'Before we were sleeping, now we are awake': preliminary evaluation of the stepping stones sexual health programme in The Gambia
Community based behavioural interventions aimed at reducing risky sexual behaviour have yet to be shown to be effective in the developing world. Stepping Stones is a participatory STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection)/HIV prevention workshop programme based on empowerment techniques, which have been adapted to an infertility prevention framework in Gambia. This paper describes a preliminary evaluation in 2 villages where the intervention was carried out compared to 2 control villages. Methods used include: participatory evaluation; in-depth interviews; focus groups discussions; a knowledge, attitudes and practice questionnaire administered to a random sample of 25% of the adult population; and monitoring of condom supply. The structure of the evaluation is based on the themes derived from the qualitative data. The infertility prevention approach made it possible to overcome resistance to discussing the topics of sexual and reproductive health. An atmosphere of trust was created and men were persuaded to participate in the programme as they felt that their own needs were being addressed. Participants enjoyed the programme and found the content relevant. Knowledge of the modes of transmission of HIV and STIs and levels of risk awareness increased. The value of condoms in particular situations was recognised: for sex before marriage, within marriage (when the woman is breast-feeding) and with non-marital partners. Women reported that they would insist on condom use outside marriage and even ask their husbands to use condoms for non-marital sex. Condom monitoring data suggested that condom uptake had increased. It was reported that there was significant increase in dialogue within marriage with the consequence that there were fewer disagreements and incidents of domestic violence. Diffusion of the messages of Stepping Stones appeared to have taken place with non-participants including children.
A Brief Paper on the DSS and EDM's Joint Project in Relation to the Application of PRA: An Experience of Bangladesh.
This report concerns the Rural Family and Child Welfare Project (RFCWP) of the NGO Enfants du Monde (EDM) in Bangladesh. It is largely concerned with the introduction of participatory processes and institutional changes in the RCFWP. Formerly, conventional survey research methods were used with many shortcomings (cost, time, etc.), so new methods were introduced. Focus group discussions were conducted. ZOPP was used, but found to be overly sophisticated and did not address participation. PRA was later included in field training of beneficiaries, village institutions and project staff, as well as for monitoring and evaluation. PRA methods were used for an internal self-evaluation. Questions of attitude and behavioural change were also brought up, and PRA came to be seen as part of the move towards participation in the whole project cycle. Reflections on the need for changes in the RFCWP are listed. There are also reflections on the limitations of PRA, including: tendency for it to be technique driven; staff determine relevant and accepted knowledge; individual interests may distort data collection; summarizing by outsiders may lead to misrepresentation and so on.
A Field Methodology for Participatory Self- Evaluation of P.P.P. Group and Inter-Group Association Performance.
The introductory section of this brief paper discusses the importance of developing an evaluation methodology that is practical and flexible enough to be carried out by the community in the Peoples Participation Programme of the FAO. Uphoff reiterates that in fact the answers arrived at by the evaluation are in themselves not as important as what is learnt from the process of reaching consensus on such answers. An illustration of what the methodology utilised actually constituted is described in the first section of the paper. In the second section, however, the potential benefits of the methodology are discussed and these are categorised as being; i) that the process is self educative ii) the process is self improving iii) the process allows members of the programme to monitor progress and iv) it has the potential to improve training. Each of these potential benefits are discussed in some detail. The third section of the paper outlines a process for introducing the system in a rural setting in a number of steps. The last section, however, concludes by discussing a variety of issues related to the process of participatory self evaluation including problems of objectivity, comparability of numbers and use of appropriate language. Attached to the end of the document is an extensive section that includes an inventory of questions for group self evaluation and a list of questions for self evaluation. (Shorter version published in Community Development Journal Vol 26 No 4 )
This article draws on literature from both monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and organisational learning to explore synergies between these two fields in support of organisational performance. Two insights from the organisational learning literature are that organisations learn through ‘double-loop’ learning: reflecting on experience and using this to question critically underlying assumptions; and that power relations within an organisation will influence what and whose learning is valued and shared. This article identifies four incentives that can help link M&E with organisational learning: the incentive to learn why; the incentive to learn from below; the incentive to learn collaboratively; and the incentive to take risks. Two key elements are required to support these incentives: (1) establishing and promoting an ‘evaluative culture’ within an organisation; and (2) having accountability relationships where value is placed on learning ‘why’, as well as on learning from mistakes, which requires trust.
A Participatory Systematization Workbook: Documenting, Evaluating and Learning from our Development Projects
This workbook describes 'systematization' as a method of instituting a continuous process of participatory reflection on a project's processes and results, undertaken by both project staff and participants. The systematic analysis generates lessons which are fed back to improve the project. The final section includes a variety of tools (such as written exercises, worksheets and tables) that may be used for conducting the process.
Evaluation report of the Poorest Household Focus Programme (PHFP) which includes a critical assessment of the use of a participatory approach by the project. Discussion groups with various stakeholders were the main means of evaluation utilised in the study.
A theoretical framework for data-economising appraisal procedures with applications to rural development planning
The paper's objective is to construct a general framework which will increase the useful data, while reducing the cost of data collection in developing countries. The search for useful principles proceeds from the economics of information, via Karl Popper's principle of error reduction, and the use of information cybernetics in public decision-making, to the design of more cost-effective models of development processes, and the significance of alternative hierarchical administrative structures for the utility obtained from primary data. These components are combined into a unified logical framework. An integrated approach to management information is identified as a desirable adjunct for its application in practice.