This article, as part of the special 50th edition of PLA Notes, looks at specific tools and methods used by an alliance of three organisations in India that are engaged in initiatives to reduce urban poverty. The organisations are the National Slum Dwellers Federation (NSDF), Mahila Milan (savings cooperatives formed by women slum and pavement dwellers) and the Indian NGO SPARC. The article provides a background of the development of the tools and methods used by these organisations over the last 20 years, which are then linked to empowerment, learning and transformation: Poor people know what their problems are and generally have good ideas regarding what solutions they want. But they lack the resources or capacities to demonstrate that they can produce a solution. So the federations support their members to try out solutions in what can be termed a learning cycle. Some of the tools and methods covered in the article include savings and credit, mapping, surveys, community exchanges and house modelling. The author also describes how the Alliance (the grouping of the 3 organisations) works differently from other NGOs whose strategies tend to be about lobbying and advocating directly for change. Instead, the Alliance focuses on setting precedents and using these precedents to negotiate for changes in policies and practices. As a case study of this approach, the article describes the use of community toilet initiatives. Some of the outcomes include bringing communities together, expanding livelihood options for the participants (who gain useful skills and experiences from building the toilets), strengthening relations with municipal authorities, changing national policies, and enabling spaces for communities to learn. The article concludes with three overarching implication for change processes initiated in the community by the toilet projects, arguing that the poor make ideal partners in the projects and that the projects themselves need to be community managed and controlled. These are: organisation for empowerment; community-based problem solving; and learning to negotiate with city and state governments and other groups.
Latin America is one of the world's fastest developing regions, yet also a hub area for crime and violence, where the links between social exclusion, inequality, fear and insecurity are clearly visible. This book explores the meaning of violence and insecurity in nine towns and cities in Colombia and Guatemala to create a framework of how and why daily violence takes place at the community level. It uses participatory urban appraisal methods to ask people about their own perceptions of violence as mediated by family, gender, ethnicity, and age. It develops a typology which distinguishes between the political, social, and economic violence that afflicts communities, and which assesses the costs and consequences of violence in terms of community cohesion and social capital. The featured towns and cities in Colombia are: Embudo, 14 de Febrero and Jerico in Bogotß, and Portico, el Arca, Amanecer, Rosario, Cachicamo and Colombia Chiquita; and in Guatemala: Concepcion, Nuevo Horizonte and La Merced in Guatemala City, and San Jorge, Sacuma, Limoncito, Gucumatz, El Carmen and Villa Real. Based on the experiences in these sites, the book examines the following aspects of urban violence: the role of participatory research methodologies in policy planning; the complexity of daily violence; community perceptions of underlying structural factors; the family as a violent institution; linkage to substance abuse; organised violence at the community level; social institutions and social capital; and community perceptions on strategies of dealing with violence.
This report from DFID presents the findings from a review of 23 Participatory Poverty Assessments covering 14 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe. The objective of the review was: To document the main findings and key messages from PPA's and complementary studies; To provide guidance on how poverty/environment links can be made more explicit in future PPA's. Three distinct aspects were addressed in the review; The messages of the poor; What the PPA's leave out; Areas where environmental causes and effects are alluded to but not elaborated upon. The report firstly provides an introduction to PPAs and the Environment, and is then divided into three key sections. The first section is entitled Conceptualising Environment - Poverty Links, and looks particularly at dispelling myths. The next is Poverty and Environment: Key Messages from the Poor which includes issues such as characteristics of well-being and ill-being, environmental trends, livelihood management activities, institutional influences, stresses related to poverty and the environment and an overview of key messages from the poor. The last section is entitled Lessons for the Future, and includes identifying gaps and partial analysis, and recommendations. Annexes detail references and a Matrix of Issues. Key points from this report are given in a 2-pager - Environment policy key sheet no. 1, available on-line - see below
This journal article explores the influence of actors and organisations on decisions and outcomes in urban governance, and the impact of these on the poor. Three critical factors for pro-poor governance are identified through the study of nine city case studies from Africa, Asia and Latin America; inclusive political processes where the votes of the poor count, responsive institutions with capacity to deliver, and a developed civil society able to support the poor to pressure government. The specific policies and practices of the city governance institutions are found to impact on the poor. Some of the key policies and practices include: the nature of the city's policy on poverty, the city's attitude to the informal sector (tolerance is kinder to the poor), the city's approach to informal settlements (recognised and given access to services, ignored, or evicted), access to land, the regulatory environment, a redistributive use of financial resources, and targeted pricing policies for basic services.
