There is an important role for qualitative, low cost and quick techniques in the field of malnutrition. RRA appears to promise this. Five constant principles of RRA are given, while recognising that every RRA is different, namely triangulation, optimal ignorance, appropriate imprecision, rapid and progressive learning, and learning from local people. Data collection is discussed, including secondary sources and primary work in the field, particularly semi-structured interviews, group discussions,semi-structured interviews, group discussions, observations, key informants, community respondants is important. It is felt that there is not yet adequate recognition of the potential of RRA, with a lack of training in, and instutionalisation of, the methods being highlighted.
This report was presented during the UNU/WHO/UNICEF International Conference on Rapid Assessment Methodologies for Planning and Evaluation of Health Related Programmes. It is asserted that development institutions should integrate rapid assessment methodologies into the the normal diagnostic, monitoring, and evaluation activities of implementing agencies. This article highlights four types of constraint likely to impede the process of institutionalisation: 1) the constraints of mistrust as efforts are made to encourage a flow of information between hierchical layers of an organisation. 2) the constraints faced by the effort to faclitate participatory development 3) planning and implementation mechanisms 4) personnel supervision and reward systems. Particular reference is made to World Bank experience.
This volume aims to explore the role of participatory eveluation, with a focus on water and sanitation programmes. It draws on 15 years of experience in participatory development and tries to move beyond participatory planning to participatory monitoring and evaluation. Saustainability is discussed, in terms of equipment, human resources and institutional capacity. The concept of participatory evaluation is considered, and the potential for the use of participatory methods outlined, along with its characteristics, strenghts and pitfalls. Indicators, methods of monitoring and replicability should be considered for each project, including the 'what' exactly should be measured, and by 'whom'. Detailed examples in the water and sanitation context are given. It is important to be able to assess change over time, and participatory methods offer a way forward.
Using Field Visits to Improve Family Planning, Health and Nutrition Program Quality, A Supervisor's Manual
This manual is primarily aimed at helping aid staff supervise in a way which deepens insight into local situations, is supportive of health workers, and is focused on improving the quality of service to the poor. The checklists of questions are intended to be adapted rather than definitively applied. This manual gives practical advice on avoiding the pomp and ceremony of visits which often distracts from appreciating the health situation at community level. RRA techniques are recommended in order to gain a real understanding of health needs. Suggestions are made as to how to talk with health/nutrition workers to get an idea of their integration into the community, their understanding of health in a wider context, recent training, ability to question the health messages that they deliver and the extent of supervisory support. The author then recommends that an attempt is made to decide which problems relate to an individual and which are systemic problems that need to be addressed at the centre or state level. An Annex is included of a sample field visit report.
This report discusses appropriate mechanisms for community involvement in different social, economic, and political contexts and identifies the corresponding requirements for training health personnel and strengthening communities. Participatory methods are suggested for training health workers. It is suggested that monitoring and evaluation involves a mixture of quantitative and qualitative techniques.
The United Mission to Nepal (UMN) Animal Health Improvement Project (AHIP) has been training Village Animal Health Workers (VAHW) in Pokhara, Nepal for the last decade. During this time approximately 350 VAHWs have been trained. This article outlines some of the techniques that were used to evaluate the subsequent progress of the trainees. General village-level information was gathered using various participatory methods, including mapping, wealth ranking, production information, labour diagrams, proportional piling and annual disease calendars, transect walks and progeny histories. Semi-structured interviews were also carried out individually with male and female farmers and VAHWs to find out how the VAHWs assessed their own work and how the farmers viewed the service they received.
Participatory Rural Appraisal : utilization survey report: part 1. rural development area, Sindhupalchowk
Describes the main process, and explores the problems encountered, during the ACTIONAID-Nepal utilization survey in the Rural Development Area of Sindhupalchowk, in September 1991. Objectives of the survey were: to assess how far the ideas and assets which the community has developed with Action Aid Nepal are being utilised, and the community's perception of the impact of these; to involve the community and thus increase their understanding; to increase AAN's understanding of the conditions of the poorest. The week of survey work was carried out by teams which comprised of the Community Development Committee (CDC) members, other local people and staff facilitators - staff, but not community members, were trained in PRA. Selective tools and techniques of PRA methods were used to gather all the information; the village map (of which examples are given in the appendix) was the most extensively used, semi-structured interviews were employed to collect information on household's participation in activities, and time trend and preference ranking methods were also drawn upon. Problems encountered in the survey were that indicators had not been agreed through a participatory process, the three-day training in PRA techniques was found to be insufficient, and structured questions left gaps and revealed bias. The bulk of the report is devoted to the survey findings
Section seven of this workshop report focuses specifically on M&E and Project Benefit M&E (PBME). The introduction to this section lists some of the shortcomings, or 'weaknesses', of a "conventional" M&E program and then highlights some of the main 'potential contributions' from RRA methodologies for M&E activities. These include; increasing the cost effectiveness of data collection in areas such as cropping calendars, labour profiles, and crop and input prices; helping in determining cropping parameters and; improving the effectiveness monitoring through the use of diagnostic surveys. In the second section, Mick Howes explores the uses of RRA methodologies to evaluate NGO projects. Using the example of the preliminary study of an irrigation tank renovation project in Sri Lanka, the author provides a useful account of an evaluation approach which employs some RRA methods in determining 'the context', 'the impact, 'project the system' of the NGO's intervention. Methods included mapping techniques, group interviews and household case studies. In the concluding discussion, the author suggests points in which RRA methods may be further employed to improve both the case study evaluation and other participatory forms of evaluation of NGO projects.
