This article summarises the perceptions of staff of a rural development NGO in southern India, on the impacts of PRA on their project planning, implementation , management and evaluation.
ALPS in action: a review of the shift in ActionAid towards a new Accountability, Learning and Planning System
This review looks at ActionAid's (AA) Accountability Learning and Planning System (ALPS), which was introduced in 2000 in line with the strategy Fighting Poverty Together (FPT). The aims of the review are to assess how and in what way ALPS has supported AA in putting FPT in operation through its core requirements and seven key principles; to identify key achievements, lessons and gaps in the system; and to provide a set of practicable recommendations for changes and improvements. Three core and standard elements formed the basis for the review: short focused visits to five country programmes (Kenya, India, Brazil, Italy and United Kingdom) with targeted interviews with key staff, some partners and local people working with AA; extensive documentation review of both core literature and country-specific material; and a written survey sent to all country programmes, international functions and Northern counterparts. It is concluded that ALPS is not yet being applied systematically within each country or across countries, themes and functions. Some of the critical gaps in ALPS logic and its implementation are identified, and in response recommendations are given on how to clarify ALPS in AA; support the ongoing uptake of ALPS; improve the quality of ALPS; and setting clear ALPS agendas. (See record no. 4706 for full report)
Learning with the community, through PRA, is the theme of this issue of World Neighbours in Action. The article describes some of the key features of PRA and participatory methodology. It details some of the methods and tools used in PRA, such as participatory mapping and modeling, trend analysis and trend diagramming, transect maps, matrix ranking and scoring, seasonal diagramming and analysis, wealth ranking, daily activity profiles and chapati diagrams. The article discusses how to move forward after the information-gathering phase of a PRA, suggesting means by which to assist the community in analysing the information collected, in identifying issues that need to be addressed, in identifying resources that are available both within and outside the community, in prioritising the problems and developing a plan of action. It also suggests how to bring such village management plans to the government and NGOs, and to manage, evaluate and monitor any projects that may result. It concludes by warning against the manipulation of PRA tools, and urges for a process of 'handing over the stick'.
This issue of World Neighbours in Action focuses on gender and household decision making. Some of the key lessons learnt in working to address gender issues are highlighted. The first is that it is more effective to approach gender issues from a needs-based approach rather than from a power-based approach. Handling gender issues from a needs-based approach, in which both women and men take an active role in identifying a clear need for changed gender roles, leads to more sensitive and sustainable change. Second, that to successfully address gender issues, development projects must find ways of improving communication and understanding between men and women. Finally, that women's and men's roles and responsibilities are changing; however, there is not necessarily a corresponding shift in decision-making patterns. The article then describes three participatory exercises that can help participants begin to analyse gender dynamics and decision-making patterns as they relate to family assets, household needs and childbearing. The examples presented with each tool are drawn from a series of workshops in the district of Makueni, Kenya.
The use of 'typical families' to explore livelihoods and service provision in urban informal settlements, South Africa
In South Africa a government housing subsidy scheme exists which allows beneficiaries access to a R16 000 grant which is usually 'project-linked'. The South African NGO, Community Agency for Social Enquiry (CASE) was commissioned to monitor the impact of such schemes over four years to feed into policy recommendations. As a part of this project, participatory methodologies were used in four urban settings with three objectives in mind. The first was to test the use of some participatory tools in an urban setting, in particular the 'typical families' tool. The second was to gain a greater understanding of livelihoods and vulnerabilities in these typically poor but diverse communities. The third was to gain a more in-depth understanding of the impact of service provision on individuals, households and communities. The paper describes the nature and use of the 'typical families' tool from which characteristics of vulnerability and poverty unique to the community emerge. Additionally, concerns about whether participants would be willing to engage with the exercises and what type of results they would generate are discussed.
This folder, produced by the Jamaican Social Investment Fund, consists of seven short handbooks on CBOs . They are the result of observation of many Jamaican CBOs and they seek to address some of the common problems addressed by these organisations. These practical handbooks cover a number of topics: 1 The Community Based Organisation: looks at issues such as what a CBO is, how to get started, membership types, CBO structure, how to encourage new people, principles of evaluation and accountability, and registration. 2 Leadership and Motivation: here several issues are considered such as who the organisation belongs to, the constitution, job descriptions, meetings, how to stimulate creativity, building consensus and decision making, delegating and dealing with conflict. 3 Money Management and Fundraising: this handbook looks at the role of the Treasurer, the types of funds needed, different ways to raise funds, budgeting, accounting, financial reports, audit, credit and investment. 4 Planning Community Projects: various issues are considered such as developing a vision, identifying priorities, analysing the problem, analysing resources, analysing the past, analysing alternative solutions, analysing risk, planning activities and writing project proposals 5 Implementing Community Projects: this handbook takes the community project further by addressing implementation challenges, identifying beneficiaries, mobilising people to provide services, detailing the action plan, identifying the best time for implementation and monitoring of the project. 6 Evaluation of Community Projects: the issues around evaluating projects are looked at in this handbook and include questions such as why evaluate, who should evaluate, what should be evaluated and how should it be done. Evaluating people, planning and reporting are also addressed. 7 CBO Publicity and Networking; this last handbook looks at promoting the image the CBO through newsletters, press releases, presentations and by phone then goes on to consider communication in meetings, invitations and requests, and representation outside the community.
Training manual on participatory community based O&OD [Opportunities and Obstacles to Development] planning. Vol.2 Field guide
This manual was prepared to facilitate access to participatory planning tools in Tanzania, to make them more accessible to planners and other development workers in ordre to facilitate sustainable development in the country. Its main purpose is to provide a source of reference for the Tanzania government and other staff whilst engaging in development activities with communities. It presents a number of æinstructionsÆ for undertaking participatory methodologies on a day-by-day basis, over a course of six days, and includes exercises and tools to carry these out.
This is a resource book designed primarily for development workers working within the field of the rural poor. It describes a range of first-hand experiences with participatory approaches in the context of projects funded by The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and governments in Asia and the Pacific. The book is divided into a number of sections. Part One examines poverty and participation and explains why the poor should be targeted and in what ways this is possible. Part Two describes in detail the actual participatory approaches. Part three concentrates on participation in the project planning and implementation stage. Part Four assesses the monitoring impact and Part Five examines issues in participation with regards to institutions, partnerships and governance.
In this book, the author seeks to portray the process of community organising as a collective endeavour where the people are the principal actors and the community organisers serve only as facilitators. He proposes that community organising is only meaningful if it promotes the continuing capability building, self reliance and empowerment of the people. The book uses down-to-earth language and begins by presenting the context and significance of planning and management from the people, for the people. The basic concepts and processes of this view are discussed and specific guidelines for implementation are given. Case studies from the Philippines on participatory planning and management are presented and analysed, and finally synthesised in a comic strip.