This reports on the activities of an Integrated Pest Management scheme and particularly its Extension and Women Project in the Philippines. The project highlights the role of women farmers and assists them in performing their role with appropriate technology, if one exists, and if not, develops one with their participation. The programme comprises a multi-disciplinary group of researchers consisting entirely of women. The participatory research approach is concluded to lessen the lead time for introducing the technology to its subsequent learning and adoption. It makes the client feel involved in the process and also gives her the option to decide whether it will benefit her or not. The paper accepts the inherent limitations of the approach and the need for fine-tuning the methodology proposed.
The Nhlangwini Integrated Rural Development Project aims to empower local people, in order that they may improve their quality of life, by helping them develop strategies for addressing basic needs. The Nhlangwini Ward is situated in southern KwaZulu, South Africa. Three workshops were held over a period of three months during 1989. The first examined development problems in the area; the second specifically probed those problems associated with family planning; the third was a development planning workshop, employing visual techniques described in some detail by the paper. Participants were asked to draw local resources by imagining they could view the area from a helicopter. The process of adopting visual techniques has resulted in a change in emphasis - as a result of findings, the integrated development programme has switched approaches with regard to issues facing women, and in terms of its goal setting mechanisms.
Participatory Modelling in North Omo, Ethiopia: Investigating the Perceptions of Different Groups Through Models: Training Course Report
The paper deals with the subject of participatory modelling. It asks how such a process can portray a picture of a community that does not merely reflect the view of the dominant group. The paper reports on efforts to compensate for the effects of an often dominant group - men. While on a training course in northern Omo, Ethiopia, a group of women and children were asked to make their own model on the ground adjacent to the men. The issue of water availability, a subject not brought up the men, appeared to be key. As result, the paper concludes by highlighting the need for participation to encompass all groupings within a community.
In order to obtain detailed information about project participants's daily tasks, particularly in a gender context, 139 calenders were constructed for one specific day. The timeline focused on all the activities undertaken during that day, including agricultural work. Men did more agricultural work than women, although women worked harder overall. Of the 103 agricultural workers surveyed, the men spent more time with livestock, both were involved in nursery work, and men carried out slightly more work in the fields. The other projects studied were water and santitation, women's income generating projects and education. The gender difference in perception of agricultural tasks is noted, which relates closely to time spent talking, resting and in 'reproductive' chores.
PRA activities were conducted in Gujarat with a group of village women whilst men observed in the background. The women counted the number of families in each caste and the class-wise distribution of farmers, then used circles to construct a chart showing their debts. Finally, they estimated how many hours they spent on various activities each day, using twigs on a chart. This report is written as dialogue between the participants so shows clearly how activities were introduced and discussed.
This study represents some of the lessons learned over three years by the Indian NGO, The Activists for Social Alternatives (ASA). The origins and principles of PRA are outlined. Six case studies of PRA are given of which two are health-related. Herbal PRA: herbal practitioners identified 144 herbs and their uses, a historical time line of diseases and treatments was constructed (this is given in an appendix). Twenty most important herbs were identified which the herbalists promised to help raise in village herb gardens. Health PRA: this was conducted as a training exercise with 20 NGOs in Tamil Nadu. PRA exercises helped replace curative notions of health care with a focus on the socio-economic causes of ill health. The results of a wealth ranking and a health matrix are presented in the appendixes.
This brief article describes some of the problems the authors encountered conducting pile sorting and free listing with women in a slum area. It emerged that these women did not view their health problems in "lists" but rather as part of the socio-cultural context of their lives. The authors discover a more effective way of involving participants is to organise group meetings on specific topics.
This article consists of observations arising from the author's visits to several NGOs on the Indian sub-continent. Four main suggestions are made: conduct limited direct observations; use pile sorting techniques with key informants; experiment by modifying the pile sort technique; conduct key informant interviews on issues relating to the context of women's health.
Rather than challenging the universal validity of PRA, this discussion paper focuses on the practical task of "doing PRAs" in a new and alien context. The authors advocate the acknowledgement and acceptance of local cultural trends, power relations and structures of authority when undertaking participatory research. This will allow to work with, rather than around these factors. Hence, the proposed "Vietnamisation" of PRA so as to allow local voices to shape the values and techniques of PRA itself. But, just how Vietnamised can PRA become until it comes into conflict with international liberal PRA values? This broad discussion originated in a workshop organised in Hanoi on Community Research Methods in February and March 1996. The issues covered by the paper include: introducing PRA and PRA values in Vietnamese communities, gender, local leadership and dominance; and international donors and PRA. Methodological issues covered are: sampling, recording of research information, interviews, focus group discussions and mapping.
This paper outlines some of the factors affecting participation in environmental projects.
The paper argues that participation is in part hindered by the contemporary definition of environment, which has a "nature" and "dryland/ wildlife" bias and tends to neglect relationships between people and natural resources.
The way in which participation is also stifled by a failure of projects and programmes to take into account special aspects of local communities is also examined. Three aspects are considered in detail to illustrate this point : the importance of ownership, management and control of common property resources, the relationship between gender and the environment and the appropriateness of units such as, "village", "community" etc as organisational foci for environmental projects and programmes.
Lessons to be learned from Integrated Rural Development programmes with regards to integration and oganisation are outlined.
PRA is not "automatically gender sensitive" - there is a need to raise gender awareness first before PRA tools can be used to explore different perceptions and it is not enough simply to say that gender is important. A PRA and Gender training programme that took place in Brazil had three preparatory steps : defining gender, "formulating key questions in terms of gender-differentiated perspectives" and deciding which PRA methods would be most appropriate. During the fieldwork, problems were discussed in terms of gender - who and how issues had been raised. The article ends with a discussion of the benefits ("experiential learning of gender differences") and dangers (the trap of the "gender average") of linking PRA and gender.