Integrating formal sample surveys and Rapid Rural Appraisal techniques: summary based on Rapid Rural Appraisal techniques and the monitoring and evaluation of IFAD projects in Sudan
This summary is based on a report written for the Monitoring and Evaluation Division of the IFAD, with the general objective of examining the use of RRA methods for M&E. That report proposes a taxonomy of survey/RRA techniques and methods, which can be regarded as "a menu", thereby allowing choices to fit the precise needs of the user of information and institutional context. As such, the author argues, RRAs and formal surveys can be mixed to great effect. The criteria for such a taxonomy is outlined in this paper, as is a summary table of the main RRA techniques. The lessons from case study RRAs discussed in the original report are mostly positive, confirming "the value of weaving an RRA in to existing data" and showing how a low cost M&E system could be built on this. This is a useful and stimulating report with some clear summary diagrams and an extensive bibliography.
RAP: Rapid Assessement Procedures: qualitative methodologies for planning and evaluation of health related programmes
The International Conference on Rapid Assessment Methodologies for Planning and Evaluating Health Related Programmes, was organised by the United Nations University, at the Pan American Health Organisation headquarters in 1990, to "explore anthropologically based methodologies for the design, evaluation, and improvement of programmes of nutrition and primary health care". The 42 chapters on Rapid Assessment Procedures [RAP], Rapid Rural Appraisal [RRA], and related approaches deal with a range of research tools. The book is divided in to seven sections: 1. The expanding role of Qualitative research in International Development; 2. Development and applications of RAP procedures in Africa, Asia and the Americas; 3. Community Participation and RRA; 4. Institutionalization of RAP; 5. Training for RAP and other qualitative methods; 6. Bringing RAP to the decision-making realm: effective communication and use; 7. Conference summary, comments, speakers and participants. The overall focus is on planning and evaluation of nutrition and health related intervention programs, but much that is discussed will have a direct bearing on other social development sectors. The stated aim of the volume, of contributing "toward increasing the understanding of RAP and RRA, both as tools of investigation and potentially as integrated components of the community development process itself", highlights this point.
This report describes the results of a training workshop on Participatory Environmental Assessement held in Cambodia. The initial training in Environmental Impact Assessment and PRA is briefly described, with some attention given to the concepts behind them. The results of an appraisal and planning process by two groups in separate villages are described in detail. Throughout, the report nicely illustrates the work done with diagrams, maps, etc. An extensive evaluation of the process by all involved, while specific to this workshop, provides interesting ideas for training in general.
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.
This report summarizes the result of the 2nd Internal evaluation of the ongoing 4th phase implementation of the 'Rural Family and Welfare Project'. The evaluation objective was not only to assess the current progress of the project and the willingness of the actors at the village level to sustain the program but also to 'test relatively new methodological approaches, mainly PRA, in order to further strengthen grassroot participation'. In doing so the report devotes a great deal of attention to exploring the ideology and rational behind the 'PRA approach' to M&E and provides an extremely useful summary of the key issues involved (in Chapters 1 and 2). There were six main methods applied in this evaluation: 'Rapport building with participants', 'Transect walks', 'Matrix scoring and ranking', 'Trend and situation analysis', 'Dramatized case study/role play' and 'Balloon opinion analysis'. Each of these methods are well introduced in the first two introductory chapters, while the results generated from their application are provided in the remainder of the report. An extensive bibliography is also provided in Chapter 7. This report presents a powerful, and well argued, case for the use of both PRA methods and a 'PRA orientation' in M&E activities (as the reported highly positive impact of these evaluation activities illustrates) while, in addition, it provides a well structured basic reference source for those interested in implementing such activities.
This brief paper is a write up of the experiences of an evaluation team using PRA tools in an impact evaluation of a community based programme providing drinking water (a MYRADA project in Mysore District, Karnataka State, India). The impact evaluation took place over only two days, but, as the paper highlights, some very pertinent lessons resulted from the experience. Six main tools from the 'PRA bag' were used in the evaluation: 'water system map', 'focus group discussions', 'time allocation drawing', 'seasonality of disease', 'individual interviews' and 'observation walk'. On the basis of these methods (and patient facilitation work by the PRA team), it was revealed that the any first impressions of a 'perfect' drinking water system were, in fact, unfounded. Serious (but rectifiable) flaws in the project - in terms of efficiency and equity of access - were exposed and, as a result, the local community became involved in identifying some remedial actions. This extremely useful, and clearly written, paper concludes with a frank discussion of some of the problems with the use of PRA tools, which according to the author, primarily stem from a poor understanding of group dynamics and good facilitation techniques.
Staff of the Nepal Health Development Project have designed a method of examining the relationship between the project's human resource development initiatives and the concrete outputs and outcomes that result. The method ('Process Evaluation') is a participatory method which focuses on the capacity building experience itself. PE allows the researchers to analyse the strengths and weaknesses inherent in a project/activity's design, and to analyse the external constraints and enablers that influence progress towards goals. To the extent that project beneficiaries and implementors design and carry out PE, the methodology is itself a tool for capacity building. The methodology has 4 characteristics: (i) use of a conceptual model around which to examine capacity building; (ii) reliance on participatory strategies; (iii) use of participatory appraisal techniques; (iv) a qualitative approach to indicator development and investigation. PE is described and explained in 4 sections, one devoted to each of the above characteristics. It is recognised that where there is participation, there is potential for conflict. The conceptual model provides a common reference point, and can be used to enhance participation in a diverse group. The evaluation exercise was used to help 'bridge the gap' between a number of distinct components of the organisation's work. The model was applied to each of these components and the results for each are presented. The final section presents lessons regarding the methodology learned through the evaluation process.