A workshop was held on AKRSP's experience with Participatory Rural Appraisal and Planning (PRAP). The background papers explain how PRAP was developed from RRA, and became integral to project planning. Details of PRAP methodology, organisation and reporting systems are given and a typical four day PRAP described. The report of the workshop gives more detail of planning and conducting PRAP exercises, discussing specific PRA methods like transects. Training strategies are analysed and the annexures include a list of proposed indicators of a good PRAP.
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.
This paper presents the findings of a one and a half day investigation of the impact of BRAC's Rural Development Programme (RDP) on a village in Manikganj. It was conducted by 11 BRAC staff as a part of a RRA/PRA Refresher course and provided an opportunity to test out the methods to be used in the PRA component of the BRAC Impact Assessment Study [IAS]. The paper is divided into four main sections. In the first, the methodology used in the study is explained - main methods used time lines, seasonal calendars and wealth ranking. In the second, the location is introduced and the history of BRAC's involvement is reconstructed. The third section asks who has benefited, to what extent, and how ? And finally, the wider implications of this pilot study for the IAS are drawn out - these include the assertion that more time is needed for fieldwork, and the observation that, while RRA/PRA potentially offer a very good way of dealing with the IAS agenda, this potential will only be realized if "the most able of the BRAC staff trained in the methods are given the responsibility".
Rapid Rural Appraisal Field Training and research Exercise. Including an assessment of the impact of a BRAC deep tubewell Group
Describes a short exercise designed to explore the potential uses of RRA/PRA for Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee [BRAC]. Divided into two major sections, the first is a general introduction to some of the most commonly used RRA/PRA techniques, while the second presents the findings of an attempt to use RRA methods to evaluate the performance of a BRAC-supported village deep tube-well group. Section one is based around a summary chart of the range of techniques "currently [in 1991] employed by RRA/PRA practitioners". Notes on each of these techniques expand on this chart and provide some useful advice and information on the application and procedure characterising each technique. The case study, described in section 2, was carried out by a team of 6 BRAC staff (none of whom had previously performed RRA) and facilitated by Mick Howes from the IDS. Two and a half days were spent on preliminary orientation and a further two and a half days in the field. Although a complete evaluation study of the performance of the village deep tube well group was not carried out during this period, a "number of potentially significant insights were generated" and the potential for RRA/PRA in operational and research work (including evaluation) within BRAC was emphasised.
Discusses the methods of collecting information during a field-study carried out in Brazil, in the health district of Pau da Lima. It was intended to provide a learning experience for students as well as to explore the local potential for Primary Environmental Care (PEC) and to produce a number of recommendations to local bodies. Possible actors, conditions, means and resources to promote PEC within the Pau da Lima district were investigated. PEC integrates three components: empowering communities, protecting the environment, and meeting needs. The first step was a preliminary identification of present and future potential actors in PEC in the Pau da Lima district. A Rapid Appraisal (RA) was conducted in three squatter communities within the district, focusing on felt problems; interests and priorities in PEC; forms and conditions of community organisation; and instances and conditions of community-based action. Methods used include: review of secondary data, informal disucssions with informants, direct observations, laboratory analysis of water samples collected during the observation walks, life history interviews, focus groups and ranking exercises, semi-structured interviews. While the study found the RA methods useful, it suggested that they may not be sufficient to identify community-based solutions to specific problems. The techniques in "Making Microplans" (Goethert and Hamdi 1988) provide an example of how this action-oriented phase could proceed.
Outlines the process of preparing a village resource management plan in Sri Lanka. The villagers used mapping, seasonal calendars, matrix ranking and chapati diagramming to analyze their situation and identify problems and solutions. The exercise was part of a PRA training programme for civil servants from five government departments, many of whom found it very rewarding and demonstrated a strong commitment to the participatory planning approach.
This note describes the use of force-field analysis, a technique originally used to analyze the forces which keep an institution in its present state. It was used in a modified form in two projects - a non-formal education project in Bangladesh and an urban environmental project in India - to provide a way of drawing staff and stakeholders into the planning process, defining possible objectives and how to attain them. It was found to be a useful way of involving different people in the analysis of objectives and how they can be achieved.
Initial planning of participatory training courses and workshops often takes place without the involvement of trainers or trainees. 'The agenda is typically set by funding agencies and by the organisations from which trainees will be selected'. There is thus a tension between the 'flexibility that learner-centred training entails and the safety, structure and measurable objectives required by funding organisations'. A process is needed whereby all the 'stakeholders' (including trainers and trainees) can be involved in planning from the start. In particular, the trainers and trainees need ' a space within which to negotiate what the training will be about, how it will proceed and what it can accomplish'.
The conclusion to the special edition of the journal on PRA, this article highlights some of the dangers of using PRA. In particular, the inappropriate use of PRA where funding agencies demand it, but NGO staff are not competent to use it. Where staff and NGOs have adopted the use of PRA it is often carried out in isolation, the findings ignored and the project continued without a change of direction.
Planning Pre-Phases as an Instrument in Project Planning: experiences gained from the planning process in Indo-Swiss Project Orissa and Indo-Swiss Project Sikkim
This document suggests the uses of pre-phases as a participatory planning tool in development projects. Pre-phases can be used to enhance mutual understanding among project partners. Such understanding is a precondition for successful planning of relevant, need-based and area-specific project interventions. They can also serve as a framework to developing partnership. Characteristics include: a workshop-culture, joint planning exercises, continuous interaction and dialogue and decentralised decision-making. Potential drawbacks are also listed. The first part discusses the planning process in an animal husbandry project in Orissa (Chs. 3-4) and in Sikkim (Chs. 5-6). The second part provides a comparison of the two planning approaches. The potentials and risks of pre-phases as instruments in project planning are discussed in Ch. 8. Ch. 9 suggests areas for improvements.
This short paper argues for decision-making on local issues in community-managed programmes to be left to local collective processes. The paper also argues that for development workers to support such programmes implies long-term committment and the adoption of management styles that coach and facilitate rather than supervise and dictate. For local leadership to flower, the paper recommends a ten year period of support, in the form of advice or patronage from a development organisation, for each community-managed programme to ensure continuity and consistency regardless of changes of staff or structure.
This paper describes how the Indonesian government incorporated elements of PRA to launch a nation-wide programme of participatory village planning in 60,000 villages to be completed within the 1995-1996 budget year ending in March 1996. The article analyses the mistakes committed in attempting to scale up too fast in the face of too many constraints: too few sufficiently experienced trainers resulting in poor quality training, unrealistic budget and time constraints imposed by government, and the pre-existing top- down culture of development planning in Indonesia. The article shows in very clear terms that participatory approaches cannot be tagged on to existing national programmes, and that scaling-up will fail if it is rushed.
Scaling up or scaling down? Experience of institutionalising PRA in the slum improvement projects in India
The paper analyses the experience of institutionalising participatory approaches in the design and implementation of slum improvement projects in India, focusing on the case of Calcutta. The authors highlight the excessively compartmentalised structure of the project institutions (strictly divided between Engineering, Health, and Community Development sections) as the most significant obstacle to the effective adoption of participatory approaches. Despite staff enthusiasm for PRA techniques, these were considered useful primarily to extract information rather than for planning. Another limitation was the insufficient attention paid to behaviour and attitudes training. The main conclusion was that for scaling up to be effective, it may be necessary to scale down first, by concentrating on a handful of cases of sustained community action in which participatory approaches played an important role, and using them as learning laboratories.