Rapid changes are taking place in international development. The past two decades have promoted the ideals of participation and partnership, yet key decisions affecting people's lives continue to be made without sufficient attention to the socio-political realities of the countries in which they live. Embedded working traditions, vested interests and institutional inertia mean that old habits and cultures persist among the development community. On this premise, the authors of this book describe the need to recognise the complex, non-linear nature of development assistance and how bureaucratic procedures and power relations hinder poverty reduction in the new aid environment. The book begins with a conceptual and historical analysis of aid, exposing the challenges and opportunities facing aid professionals today. It argues for greater attention to accountability and the adoption of rights based approaches. In section two, practitioners, policymakers and researchers discuss the realities of power and relationships from their experiences across 16 countries. Their accounts, from government, donors and civil society, expose the highly politicised and dynamic aid environment in which they work. The book then explores ways forward for aid agencies, challenging existing political, institutional and personal ways of working. Breaking the barriers to ensure more inclusive aid will require visionary leadership and a courageous commitment to change. The authors show how translating rhetoric into practice relies on changing the attitudes and behaviours of individual actors. The book aims to present a contribution to the understanding of how development assistance and poverty reduction can be most effectively delivered by the professionals and agencies involved.
This paper introduces the work of the project introduces the work on the project Action Research on Community-Based Planning (CBP), providing both the background to the topic and findings after two years. How community involvement in planning and management can link to decentralised delivery systems has formed the basis of this DFID funded action research project covering Uganda, Zimbabwe, Ghana, and South Africa. The CBP project was developed as a response to two challenges: an analysis of the institutional issues in trying to implement a sustainable livelihoods approach; and a realisation of the limitations of efforts to promote decentralisation, where these concentrated on local government itself, and not also on how local government serves citizens. The paper begins by looking at the challenges of implementing a Sustainable Livelihoods Approach on micro (community) and macro (local government) levels. It goes on to describe the purpose and approach of the action research on community based planning project. An approach was adopted addressing all the focuses of CBP in a manner that is implementable and sustainable using the resources available to local governments and in local communities. The principles underlying this approach to CBP are described together with the main challenges of the approach. The core methodology of the approach involved the use of a variety of PRA (Participatory Rural Appraisal)/PLA (Participatory learning and Action) tools, combined in a three to five day strategic process. In the first year of piloting two million people were covered by the methodology. The paper concludes with a discussion of the challenges of upscaling CBP projects.
This book is a guide to a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods for research and practice. It examines the concept of participation and ethical considerations in fieldwork, and stresses methodological pluralism and dialogue in development planning. The main part of the book is devoted to participatory methods. It discusses techniques such as ranking and scoring, mapping and diagrams, and the use of indicators, focus groups and semi- structured interviews in poverty and gender analysis. Participatory monitoring and evaluation and sustainability analysis are also discussed.
This paper explores how outcome measurement is understood in several SDC local governance programmes, reviewed in a HELVETAS Learning Project. This critical review assesses the extent to which power issues are recognised, understood and tracked within such programmes and suggests ways to enhance this. This includes being clear about what power and empowerment mean in a particular context, how the way power is implicitly understood in local government programmes can lead to a focus only the more formal and visible dimensions of power, and how the complexity of power means that a more clearly articulated and power-aware theory of change underpinning the intervention is needed.
Reflections on the e-forum and Prajateerpu report by the UK Department for International Development, India
This article presents a response by DFID-India to the Prajateerpu report and the e-forum which discussed its findings, in which the organisation is implicated as having acted callously in displacing large numbers of poor farmers from their lands and imposed policies and programmes that would adversely affect their livelihoods. It begins by outlining DFID's approach to tackling rural poverty and agricultural development, highlighting that it does not wholly endorse a highly industrialised approach, and that it recognises that complexities and difficulties associated with rural poverty. It then presents DFID's programme strategy and approach, stating the value placed on participation and consultation, and gives examples of interventions in Andrah Pradesh which poor people directly benefited from.
This paper examines the challenges and proposes an approach for monitoring and evaluating participatory research (PR) for community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) projects. It outlines some of the key issues and constraints facing PR, and to provide guidance to researchers, programme and project managers interested in monitoring and evaluating PR projects. The focus is on using monitoring and evaluation (M&E) as a tool for adaptive learning and project improvement, for integrating social theory into participatory methods, and for understanding the links between participatory processes and outcomes. The paper also explores the importance of using participatory M&E methods for bringing in the perspectives of local people whose lives are being influenced by the research. The first part of the paper provides a background for understanding PR in CBNRM projects. The paper goes on to describe the rationale and present a framework for M&E PR within the context of supporting quality and relevant applied development research while at the same time strengthening institutional and individual research capacity. Key considerations are highlighted for developing an appropriate and learning-based approach to M&E of PR projects, and options for integrating M&E into the different stages of a project cycle are proposed. The paper concludes by presenting the issues and questions to be considered in M&E of the process and outcomes of PR for natural resource management. This is based on characteristics indicating validity and quality of the PR process and methods, as well as the potential of the methods used to contribute to reaching the general goals of CBNRM. The ideas are geared both for the programme level and the project level, to be used by researchers during the project to help inform the research project, and provide guidance for interim or post project assessments.