Recognising the role of active participation in transforming the lives of poor people, the 4th volume in the Training for Transformation series focusses on the environment; gender; racism; multi-cultural understanding; and building participatory governance.
It has been recognised that education is a powerful way of fighting poverty, and an empowering process, particularly with regards to the most marginalized groups of people such as poor women and girls. As a result, in Bangladesh, a literacy project is underway, with participants being poor women and girls. It is an ActionAid project, using the Reflect approach, which draws on the Freirean philosophy and facilitates a participatory learning process aiming to empower and promote social change.
This document is a review of the project so far. The first part describes the Reflect process and the perceived strengths of this approach to learning. The bulk of the document then consists of the review outcomes. The project is assessed on its impact on and benefits for participants, in terms of becoming literate, less marginalized and empowered to strive towards social change. It ends with a number of recommendations as to how the project can improve.
Amid the growing realisation that top-down, technocratic approaches to agricultural development largely fail, alternative approaches have begun to emerge, based on participatory methods, the use of local technologies and resources and the notion of 'farmers first'. In this context, a project began in the Chivi District in southern Zambia, which aimed to work, using alternative methods, with smallholder farmers to develop technological options in order to reduce poverty and improve livelihoods in marginal areas. The book describes the background of the farmers, and then details the community-based approach which involved needs-assessment surveys, institutional surveys, participatory planning, awareness-raising training, visits to view new technologies and local seed varieties. The ways in which the project sought to strengthen women's position in the local community is also described.