PART II: METHODS
Participatory Approaches: A facilitator’s guide
Frequently, development workers will enter asituation where this needs analysis is alreadycompleted (often with only level 1 or 2participation). However, if opportunities stillexist to increase the level of participation, PRAis useful to help clarify issues or share ideas.The benefits of making initial appraisal andassessment as participatory aspossibleinclude the following:1.The ethos of participation is establishedfrom the start.2.Stakeholders become empowered to shapeprojects from the outset, dramaticallyincreasing their commitment to the project,its appropriateness and sustainability.3.Discussion of objectives reveals potentialconflicts before they hinder success.4.Opportunities arise for mutual learning andunderstanding.5.PRA data can complement baseline andevaluation information.The time required will vary. It may take alarge group meeting to go through the firstanalysis, another smaller team to gatherinformation, and then another meeting of thelarge group to conduct a final analysis usingthe new information.The first step is for all stakeholders to sharetheir objectives, and for development workersto clarify what they can and cannot do. It maytake some time for stakeholders to discuss anddetermine their problems and to establish jointobjectives.
Tools that may help include
Open-Ended Stories,Picture Stories, Flow Diagrams, Problem Trees.
In some situations, this may be going toofar,too fast. It is essential to build rapportand develop an understanding of the localcontext before moving too quickly intoproblem identification. Tools that mayassistthis process include
toestablish stakeholders’ identity and history,
to showwhen and where livelihood and culturalactivities takeplace.All parties should clearly understandtheirown responsibilities and have identifiedoverlapping areas of interest to clarify theirstake in the process. Constraints need tobeidentified, including social, cultural andinstitutional factors. Tools that may assistthis process include
. Successful communityorganisations can be used to modelnewcommunity structures.The community may be divided in such a way(gender, caste, politics) that groups will notcooperate unless they see equal benefits.Discussions of constraints may bring up verysensitive issues, but these do not have to bechallenged or resolved. They must only berecognised so that planning and negotiationstake them into account.
The next step is to identify suitable activitiesor development interventions thatwillimprove the situation, and to rank these inorder of importance. Each activity can beanalysed for its feasibility given localconditions. The information needed forthisanalysis may exist within the group.Stakeholders can revisit the outputs ofprevious tools, or carry out new activitiestoexplore the information, such as
Drawing and Discussion
, discussion starters,
Picture Stories, Semi-Structured Interviews,Ranking, Rating, Sorting
The information may need to be shared withother interests before selection of appropriatedevelopment interventions can take place. Theinformation needs to be recorded and stored toassist later phases ofthe process.There are many PRA resources on the web,notably the manuals and toolkits of FAO(United Nations Food and AgricultureOrganisation). One useful search engine is at: