This provocative article reflects on the experience of conducting PRA exercises in Madhya Pradesh, India. The issues relate to Kulkarni's role as "development manager" in the context of villagers working directly with government officials. The ethical, political and methodological dimensions of PRA (specifically wealth ranking and social mapping) are all brought out in the discussion.
Training Workshop on Participatory Rural and Urban Appraisal Methods for Participatory Poverty Assessment, Ghana
This training workshop was designed to introduce participants to appraisal techniques suitable for use in a Participatory Poverty Assessment study being conducted in Ghana by the World Bank. Written by one of two trainers, the report covers only the rural appraisal methods. The Darko field work section describes in detail the PRA methods, including sequencing, materials used and findings. Gender issues underlie the lively analysis: eg the wealth and well-being ranking shows how differently men and women tackled the activity. The report includes a list of topics covered in the theoretical sessions, comments on logistical problems on the course, and finally highlights the methodological innovations made (well-being ranking being superimposed on wealth ranking and the frequency distribution health matrix).
From participatory appraisal to participatory practice: viewing training as part of a broader process of institutional development
Training alone will not be able to promote a participatory approach in a top-down bureaucratic institution. Other factors, such as funding base, organisational procedures and institutional priorities, may also have to change. Case-studies from Production Through Conservation programme, Lesotho and Soil and Water Conservation Branch, Kenya, illustrate that "it is possible to change the operational procedures and institutional cultures of large, bureaucratic public agencies, but this transformation is "neither easily nor quickly achieved". Seven conditions necessary for such a transformation are identified from the case-studies.
Reflections around the tensions between male fieldworkers and Women's Project Officers on an Oxfam project, lead to the idea that RRA training can help to raise gender awareness. The RRA approach encourages fieldworkers to listen, to see that communities are not "homogenous blobs" and to abandon preconceived ideas. A case-study from Sierra Leone shows how a social map drawing activity done separately by men and women revealed their different perceptions and needs. The second case-study shows how RRA work in Ghana caused male fieldworkers to change their views of women's position in the community. The next most important step would be to "transform fieldworkers' anger and resentment into positive pride in their awareness of difference".
The article describes a participatory appraisal and needs assessment (PANA) training workshop run by the NGO CARE Zambia in August 1994. The training was part of a strategy to reorient CARE's activities away from infrastructure improvement through food-for-work towards a more holistic livelihoods approach. Two important initial strategy decisions had to be made: how to reorient project staff; and how to generate greater participation by the communities concerned. The article outlines the methodological approach adopted, which was a combination of Training for Transformation (TfT) and PRA, and discusses some early trends and lessons.
Participatory training for social development : insights from the experience of an informal training network
This provocative article criticises participatory training for having become 'reduced to a pre-planned technique-happy mass of simulations and role plays without any contribution to critical thinking.' A model of training for participatory trainers is given, based on the experience of PRIA (Society for Participatory Research in Asia) and UNNATI (Organisation for Development Education) in India. Issues addressed in the seven training modules developed by UNNATI are summarised in a box : the role of training, how adults learn, group process, self-development of trainer, training methods, training design and facilitation. This kind of training leads trainers to understand why people do not participate and to 'realise the dangers of the 'imparting' model of educating people'.
The Rapid Appraisal of Fisheries Management Systems (RAFMS) is among the RRA-affiliated methodologies being developed at the International Centre for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM), which is specific to the fisheries. It is a semi-structured research tool designed to quickly document and evaluate the existing local-level fisheries management systems in a given fishing community. Undertaking a rapid appraisal approach is deemed useful to provide a general description of basic physical and fisher/community characteristics and institutional arrangements RAFMS then gives the direction for undertaking more formal research or quantitative surveys. The approach is participatory because it is designed for the joint use of the RAFMS practitioners and the local researchers in collaboration with the local fishing communities. The emphasis is on the evaluation of the rights and rules system governing the use of the fisheries resources at the local level. This handbook is divided into six parts: 1) introduction to rapid appraisal 2) research/survey framework 3) procedures and methodologies 4) afterword 5) references 6) an appendix of six matrices used for the research.
This handbook is based on the experiences of the CUSO-CCPD Training Programme for NGOs in Northern Ghana. However, examples are used to bring out the underlying principles which shaped the training process and generated participants' experiences. The emphasis of the book is strongly towards participatory approaches to development and training. Chapters 1 and 2 present the theoretical framework of the handbook - participatory training and the designing process of a participatory training programme. Subsequent chapters deal with data collection and project design, project planning, monitoring and evaluation, project management, and group animation. The handbook is very clearly written and organised, making the concepts extremely accessible.
This handbook is based on the experiences of the CUSO-CCPD Training Programme for NGOs in Northern Ghana. However, examples are used to bring out the underlying principles which shaped the training process and generated participants' experiences. The emphasis of the book is strongly towards participatory approaches to development and training. Chapters 1 and 2 present the theoretical framework of the handbook - participatory training and the designing process of a participatory training programme. Subsequent chapters cover the basic concepts on gender in development, how gender analysis may be done, and the preparation of gender-oriented extensions programmes. The handbook is very clearly written and organised, making the concepts extremely accessible.
This handbook discusses the basic definitions and principles of M&E, including where, why and how evaluation is carried out, and a detailed examination of what qualities are possessed by both good and bad indicators. There is an in-depth discussion of the functions of community based M&E and a list of 'ten steps' is provided to guide in developing and supporting a community based M&E system. Each steps is examined and illustrated with reference to a project in in India. There is also a list of do's and dontÆs in supporting a community based M&E system and a discussion of links that can exist between the M&E systems of an agency such as an NGO and that of a community based organisation. The paper concludes with a discussion of how M&E fits into the project cycle and the importance of fostering the right attitudes towards M&E practice is emphasised.
Reforming Agricultural Extension in Bangladesh: Blending Greater Participation and Sustainability with Institutional Strengthening
The limited effectiveness of the Training and Visit (T&V) system of extension in sustaining agricultural growth, combined with concerns about sustainability and pressures towards greater participation by farmers and the private sector, have stimulated major reconsideration of extension strategies in Bangladesh. This paper offers a conceptual framework for assessing the coherence, performance and sustainability of extension strategies. Subsequent sections review changes in agricultural production and productivity in the past two decades. Evidence of the contribution of extension is mainly circumstantial. The final section of the paper examines the major features of the new extension which include: decentralisation within the Department of Agricultural Extension; the use of groups in communications with farming communities; and greater efforts to assess farmers' needs and to tailor messages. The paper concludes that although these reforms are steps in the right direction, the strategy appears to be based upon unrealistic assumptions regarding the willingness and ability of different organisations to make changes and work together.