersed in the text. Forestry and Dairy are two areas where there have been many active interventions in the past, and the aim of the study was to give people a voice in what they felt about these interventions. These subjects are therefore dealt with in great detail, including an analysis of recent changes related to the projects. Issues around education, democracy and gender are also explored in depth. The final section outlines proposed new indicators of poverty which the researchers feel to be more appropriate, and recommendations for the future measurement of poverty alleviating interventions.
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).