Disability continues to remain at the core of underdevelopment, and yet has failed to attract due space in mainstream development processes despite the paradigm shift in conceptualizing disability from the bio-physical medical model to a social model with work premised in a rights-based approach. Recognizing the need for mainstreaming disability within development by building wider alliances within the development sector, a participatory action research (PAR) project was initiated in Gujarat, India. Using self-reflexivity, the article examines the experiences of participatory approaches from a disability perspective. It discusses the potential of participatory approaches in: revealing a community’s own and distinctive definitions/conceptions of disability, invisibility of persons with disabilities at the village level, unequal access to essential services and creating an educational space, both for persons with disabilities and others. It further outlines the limitations in failing: to ‘accommodate’ persons with disabilities owing to methodological inadequacies in field level exercises and in providing space for persons with disabilities to resist domination, themselves. The article identifies the re-emphasising of the researcher-subject power differential in participatory approaches from a disability perspective and calls for research strategies which are emancipatory for persons with disabilities.
This PGIS Training Kit has been developed by CTA and IFAD with the objective "to support the spread of 'good practice' in generating, managing, analysing and communicating community spatial information". It includes 15 modules written by a number of authors and is available from the website
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.
These guidelines are the result of dedicated work originally in Bangladesh, where this approach was developed, and subsequently in Malawi where it was applied and improved. The document explains the Community-led approach to development (CLA), examines its successes, defines the key principles and goes on to detail the main stages of using this approach to development. It concludes with future challenges. There is a short animated film entitled ‘Citizen-led approach’ that accompanies these guidelines.
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.