Evaluation report of the Poorest Household Focus Programme (PHFP) which includes a critical assessment of the use of a participatory approach by the project. Discussion groups with various stakeholders were the main means of evaluation utilised in the study.
In recent years there has been a major shift in attitudes to community involvement in health care. Approaches that saw communities primarily as passive recipients of health care have given way to those which seek to make more of the potential that more active community participation might offer for enhanced accountability and improved responsiveness of services. With this shift has come a greater emphasis on issues of governance and on institutional dimensions of participation, whilst the introduction of partnership models in the health sector has further increased debates about participation in health care. In 1999 the IDS Participation and Health and Social Change groups convened a workshop to share experiences of the use of participatory approaches in enhancing accountability in the health sector and to explore some of these challenges. The fifteen articles in this Bulletin reflect some of the richness of experience on the ground in building effective participation as well as some of the many issues that arise in moving towards more active citizen engagement with service provision. They draw experience from current work in countries such as Zimbabwe, Cambodia, China, Nepal, Zambia and Pakistan to reflect on links between participation, accountability and improvements in health.
An evolutionary approach to facilitating organisational learning : an experiment by the Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh (CDDB).
In 1994 an experiment on participatory monitoring was carried out with CCDBÆs PPRDP programme. CCDB is a medium sized Bangladeshi NGO that provides development assistance primarily geared towards women. The purpose of the experiment was to explore more innovative approaches to project monitoring away from more conventional approaches that emphasise the use of indicators. The experiment hoped to establish a more æiteratedÆ process or evolutionary approach to project evaluation. The approach sought to highlight differing perspectives and interpretation of project developments in order to learn from their experiences. Monitoring was undertaken by members of the CCDB programme, field level project staff, senior staff at the head office, and CCDB donors. Each of these groups were asked to identify and select on a monthly basis the most æsignificantÆ impacts or changes experienced under the programme and explain the basis of their selections; however, the structure of participation followed a hierarchical process of selection whereby the choices of participants were forwarded to higher levels of staff and finally to CCDB donors. In effect, the number of identified impacts eventually narrowed at each level of the organisational hierarchy. The first section of the paper outlines the methodology following a series of steps and then describes the state of the experimental monitoring system as of March 1995. It is then contrasted with other conventional approaches to monitoring. While the experimental monitoring system continues to be operational and CCDB staff have identified a wider range of objectives for the monitoring system, several weaknesses of the system are identified. Most significant among these is the tendency at all levels of staff to focus primarily on describing the æsignificantÆ project impacts, with less emphasis on elaborating their criteria for selecting those impacts. Also, project staff tended to report and select mostly positive impacts of the programmes, suggesting that the system biased against more critical reporting of events.
Divided into 4 regional and one worldwide section, this bibliography includes a wealth of material on all aspects of PRA. The first section, on Nepal, includes a number of titles in Nepali and includes publications by local organisations and Nepalese branches of international ones, as well as work within Nepal carried out by other agencies and individuals. For Nepal, there is a focus on forestry issues. In all sections, the subject matter covered ranges from forestry, agriculture, methodology, health, training, gender, women, evaluation, etc. The titles within each regional section are not ordered, but each item is described systematically. Articles are defined as thoeretical or practical, by region, by subject matter, classification, tools, a summary and key words.
"Voices of the Poor" is a series of three books that collates the experiences, views and aspirations of over 60,000 poor women and men. This first book of the series gathers the voices of over 40,000 poor women and men in 50 countries from the World Bank's participatory poverty assessments. Using participatory and qualitative research methods, the study presents very directly, through poor people's own voices, the realities of their lives; these voices send powerful messages that point the way toward policy change. The book explores the common patterns that emerged from poor people's experiences in many different places. It starts by presenting the conceptual framework, elaborating on participatory poverty assessments and the study's methodology, including its limitations. It then articulates definitions of poverty from the perspective of the poor, stressing its multi-dimensionality. State institutions and civil society institutions are assessed critically, with their impact on reaching the poor deemed ineffective and limited respectively, forcing the poor to depend primarily on informal networks. Gender relations in the household are then analysed, as is how these affect and are affected by larger institutions of society. The issue of social fragmentation is also explored, including a discussion of social cohesion and social exclusion. The book concludes by proposing the way forward, while elaborating the elements of a strategy for change.
How can ordinary citizens - and the organizations and movements with which they engage - make changes in national policies which affect their lives, and the lives of others around them? Under what conditions does citizen action contribute to more responsive states, pro-poor policies and greater social justice? What is needed to overcome setbacks, and to consolidate smaller victories into 'successful' change? These are the questions taken up by this book which brings together eight studies of successful cases of citizen activism in South Africa, Morocco, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Turkey, India and the Philippines.
'Voices of the Poor' is a series of three books that collates the experiences, views and aspirations of over 60,000 poor women and men. This second book of the series draws material from a 23-country comparative study, which used open-ended participatory methods, bringing together the voices and realities of 20,000 poor women, men, youth and children. Despite very different political, social and economic contexts, there are striking similarities in poor people's experiences. The common underlying theme is one of powerlessness, which consists of multiple and interlocking dimensions of illbeing or poverty. The book starts by describing the origins of the study, the methodology and some of the challenges faced. This is followed by an exploration of the multidimensional nature of wellbeing and illbeing. Most of the book comprises the core findings - the 10 dimensions of powerlessness and illbeing that emerge from the study - and is organised around these themes. These include livelihoods and assets; the places where poor people live and work; the body and related to this, accessing health services; gender roles and gender relations within the household; social exclusion; insecurity and related fears and anxieties; the behaviour and character of institutions; and poor people's ratings of the most important institutions in their lives. These dimensions are brought together into a many-stranded web of powerlessness, which is compounded by the lack of capability, including lack of information, education, skills and confidence. The final chapter is a call to action and dwells on the challenge of change.
This article is a case study of the author's participatory research with the Annette Lomond garment workers' co-operative in the North East of England. It discusses the relationship between the researcher and the participants, power imbalances, accountability, empowerment, effects of the research project, and presentation of findings. She concludes that the aim of uniting research with action and education is not always possible within one project. This alters the balance of the relationship and the nature of accountability.
This paper examines participatory evaluation in projects of the NGO PLAN International in Senegal. Through brief case studies it compares the viability of PRA evaluations in urban and rural contexts, and reflects upon the extent to which the methods can be used to reach the least advantaged groups in the communities. A number of criteria are used in assessing PRA as an evaluation tool: limited dependence ono external facilitators; replicability; community 'buy-in' to the process; adaptability to local time constraints; broad participation; reliability of data; turn-around time from data collection to use. The author concludes that PRA is problematic in urban settings if a 'community' is assumed in the same way as in rural areas. Some aspects for improvement (e.g. need to be more focused, and to prevent it from being appropriated by certain groups to the exclusion of others) are discussed.