The main focus of this report is to understand how positive change can happen from the perspectives of people living in greatest poverty and marginalisation and what can be done to promote this change. It is based on findings from participatory research, conducted by the Participate Participatory Research Group (PRG), that was undertaken by grassroots organisations, activists and citizens in 29 countries across the world. The views, stories, and experiences of the participants were collected and shared through diverse mediums including participatory film-making, digital storytelling, public forums, public theatre and art.
The report highlights how the poorest and most marginalised communities' experience of poverty is multidimensional, often characterised by low incomes, insecure livelihoods, limited or no assets, harsh living environments, violence and environmental degradation. These factors combine with multiple and interconnected inequalities, and close down the opportunities that people have to change their situation themselves. Most of all this research showed the depth of insight and intelligence of people who face extremely difficult circumstances and is a call to pay attention to what this ability offers to those who seek to promote development.
The report's authors argue that development should focus on the very poorest and work with them to make the decisions that matter most in their lives. The research shows that development interventions are targeted at those who are easiest to reach. They are often based on strong assumptions about the experiences of the poorest, rather than a real understanding of how they experience poverty and inequality. The results of this research will contribute ongoing international discussions about a new set of poverty reduction and environmental sustainability targets to replace the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015.
Participatory policy analysis questions conventional policy-making procedures, challenges the behaviour and attitudes of policy makers and influences the style and substance of policy itself. This book examines the implications and issues of participatory policy-focused research through case studies and discussions. One section concentrates specifically on participatory poverty assessments as a means of bringing local poverty and policy analysis into the policy process.
This book describes a grassroots approach to empowering people for democratic social change. It explains participatory research using exemplarly case studies on community organizing, femist theory and ecological movements from a range of locations in North America. It challenges the relevance and validity of academic social science research.
A review of recent developments in health interview procedures within decentralised health planning emphasising the importance of beneficiaries' perceptions of their health problems in the success or failure of primary health care. The methodology used is that of 'indirect' health interviews channelled through existing administrative systems and self-administered by recipients. The article describes ongoing research designed to test this approach in seven African countries and discusses methodological problems and limitations.
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.
Urban Community Action Planning for teenagers (UCAPT), an urban Northern adaptation of participatory rural appraisal (PRA) and participatory action research (PAR), provides primarily low-income teenagers with neighbourhood problem-solving and planning skills in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA. UPCAT integrates indoor and field-based exercises, where young people learn community-based development and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) techniques. This article describes the context of neighbourhood conditions and how UCAPT works. It then draws on two case studies that highlight the roles of teenagers in action. The article concludes by reflecting on some of the challenges that working with teenagers poses.
This is a selection of letters and memos from FAO offices sent in reply to an IDS request for information on the use of PRA in policy research. Most replies indicate little such application of PRA. the last letter, however, concerns the use of PRA in a fisheries programme in Guinea. 45 fisheries department staff were trained in PRA. This resulted in a series of reports, prepared by national staff without requiring any further outside assistance, being one of the reasons why the reports seem to have had an impact on policy decisions at the ministry level.
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.
Accountability is a complex issue in South Africa. The country has high levels of inequality, and marginalised groups – as in many countries – struggle to make themselves heard by those in power. Yet the issue is further complicated by an interacting set of factors, including the legacy of apartheid, gender and religious issues, and the lack of access to those in power.
Through a six-year research project, the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation (SLF) used a range of technology-enabled participatory processes to unpack this lack of government accountability. This report focuses on four case studies, which examined the lived realities of marginalised groups and the activists that campaign on their behalf: activists against gender-based violence and for community safety; community care workers and health committee members working for public health; informal traders and the informal economy; and traditional medicine, Rastafarian bossie doktors and indigenous rights.
Using a multi-method research process, SLF supported these groups to work together and identify the accountability issues that they felt were important, and then consider how they could raise their voice collectively to those in power and those who shape and implement policy. As well as providing valuable findings, which SLF fed into the policy dialogue, this process also strengthened the capacity of these groups to speak out – not least through the use of different participatory technologies including digital storytelling, filmmaking, PhotoVoice, geospatial mapping and infographics.
This report reflects on the different tools used, considering not just the effectiveness of the outputs generated but also how these tools can empower citizens and bring marginalised groups together. Lastly, the report reflects on SLF’s role as an intermediary organisation, and how this role can influence the path that marginalised groups take in their efforts to make government more responsive to their needs.
This paper describes a 15-year battle by a poor rural community to stop industrial pollution of their water supply, and reveals the multiple strategies used by the people of Yellow Creek to hold powerful government and corporate interests accountable. Key elements of success included the uses of participatory research (including scientific research), freedom of information provisions, and the legal system, as well as strategic alliances and genuine partnerships with supportive and respectful NGOs.
This second edition of the The SAGE Handbook of Action Research has been updated to bring chapters in line with the latest qualitative and quantitative approaches in this field of social inquiry. Peter Reason and Hilary Bradbury have introduced new commentaries that draw links between different contributions and show their interrelations. Contributing authors engage with the pragmatics of doing action research and demonstrate how this can be a rich and rewarding reflective practice. They tackle questions of how to integrate knowledge with action, how to collaborate with co-researchers in the field, and how to present the necessarily 'messy' components in a coherent fashion. The organization of the volume reflects the many different issues and levels of analysis represented.
This booklet systematises 12 years of the work of ORCA (the Riparian Organisation Against Contamination of Lake Patzcuaro), a regional organisation of 23 mainly Indian peasant communities living in Patzcuaro Basin, Mexico, since 1982. It reveals how a well organised and highly motivated regional popular organisation, in collaboration with committed social and natural science researchers, can mobilise local populations to influence local government environmental policies and acquire greater control over the sustainable management of fragile ecosystems such as Lake Patzcuaro.