This extract discusses ways in which outsiders can change the ways they learn about rural conditions. These include improving development tourism and using RRA techniques. The principles and methods underlying reversals in learning are examined, including sitting, asking, listening; learning from the poorest, learning indigenous technical knowledge through compiling glossaries of local terms and employing games, quantification and ranking methods. Learning can be supported by the way organisations are managed, so reversals in management are important. Styles of communication, staff transfer policies and practice, and enabling and empowering poor clients are discussed. The final section emphasises the primacy of personal action in changing practices in rural development.
The report, written for an Arid Lands Workshop, very briefly discusses the main issues in SWC in sub-Saharan Africa. A list of "do's" for participatory soil and water conservation are then briefly discussed, which are mostly to do with the organisational side of SWC, rather than the technical. A short analysis is made of the character of Oxfam-funded SWC projects which concludes that the Oxfam projects are innovative and successful at getting the local population involved when compared to other such projects in the area. Four short case studies, from Burkina Faso, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, end the report.
Soft-Systems Methodology for Action Research: The Role of a College Farm in an Agricultural Education Institution
This paper concerns the use of action research within a research institute both to meet immediate objectives of the staff and to learn about the research methodology. In a situation characterised by decreased funding and curriculum reform based on the concepts of experiential learning, the Checkland soft-systems methodology was adopted to manage a change in the role of university farms using a consensus approach. Two outcomes of the research process were (i) improvement in financial returns in the farms, a better working climate and greater use of farms in experiential education, and (ii) the researchers learned about the methodology and how it is able to accommodate purposeful behaviour and issues of power. Following description of the initial situation, the paper outlines the steps involved in applying the soft-systems methodology to that situation.
This is a landmark paper which firstly provides an important backdrop to the huge growth of literature on PE over the last four years, and secondly, reviews stages in the PE process as seen by five authors writing in the 1980s (in the annex). The author makes the fundamental point that true, or "active", PE means the involvement of all stakeholders in the process of PE (most PE he observes is "passive" whereby the people are only listened to, and not truly involved). Active PE would entail members of the community controlling the evaluation process by, for example, being the interviewers [a technique that now forms a useful tool in PRA based evaluations]. Many of the questions and issues raised in this report are still highly relevant today. For example, the author's conclusion that the very process behind "active PEs" could mean that running of the overall project is improved, provides sound justification for the current drive towards incorporating PRA methods into PM&E of development projects.
This draft paper provides a useful discussion of some of the main analytical and theoretical themes surrounding the concept of participation in connection with evaluation of development activities [N.B it does not look specifically at methods]. Comparing the 'mode of evaluation' characterising 'conventional development projects' with that of the emerging set of 'participatory evaluation' approaches, the author builds a workable framework through which he can ask the key questions concerning "why, when, and how" participation in project evaluation should occur. In answering these questions, emphasis is put on the development of an approach in which both internal (or participatory) and external methods of evaluation are seen to be complementary. Importantly, however, such a framework can only truly work if long term, local level, participation is seen occur through the entire project cycle; only then argues the author, can 'participatory evaluation methods' realize their full potential.
This report outlines Youth for Action's (YFA) understandings of RRA and PRA (Participatory Resource Appraisal), and outlines the reasons for adopting PRA: to bridge the previous gap between the needs of the people and YFA's plans, to facilitate the involvement of the community in all aspects of planning. The report is the result of a PRA exercise in one village, conducted to develop PRA techniques while learning with farmers to assess local resources, choices and wealth. The PRA methods employed are listed, the visual results presented, but the process of applications is not discussed in detail. The one exception is an appendix on "fodder preference ranking by farmers" at the back of the report. The bulk of the report presents the findings of the PRA exercise, and an action plan based on the findings.
Participatory Rapid Rural Appraisal in Wollo: Peasant Association Planning for Natural Resource Management.
The first section of this report comprises an introduction to the area in relation to its natural resources with particular emphasis on trees, and perceptions of trees by residents. The background to, and use of R/PRA is discussed, in the context of a workshop held on focusing on participation and trees. The methods used in RRA are discussed and a checklist of important issues given. In example case studies, local attitudes towards woodlands, private and communal tree planting, trees on arable lands, firewood and environmental problems were detailed, and linked to livestock and cropping constraints. From the R/PRA, a discussion of different problems and potential solutions was encouraged, and 'best bet' project actions worked out, although these were formulated away from the field, and taken back for further discussion. The report concludes with an evaluation of the workshop and the methodolgy (generally favourable comments although problems of expectation-raising and excessive focus on trees were mentioned). There was a felt need for further training and follow-up work.
Rapid Post-Disaster Community Needs Assessment: A Case Study of Guatemala After the Civil Strife of 1979-1983
Information collected during emergencies often does not identify accurately either the population in greatest need or the relative amounts of relief assistance required. Needs appraisal models are required in which data collection and analysis is rapid. This paper presents a case study of a disaster relief project in Highland Guatemala which sought to provide a database which relief organisations could use to target assistance. A brief introduction to target assistance. A brief introduction to the existing conditions in Guatemala is presented, followed by a description of the assessment techniques used. Initially, the two main techniques used to obtain quantitative and qualitative data were an observational checklist and key informant questionnaires. The paper concludes with a discussion of the findings and impacts of the study.
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.