This book considers how community-based technical aid can be made more effective and sustainable. Calling for development workers, policy makers and researchers to put themselves in the place of the intended beneficiaries of aid, it suggests concrete principles for action and research. It argues that community-based participatory research and 'transfer of technology' are not rival models of development but complementary components in a sigle process of effective aid.
Sustaining Development Through Community Mobilization: a Case Study of Participatory Rural Appraisal in the Gambia
ActionAid, a British NGO, carried out PRAs in Dingiraay and Ndawen in The Gambia, with the aim of creating a "community action plan". This report describes the process in Dingiraay, from introducing the concept of PRA to the community through leaflets and opening ceremony to conducting the activities, analysing the data, deciding options and working out the final plan. PRA activities were introduced in "sets": spatial (village sketch map, transect), temporal (time line, trend line, seasonal calendar) and institutional (inventory and ranking). Methods, findings and organization are described and evaluated in detail, including participants' responses. The report shows how the community participated in analysing the data and planning development activities, and the tensions involved. The conclusion looks at "lessons learned", such as wealth ranking activities creating mistrust.
This handbook goes through the stages of implementing PRA from "getting started" through visits to other projects, to "data gathering, problem analysis, mobilising external support and handling money". Each stage is broken down into suggested activities and illustrated with detailed case-studies. Several sections would make useful training material - for example, internal problems are explored through case-studies of "A Controversial Chief" and "Water and Posho Mills Don't Mix". PRA methods are not described as the emphasis is on PRA as a whole process.
This paper presents the experience of farmer participation in irrigation management in Sri Lanka, in an attempt to address key issues of resource mobilization and production system sustainability. Participation was initiated either with scheme rehabilitation or modernization. However, it was found that participation in irrigation management dates back 2500 years. The paper notes particular areas where participation should be emphasised in order to overcome management difficulties: operation and maintenance; rehabilitation and modernization; resolution of conflicts; input co-ordination and decision making.
Beneficiary Assessment [BA] is described as "tool for mangers who wish to improve the quality of development organisations". In this World Bank manual the author gives the rationale for BA, describes its design and comments on the techniques (direct observation, conversational interviews, and participant observation) which are employed. Although PRA is not mentioned, the discussion may be of interest, due to these latter comments - which are further elaborated in the annexes. Examples of the impact of BAs are provided and the question concerning the limited prevalence of participatory evaluation techniques, such as BAs, in Bank projects is briefly discussed.
The participatory watershed development programme has been ongoing since 1989, though nearing completion. The entire village community is included. The booklet illustrates indicators of programme impact, which the report discusses in greater detail. The links between different actors are strong, and it has proved possible to expand the project to other villages in the region. It is felt that some influence on macro-policies, such as use of the forest by local populations has also ben acheived. The participatory approach taken is explored, as the key influence on the programme. PRA is not used directly. Several lifestories are included, including villagers assesments of the changes in the area due to the programme. Available in booklet and report form, slight differences but content similar. The report contains much more detailed analysis, the booklet is for circulation.
This paper presents a case study of Nepal's' user group forestry programme. The programme's objective is to bring abut 'phased handover of hill forests to the communities'. This paper argues that the power to manipulate forest resources does not lie with the state (but with local landlords or broader community groups), and that shifting power to the community involves reconciling the demands of different interest groups. It suggests that before attempting to shift power it is necessary to identify and assess existing and future institutional arrangements, and to identify the degree of autonomy or participation to which the community aspires. Of interest to PRA collection users is the section on the transformation of the forest department, and the relationships between forest user groups and field staff. Participatory workshops, field support and institutional change were strategies used to effect this transformation, with mixed results. This process of transformation is analysed in detail.
Participatory Problem Analysis and Project Planning: Experiences with Rapid Rural Appraisal and Seminars on Sustainable Agriculture in U.M.P. Communal Lands and Mudzi District Agricultural Development Projects
In the U.M.P. Communal Lands and Mudzi District Agricultural Development Projects in Zimbabwe, informal surveys based on RRA methods (e.g. semi-structured interviews), and seminars on sustainable agriculture, were used to identify and analyse the major constraints on agricultural production in the project areas. The paper includes reflections on the methods used and the quality of results. After setting up a problem tree together with farmers, activities were suggested to tackle prioritised problem areas. Experience shows that this approach is useful as a first step in project planning. Recommendations are made to improve the process and enhance farmer participation.
This paper describes the development of a project to integrate trees and shrubs in the agricultural system of an area in Zimbabwe in order to conserve fertile soils. A preliminary survey and a seminar involving farmers and extension staff identified the choice of new activities and technologies. Look and Learn visits to research centres and other projects enabled farmers' representatives to share information with farmers who selected the activities. Tree nursery groups, which emerged from savings clubs, organise farmers and organise visits to demonstration sites, and share experiences. The organisation and management of these groups are described and the impact and assessment of activities are discussed.
This article discusses opportunities for NGOs to work towards sustainable development in Africa. NGOs can facilitate strengthening institutional capacities at the local level. But NGO effectiveness can be constrained by the need for autonomy and government need for control; problems of scaling up and confusion over appropriate roles. The article addresses these issues in the context of two case studies of NGO activity: an environmental NGO in Zimbabwe and a PRA approach in Kenya involving international and national NGOs and the Kenyan government. it suggests that NGOs can be more effective if they move from a project orientation to an enabling role. They must also move beyond individual agendas and established roles to identify new approaches to local development and resource management which increase their capacities for flexible, innovative action.