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Institutionalising participation and people-centred processes in natural resource management : research and publications highlights


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This report presents the background and rationale for the IIED-IDS action research on institutionalising participatory approaches and people centered processes in natural resource management. The methodologies used in the different case studies (India, Indonesia, Senegal, Mexico and other settings) are then introduced, along with the complementary studies undertaken in this collaborative research programme. The last section of this report contains highlights of all the publications in the Institutionalising Participation Series, and a summary of each

A global look to the local : replacing economic globalisation with democratic localisation

HINES, Colin

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This discussion paper seeks to identify the forms of economic organisation that might best support the institutionalisation of participation and people-centred processes in development. Written in a non-academic and accessible style, the paper renews with traditions of political and economic philosophy that propose ethical norms to guide social relations and the organisation of economic life. Using food systems as a unifying example, the author shows how localisation reverses the trend of corporate globalisation by discriminating in favour of the local. This approach to organising economic life has local self-reliance and the potential to increase self-determination at its core. A set of mutually reinforcing policies that can potentially increase control of the economy by communities and nation states are described. Localisation has the potential to foster and help institutionalise democratic participation in its broadest sense. For example it is anticipated that 'economic democracy' will occur via involvement in increasingly diverse national production. More 'electoral democracy' is likely since people have a greater incentive to vote when local and national governments have greater control over their own economies. Forms of direct and participatory democracy can also spread and become institutionalised under a localisation approach that introduces a guaranteed citizen income and re-affirms a commitment to self-determination

Evaluating capacity development : experiences from research and development organizations around the world

HORTON, Douglas
et al

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This book is the result of the Evaluating Capacity Development (ECD) Project, begun by ISNAR in January 2000, which aimed to improve capacity development efforts in research and development organizations through the use of evaluation. It explains how the project used an action-learning approach, bringing together people from various countries and different types of organisations. Six evaluation studies were conducted over the course of three years: exploring capacity development in a rural development NGO in Bangladesh; towards strategic management in a Cuban agricultural research institute; understanding capacity development in a plant genetic resources centre in Ghana; assessing organisational change in an agricultural faculty in Nicaragua; strengthening participatory research capacities in a Philippines root crops research centre; and expanding capacities in a rural development institute in Vietnam. Chapter 1 provides background reading on the ECD project that gave rise to the book. Chapter 2 discusses basic concepts of organisational capacity, capacity development and evaluation. Chapter 3 addresses two fundamental issues: why managers should be concerned with organisational capacity development and why they should evaluate capacity development efforts. Chapter 4 discusses issues related to the 'how' of capacity development. Chapter 5 discusses partnerships for capacity development while 6 outlines approaches and methods for evaluating organisational capacity development. Chapter 7 discusses how to utilize evaluation processes and results to advance capacity development and performance in an organisation

Trade liberalisation, poverty and livelihoods : understanding the linkages

KANJI, Nazneen

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A short policy briefing that examines key analytical approaches that are used to understand linkages between trade, poverty and livelihoods, to apply these to Sub-Saharan Africa. Considers the approach of 'mainstream economics' that tends to see the effects of trade liberalisation as positive, and the wider 'socio-economic livelihoods' perspective, which sees liberalisation in a less positive light. Concludes that the two approaches are incompatible in that they refer to different 'domains' of understanding. Explores three potentially promising approaches to integrate the approaches; a 'value chain' analysis that looks at inclusion or exclusion from international networks of trade and regulation; a gender perspective that considers economics as a 'gendered structure'; and a 'sustainable development perspective' that attempts to more accurately assess the environmental impact of trade liberalisation

Prajateerpu : a citizens jury. Scenario workshop on food and farming futures for Andhra Pradesh, India


