This paper discusses two related questions: Are research results usable? Are the data actually used in decision-making? Both are determined by the researcher's choice of research methodology. The links between choice of research methodology and the application of results is discussed through a simple conceptual model. A satisfactory link requires a decision to allocate part of research capacity to the evaluation of previous research. To demonstrate the difficulties involved in rigorous analysis, a case study of ten years of research for agricultural development in three East African countries (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania) is reviewed. Deficiencies in agricultural planning and in applied research for agricultural development are discussed in detail. The causes of ineffective applied research are viewed as lying in scientific culture. An example of applied research with implemented solutions is given, emphasising the benefits of participant research and management procedures for planning.
It argues that even the most elaborate social surveys in the development field are one-sided, in that they answer their sponsors' questions, and not those of the people surveyed. Rapid Rural Appraisal has no methodological sophistication in which to cloak this one-sidedness. This is no disadvantage, however, for not only does RRA focus attention on an important problem, it also provides the means to solve it. Several 'quick and dirty' surveys are possible for the price of, and in the time taken by, one 'long and clean' survey. The opportunity is thus opened up for a more interactive style of applied social research, incorporating a diversity of political feedback at the earliest possible stage in the development planning process.
Community-Based Workshops for Evaluating and Planning Sanitation Programs: A Case Study of Primary Schools Sanitation in Lesotho
The Lesotho Primary Schools Sanitation Project, undertaken in 1976-9, had limited success. When a follow-up project was proposed, it was decided to hold workshops to find out the communities' views on how the follow-up should be designed. Workshop participants included school and community representatives, ministerial and donor agency representatives. This paper describes the results of those workshops held in March 1981. Most of the report discusses technical implications of the workshop discussions. A final section discusses the role of community based workshops in development planning.
With this pioneering book introducing participatory approaches in rural development, the author challenges preconceptions dominating rural development at the time. The central theme of the book is that rural poverty is often unseen or misperceived by outsiders, those who are not themselves rural and poor. The author contends that researchers, scientists, administrators and fieldworkers rarely appreciate the richness and validity of rural peopleÆs knowledge, or the hidden nature of rural poverty. He argues for a new professionalism, with fundamental reversals in outsidersÆ learning, values and behavior, and proposes more realistic action for tackling rural poverty. The book is divided into eight chapters focusing on rural poverty unperceived (i.e. as perceived by outsiders); two cultures of outsiders, negative academics vs. positive practitioners; how outsiders learn; power structures and knowledge; integrated rural poverty including deprivation, vulnerability and powerlessness; making priorities for action; reversals in professional values and bridging gaps between disciplines, professions and departments; and recommendations and discussion of practical actions.
This paper examines the relationship between RRA and the theory and practice of development, and asks how it contributes to a new paradigm. It begins with an overview of the history of western thought as it relates to the origins of the conventional (evolutionary, unilineal, positivistic) development paradigm. It then sketches alternative paradigms which question notions of progress and change. They suggest alternative understandings of 'systems' and action, leading to recognition of the potential roles of local people in applying their own knowledge in determining their own development, and the need for learning processes in development activities. These processes are increasingly seen as determined by their context. RRA is suited to responding to the needs and opportunities inherent in this new paradigm in many ways. Although realising this potential depends on the acceptability of information generated by RRA to decision-makers, questions of data validity are not always relevant: openness and multiplicity of feedback circuits compensate for small sample sizes and rapidity. RRA can also facilitate dialogue and has the potential to change practitioners as well as 'objects' of development. Thus in the right situation, RRA can be a valuable supplement to conventional research methods - if done well - but should not replace them.
This book examines 'the ways in which people form images of other places and how these images influence many decisions'. Examples are given of how people's mental maps reveal their perceptions and beliefs about the world. Planners asked people in Birmingham, UK, for 'the maps that they had in their heads and which they used in moving around the centre of the city'. The response was very large because 'people seemed to like the idea of helping planners and being involved in some small way with the planning process going on in their town'. As in PRA mapping activities, the maps drawn reflected people's experiences. In another example, a black school boy in Boston drew five educational institutions in the area, 'indicative of his perception of education as an escape route from the segregated life he leads'. Our mental maps are influenced and shaped by information, such as that provided by the media and school text books. School leavers ranked the places where they preferred to live, revealing 'local domes of desirability and a shared national viewpoint' regarding images of certain towns. The book ends by looking at how to change people's mental maps : 'the maps and models of the world we carry around with us need larger and much more relevant information inputs'.
This is already abstracted in IDS annotated bibliography Famine Early Warning and Food Information Systems in the Sahel and Horn of Africa, Lambert et al, 1991, IDS Development Bibliographies 7.
This document reports on an RRA conducted in the Upper Mille and Cheleka catchments development project in Wollo province, Ethiopia. Its goals were (i) to test the applicability of RRA to the work of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society, and (ii) to analyse two peasant associations and suggest possible innovations to benefit their members. This introduction outlines a form of RRA known as agroecosystem analysis (AEA). Its methods and procedure of implementation are described: sub-groups examined diversification in space through mapping, transects, and analysing home gardens, and diversification in time through seasonal calendars. A second section examines the importance of diversification for security, improvement of production and purchasing power, and to act as a catalyst for overall development. The results of the RRA's in two peasant associations comprise the bulk of the report. For each, key issues are identified (e.g. land use, water resources, livestock, crops, health, forest resources), and strategies for diversification are examined (e.g. irrigation, land use patterns, revegetation, experimenting with new crops, clean water supply, development of home gardens, reforestation, credit etc.). The report ends with comments on the use of RRA in development planning and the role of RRA in developing management concepts and process in peasant associations.