Aspects of RRA are discussed which suggest how a divergence might occur between its social and scientific value. As a positive exercise, it often serves only a legitimating function for policies already confirmed by its sponsors; the prior existence of relevant organized knowledge and the extent of formal method are also determinants of the status of the appraisal. The use and shortcomings of indicators are discussed with reference to the example of social relations within an unsupervised credit strategy. A case study of a rapid appraisal in one village in Comilla District in Bangladesh is described.
The Highlander Center, a non-profit adult education centre in Tennessee, is working in three rural communities where unemployment has been growing. Their role is "not to create jobs or development, but to help the community undertake a process of education and participatory research through which they could assess their own situation, define and implement strategies for themselves". This article describes briefly the methods used, such as oral histories, community mapping and drawings, videos and community theatre.
This is a midterm participatory evaluation report of a watershed programme in Tiruchirappalli, South India. The project used PRA techniques (integrated with other methods) in the planning and impact evaluation stages. The report includes a detailed background to the programme and quantitative findings. No detail is given on how the PRA activities were carried out as the emphasis is on the information collected, including case-studies on the impact on women's status.
The Changing Roles of NGOs in the Field of Education (in the context of changing relationships with the state)
Case-studies of basic education programmes in El Salvador, Bangladesh, India and Uganda illustrate how NGOs can operate in relation to Government. ActionAid, a British NGO, is now piloting the use of PRA and visual "symbol cards" within literacy programmes. The Bundibugyo project in Uganda is described in detail to show how a literacy curriculum can be developed through PRA techniques, introducing key words through activities such as construction of a health calendar. NGOs can thus have a role in the field of education if they produce "well-documented and systematised action-research", rather than the "uncomfortable role of service delivery".
This manual has been developed for facilitators working on ActionAid's pilot literacy programme on Bhola Island, Bangladesh. PRA activities are used to stimulate discussion and introduce opportunities for using literacy and numeracy skills. A socio-mathematical survey was conducted in the area to determine the kinds of mathematics that should be covered. Many activities are around ActionAid's savings and credit programme. The twenty-nine units use PRA methods such as social mapping, resource mapping, work calendars, well-being ranking, health matrices and chapati diagrams, to introduce the key words or numeracy point. Each unit covers questions for discussion, how to teach the key word and how to carry out the PRA activity. The appendices include illustrated examples of PRA activities, details of the facilitators' training programme, indicators for monitoring progress and ideas for post literacy.
This manual has been developed for facilitators working on ActionAid's pilot literacy programme in Bundibugyo, Uganda. Following on from the Freirian model of literacy teaching, the programme has introduced PRA techniques to strengthen the discussion stage. Rather than having a literacy primer, the course is based on thirty units each of which uses a specific PRA technique (eg Hungry Season Calendar) together with visual "symbol cards" to generate discussion. Each unit includes an information section (eg how to build a maize store) and details on how to teach the key word. Practical teaching tips, such as timing and what to do about drop-outs, are covered as well as the theoretical questions, what is literacy? and why teach literacy? The appendices include illustrated examples of PRA activities and "symbol cards", ideas for post literacy, indicators for monitoring progress and criteria for recruiting facilitators.
Effective health planning requires good quality data, but many health facilities lack the ability to provide this. Health questions often have to be answered within specific research studies. Microcomputers are now generally recommended and used by researchers for data analysis at the end of projects. The article reviews the use of microcomputer based management of data collection during a study. A selection of pojects are described, all of which have used microcomputers in a decentralised fachio, closer to the point of data collection. The main advantages of this approach are a significant reduction in error rates, and the ability to produce data quickly.
VIPP: Visualisation in participatory programmes : a manual for facilitators and trainers involved in participatory group events.
This manual is intended as an introduction to VIPP (Visualisation in Participatory Planning), a system whereby groups plan together using colour coded cards to brainstorm and prioritise options. VIPP is described as more democratic than ZOPP but, unlike PRA, is intended for use by literate planners rather than villagers themselves. Some of the VIPP techniques are similar to PRA, such as 'single or multi-dot questions' as a form of ranking. Drawing is used as a technique to discuss what development means. The manual includes detailed instructions on 'icebreakers' as well as information on equipment and training methods used within VIPP.
This article cautions against placing too much faith in pictures used in PRA. Since attributed meanings are informed by prior experience, it is not straightforward that illiterate people read pictures in the same way. Interpretations of pictures representing home grain storage with farmers, their wives and children were tested, and compared with drawings done by farmers. examples of 'misunderstandings' and differing interpretations are given. The paper concludes that pictures should be field tested, or better still, drawn by participants.
This paper addresses some of the key issues arising from Helvetas' experience of Participatory Curriculum Development (PCD). These include:|Costs of PCD|Benefits of PCD| Constraints to PCD|Factors which facilitate the PCD process|It may be best viewed with reference to paper 4302 and 4303 by the same author which looks at the issues of PCD in Vietnam.
Participating in curriculum development: some experiences from 5 years of SFSP [Social Forestry Support Programme]
This paper outlines the concept and experiences of Participatory Curriculum Development. It offers an introduction to the subject using case examples from the Social Forestry Support Programme (SFSP) in Vietnam and explains what is meant by participatory curriculum development. It addresses the following points:
À Bringing about change in forestry education through curriculum development
À The PCD process in SFSP
À Encouraging a collaborative approach
À Improving the delivery of the curriculum through teaching and learning methods
À Developing learning materials
À Monitoring and evaluation for PCD
À Lessons learned from using PCD
'When you are ill you always hope': an exploration of the role of traditional healers in HIV/AIDS care and prevention in Cambodia
This study aims to provide some insight into the work of traditional healers in Cambodia, focussing on HIV/AIDS/STIs and related conditions in the context of their wider role. The study was conducted over two months in Phnom Penh and Battambang. It provides an overview of who traditional healers are, the services they provide, how traditional healers and others perceive their role in HIV/AIDS prevention and care, and existing links and associations between traditional healers and others. The main findings of the study are as follows:
" Traditional healers are a very diverse group without a single identity.
" They were reported to treat almost all illnesses, with some healers specialising in treating people with HIV.
" AIDS, STIs and TB are treated with traditional medicine, with magic and ritual sometimes a component of this.
" Clients of the healers are perceived to be poor or of medium needs.
" Many people with HIV who are using traditional medicine reported substantial improvements in their health, though the side-effects and unknown toxicities are of serious concern of health workers.
" Many biomedical practitioners and health workers stated that they do not believe that traditional medicine is effective.
Sharing our limited experience for trainers: participatory rural appraisal or participatory learning methods
MYRADA, an NGO working in Karnataka, India, has been using PRA/PALM (Participatory Learning Methods) since 1988. This article reflects on their learning experiences, concentrating on the organisation and approach needed when carrying out PRA activities in a village. PRA/PALM should be "more than a training for outsiders" - the purpose of the exercise should be clear to all. PRA activities tend to "focus upon issues that can yield hard data rather than touch upon relationships". Other reflections include: the composition of the groups of PRA facilitators and of villagers, how to enter the village and "fit in", materials required, duration and timing of training.
Ohio University has been offering in-class training sessions on RRA. This account briefly describes an attempt to carry out RRA training in the "field", with poor rural communities in the U.S. The organisation and topics covered are described, but no details of RRA methods or findings given.