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.
Participatory impact assessment : a report on a DFID funded ActionAid research project on methods and indicators for measuring the impact of poverty reduction.
Review of the background, methodology and key findings of an applied three year research project designed to find more reliable participatory impact approaches and locally relevant indicators of change. Different methods for the assessment of impact were tried out with a wide range of communities and local organisations that ActionAid had previous direct contact with. Major findings of the research include the need for field workers to be more selective in their use of participatory techniques, the importance of tracking long term changes in peoples' key indicators and the need for NGO's to support an 'impact assessment culture' in all that they do and the systems that they follow.
A need exists for food security indicators, for use in targeting food security programs, to be both simple to derive and use. This document reports on research to develop such alternative indicators which combined both quantitative and qualitative approaches for identifying indicators of poverty, food insecurity and undernutrition. Participatory rural appraisal techniques and ethnographic case studies were used to identify locally determined indicators of food insecurity.
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.