This 30 minute video explores the complexities of poverty from the perspectives of poor people themselves. It reveals that although the experiences of poor people vary widely by location and situation, there are significant commonalties in the way poor people describe their lives: sense of powerlessness and voicelessness; precariousness of their livelihoods and lack of security; isolation, humiliation, and lack of connections to resources and opportunities; and gender inequality. The result is a 'domino effect' of disadvantages and inequalities, all of which make it difficult for poor people to escape the hold of poverty. The video introduces viewers to people who are challenging these obstacles, and initiatives that are helping to empower the poor, make their lives more secure, and give them access to greater opportunities. Some of the examples depicted in the video is NIDAN, an Indian NGO empowering women to get micro credit loans to set up their own businesses; the 1997 Universal Primary Education reform in Uganda, now giving access to education to all children in the country; a research project in India giving poor people access to IT; community-based health care in favelas in Brazil; Medica, an NGO-run centre for therapy for women subject to domestic violence in Bosnia; womenÆs police stations in Brazil faciltating women to report sensitive crimes such as rape and domestic violence; the work of a community organisation in the poor community Sacadura Cebral, Brazil, influencing government to improve public services and housing.
This paper discusses the need for professional change in approaches to tropical agriculture. The paper begins by recognising that on many past occasions, scientists have been wrong when they thought they were right. Recognition of these errors and limitations raises the question of the comparative advantages of our knowledge and farmers' knowledge: farmers undoubtedly know a lot that scientists do not. While scientists have an advantage in knowledge of pests, bacteria and viruses, farmers have an advantage with what can be perceived through continuous field observation and concerning the intricate relationships of their farming systems. The explanation of much of the failure of past technological transfer by scientists lies in the application of simplified and standardised approaches to complex, diverse and risk-prone conditions. The paper argues for a less reductionist approach to the complexity and diversity found, which requires that the appropriate experts are consulted: farmers. Farmer participation in the research process is therefore crucial. This in turn will require changes in attitudes, such that outsiders become catalysts and consultants, and farmers are enabled to undertake their own analysis. Visual representations are a key aspect of this. The paper ends with three questions: Whose knowledge counts? Who chooses? and Who gains? and with the recognition that transforming normal professionalism is the greatest challenge faced.
This report describes the relationship between 'people-centered agricultural development', sustainability of agricultural development and the empowerment of the resource-poor people. The report also describes the evolution of the principles of people-centered agricultural development, their spread, effectiveness, and modifications in their application. (Remarks - incomplete document, maybe some pages missing at the end)
Rigour can be reductionist or inclusive. To learn about and understand conditions of complexity, emergence, nonlinearity and unpredictability, the inclusive rigour of mixed methods has been a step in the right direction. From analysis of mixed methods and participatory approaches and methods, this article postulates canons for inclusive rigour for research and evaluation for complexity: eclectic methodological pluralism; improvisation and innovation; adaptive iteration; triangulation; plural perspectives; optimal ignorance and appropriate imprecision; and being open, alert and inquisitive. Inclusive rigour is inherent in participatory methods and approaches, visualisations, group-visual synergy, the democracy of the ground and participatory statistics. Transparent reflexivity, personal behaviour and attitudes, and good facilitation are fundamental. Fully inclusive rigour for complexity demands many personal, institutional and professional revolutions.
This book is intended for all who are committed to human wellbeing and who want to make our world fairer, safer and more fulfilling for everyone, especially those who are ‘last’. It argues that to do better, we need to know better.
It provides evidence that what we believe we know in international development is often distorted or unbalanced by errors, myths, biases and blind spots. Undue weight has been attached to standardised methodologies such as randomised control trials, systematic reviews, and competitive bidding; these are shown to have huge transaction costs, which are rarely if ever recognised in their enormity.
Robert Chambers contrasts a Newtonian paradigm in which the world is seen and understood as controllable with a paradigm of complexity, which recognises that the real world of social processes and power relations is messy and unpredictable. To confront the challenges of complex and emergent realities requires a revolutionary new professionalism.
This is underpinned by a new combination of canons of rigour expressed through eclectic methodological pluralism and participatory approaches that reverse and transform power relations. Promising developments include rapid innovations in participatory information and communication technnologies (ICTs), participatory statistics, and the Reality Check Approach, with its up-to-date and rigorously grounded insights. Fundamental to the new professionalism, in every country and context, are reflexivity, facilitation, groundtruthing, personal mindsets, behaviour, attitudes, empathy and love.
In this WASH Talks video, Robert Chambers talks about the use of Rapid Action Learning (RAL) workshops, immersive research and participatory mapping methodologies in India with the purpose of checking what is actually happening on the ground, and learning from this, in relation to the national Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) (SBM-G) (clean India mission).
These methodologies have been developed and implemented with the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), WaterAid, Delhi University and the Indian government.
Failure happens. This is a community and a resource to encourage new levels of transparency, collaboration and innovation across the for-purpose sector.
It is painful for civil society organisations to acknowledge when we don’t meet our goals and objectives; it is just as painful to worry about how funders will react to such failure. The paradox is that we do everything we can to avoid these pains even though we all know failure is the best teacher and we have to be open and talk about our failures in order to learn. More than that, openly acknowledging failure is often a catalyst for innovation that takes our work from good to great.
To address this conundrum we need a paradigm shift in how civil society views failure. We think this starts with open and honest dialogue about what is working and what isn’t, so Admitting Failure exists to support and encourage organisations to (not surprisingly) admit failure.
1. To concede as true or valid <admit responsibility for a failure>
2. To allow entry <admit failure into the organization, allowing a safe space for dialogue>
Fear, embarrassment, and intolerance of failure drives our learning underground and hinders innovation.
No more. Failure is strength. The most effective and innovative organisations are those that are willing to speak openly about their failures because the only truly ‘bad’ failure is one that’s repeated.