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Prajapeertu ('people's verdict') was devised as a means of allowing the people most affected by the Andhra Pradesh government's Vision 2020 for food and farming to shape a vision of their own. The members of the jury, drawn from communities of small and marginal farmers, interrogated a range of witnesses including representatives from the Government of AP, a transnational agrochemical company, NGOs, universities and government advisory panels and compared alternative development models for the rural economy. They rejected land consolidation, displacement of rural people, contract farming, GM crops, and mechanisation, all of which formed part of Vision 2020, and instead called for self-reliance and community control over resources and recognition of local knowledge and institutions. The report covers the methodology and implementation of, and rationale behind, deliberative democracy and citizen empowerment, and how these processes can be used to further political change, human rights, social justice, and empowerment. [Publisher's abstract]

Petals and thorns : the dilemmas of PLA and debt bondage

BUSZA, Joanna
DA, Ly Saranda
et al
February 2001

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Successful participatory activities rely on community interest and enthusiasm. The very involvement of participants is assumed to demonstrate their consent, and the number of activities or rates of attendance often serve as process indicators for monitoring a project. However, what if community members do not control their daily movements? This article examines the dilemmas faced by a community development project working with debt-bonded sex workers in Cambodia. It outlines the ethical concerns that the project team has faced so far, and described in detail what steps were taken to try to address the most important of these issues: that of consent

Participation and sustainability in social projects : the experience of the local development programme (PRODEL) in Nicaragua

STEIN, Alfredo

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This paper describes the work of the Local Development Programme (PRODEL) in the eight cities in Nicaragua where it provided low-income groups with small grants for infrastructure and community works projects, and loans for housing improvement and micro-enterprises. Donor funds were matched by municipal, community, and household contributions. Between 1994 and 1998 more than 38,000 households benefited and both loan programmes achieved good levels of cost recovery. The paper describes the micro-planning workshops and other methodologies, and explains how local governments and the bank responsible for managing the loans learned to work in a more participatory way, and it outlines the measures taken to ensure that the needs and priorities of women and children were addressed. The paper considers lessons learned in sustaining the initiatives and institutionalising citizen participation in social programmes, and describes how PRODEL's methods have come to be used by central and local governments in other programmes. [Publisher's abstract]

Popular communications [whole issue]

October 2000

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The special theme section of this issue of PLA Notes examines how popular communications can be used to engage with local people and bring the views of those who are generally excluded to a broader arena for sharing and exchange. It illustrates how popular media can act as a powerful mechanism to bring policy makers and local people together and shows the potential of certain popular communications techniques (eg participatory video, theatre for development etc) for community empowerment.The issue also contains five general issues on PLA approaches and experiences

Worker-led participatory research and evaluation : lessons from the real world : reflections of the SREPP participants


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In 1997, four US union health and safety training programmes entered into a three-year, multi-union learning action-research collaborative, the Self-sufficiency Research and Evaluation Pilot Project (SREPP). This initiative sought to build the research and evaluation capacities of the participating unions' training by offering a new model of participatory learning and action in the area of worker health and safety. Existing examples of participatory action research in this field have tended to concentrate on single worksites and start with a stakeholder labour management model. By contrast, this project has sought to foster participatory learning across programmes from a union perspective. It uses and expands on the peer-training model to institutionalise a new base of worker produced knowledge. During the last of SREPP’s four training workshops participants reflected on their experiences in the project through a series of participatory activities. In this article the background to the project is followed by the words of SREPP participants describing what it takes to learn about and do participatory evaluation in the context of union-based, worker-led health and safety training programmes. This includes a look at what was learned and how, as well as supports and barriers to participatory evaluation and the model that they have developed

Critical reflections from practice [whole issue]

GUIJT, Irene
October 1995

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Revisits the principles and practice of participatory rural appraisal in several articles. Addresses concerns and differing perspectives. Interrogates the concept of participation, and implicitly suggests ways forward that empower and include vulnerable groups in development

Participatory monitoring and evaluation

February 1988

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One of the PLA Notes special editions, includes articles on: tracking change together; monitoring and evaluating in the Nepal-UK Community Forest Project; particpatory self-evaluation of World Neighbors, Burkino Faso; institutional issues for monitoring local development in Ecuador; growing from the grassroots: building participatory planning, monitoring and evaluation methods in PARC; ELF - 3 year impact evaluation: experiences and insights; Participatory monitoring and evaluation in flood proofing pilot project, CARE-Bangladesh