Community to community exchanges, which enable poor people to plan, control and negotiate their own development strategies, are the focus of this paper, particularly in the context of squatters/slum dwellers. These exchanges, which spread to international exchanges amongst the urban poor, have birthed a people's movement of global proportions. The paper begins by summarising the urban context in which these organisations emerged, and the scale and nature of the development challenge they face. The emergence of Mahila Milan - a network of women's savings collectives formed by women pavement dwellers in India - is described as a precursor of the initiative, while the need for new models of urban development led to a search for ways of enhancing community learning and hence, exchanges. The ways in which the network can support its members through international exchanges are identified and discussed. A concluding section considers some of the wider implications of the work of Shack/ Slum Dwellers International for people-centred development
Participatory Poverty Assessments (PPAs) in which poor and marginalized people describe their perspectives on poverty have become an integral part of the development process. This report is a review of a number of PPAs, undertaken by ActionAid Nepal, Plan International and New ERA, which took place in eleven districts of Nepal. To begin with, the research sites are described. The report then focuses on participant's understandings of the causes of poverty. The most common responses were; landlessness and dependency; inflation; natural disasters; lack of education; cultural customs; gender discrimination; and seasonal changes. There were wide variations between how poor and rich people within a community described poverty, as well as differences between definitions of urban and rural poverty.
Urban governance, accountability and poverty: the politics of particpatory budgeting in Recife, Braz
This report presents the findings of a case study on participatory budgeting (PB) for urban governance in Recife, Brazil. It focuses on the political and institutional processes, systems and mechanisms (informal as well as formal) that result in inclusive and pro-poor decisions and outcomes in urban settings. It provides some context and background to PB in Recife, its underlying political and institutional dynamics, and its implementation by sector. Chapter 6 reports citizen feedback on PB, local governance and poverty, and Chapter 7 situates the Recife experience in the wider context of PB in Brazil, especially Porto Alegre and Belo Horizonte, and finds that distinct political cultures and institutional designs matter. Chapter 8 concludes that the case of Recife demonstrates that PB can work in administrations not ruled by the Workers' Party, and in municipalities with higher poverty indicators. Participatory 'arrangements' are considered justified on normative democratic grounds, for the sake of efficiency and to improve government responsiveness. Despite the institutional and procedural challenges and bureaucratic resistance it faces, PB increases the capacity of excluded social groups to influence the decision-making process, and the access of the poor to basic services.
This paper describes the use of participatory research on violence and discusses a range of participatory urban appraisal (PUA) tools that can be used for this purpose. This includes tools that can document the perceptions of poorer groups regarding the kinds of violence (economic, social or political), the extent, causes (and the links with poverty and exclusion) and consequences of violence, as well as the strategies for coping with or reducing it. In addition, it outlines a conceptual framework on violence, poverty/exclusion, inequality and social capital, drawing on examples from Guatemala and Colombia.
Report of a participatory health needs assessment carried out on the Roundshaw Estate by a team of residents, health, housing and youth service workers, which focused specifically on residents views on well-being on the estate and their suggestions for improving the quality of life there. The report includes a section evaluating and reflecting on the process used, which examines amongst other aspects, reactions of the community members and also the Participatory Appraisal Team to the process.
In spite of children and young people being involved in many aspects of community life, social policy in the UK often neglects their interests. This book argues that contrary to conventional adult wisdom children and young people are competent to take part in collective decision making and that it is essential that they do so. Practical examples from Save the Children's work are provided to show ways in which children and young people can be encouraged to participate and have a real say in how things are done.