In recent years the "development" industry has began to incorporate into its vocabulary notions about the "empowerment of the poor," "participatory democracy," "gender in development" etc. as part of a strategy for poverty alleviation in the developing world. This paper critically examines the notion of participation as the basis of empowerment in the context of a joint CanadianûGhanaian financed rural development project in the Northern Region of Ghana, NORRIP (Northern Region Rural Integrated Programme), including aspects of the IVWP (integrated Village Water Project. The paper argues that because of the inherent goodness of the notion of participation, it has become a substitute for the structural reforms needed for social change. The paper raises questions not just about the terms and mode of participation but further points out that reference to the term "village" or "community" as the basis of participation is simplistic and problematic. The paper also questions the feasibility of the institutional and administrative structures within which such concepts may be realized and makes the case that a focus on local participation and empowerment can provide the state with a legitimate opportunity for shirking its responsibilities by dumping them on local areas, even though those areas lack the resources needed.
This document includes, details of the process used to review ActionAids programme in Somaliland and provides both a summary and details of the findings. The review was carried out by a group of both men and women composed of community based organisation members, village elders, staff from government institutions and other professionals. Mapping, interviews and small group discussions were used to elicit data on availability, relevance, accessibility, utilisation, coverage, quality, effort, efficiency and impact indicators.
An account of the process of a participatory evaluation carried out in Tabora, central Tanzania, for WaterAid, a UK based NGO. Information is offered on the preparations for the three day workshop which developed the methodology for the evaluation, the fieldwork carried out in four sites and the lessons learnt from the exercise.
This PLA series article describes the use of the original terms of reference in the evaluation of the Small Dam Rehabilitation Project in Zimbabwe. It discusses how this procedure provided the basis for a flexible and participatory approach to evaluation.
This document describes and reflects on the process and methods used to conduct an evaluation carried out between phases of the Red Sea Hills Development Programme to assess the performance of a new project team and the impact of the introduction of a participatory approach. The evaluation was carried out in two settlements in the coastal area and two in the hilly area.
This case study reports on a investigation into the effects of thee National Development Foundation's (NDF) small tank renovation activities in Kurunegala on poverty levels, gender relations and grass roots institutional development. The study was carried out in three villages: a low caste village and a mixed caste village where a participatory approach was facilitated by the Intercooperation Self-Help Support Programme and a high caste community where a more conventional approach was used.
Data was collected using information available from project files and the knowledge and recollections of field staff before conducting a series of exercises using PRA techniques.
Drawing on case studies from six countries, this report examines recent innovative applications of PRA in research, development and impact analysis of irrigation and water resource management programmes. The case studies are taken from different socio-technical contexts and range from the use of PRA to examine water user's perspectives of irrigation performance to watershed management planning. Lessons learnt from the examples are outlined and finally challenges and opportunities for the use of participatory methods in water resource management are summarised. Issues considered include, confusion over definitions and objectives, the degree of importance placed on methods, confusion over the role of professionals, the influence of politics and power, measuring of impacts, complementarity between conventional research methods and PRAand finally the challenge of institutionalising participatory approaches in government bureaucracies.
The Community Water Source Development Project in South Wollo is designed to encourage the participation of rural communities in the design, construction, management and maintenance of their own water supplies and aims to benefit women and children in particular. This document reports on a participatory evaluation of the project carried out using PRA techniques.