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close this bookPHAST Step-by-Step Guide: A Participatory Approach for the Control of Diarrhoeal Disease (PHAST - SIDA - UNDP - WB - WHO, 2000, 137 p.)
close this folderPart I: Introduction to the PHAST
close this folderPurpose and overview of the guide
View the documentWhy use this guide?
View the documentWho this guide is for
View the documentWhat PHAST tries to achieve
View the documentWhat are participatory methods?
View the documentWhy use participatory methods?
View the documentPHAST and empowerment
View the documentHow the guide is organized

PHAST and empowerment

The PHAST approach helps people to feel more confident about themselves and their ability to take action and make improvements in their communities. Feelings of empowerment and personal growth are as important as the physical changes, such as cleaning up the environment or building latrines. These personal development principles are well illustrated by the following quotations from people who have participated in a PHAST activity.

“I've been to a lot of community meetings over the years but have never been able to speak out. Because I can't read and write I lacked confidence. But with these methods I feel confident to speak. When I see a drawing of a problem in our community, I say to myself, “I know this problem and I can speak about it.””

“I used to think it was somebody else's problem and wait for others to do something. Now I don't want to wait, I want to start work now!”

“All my life people have been coming here and telling us what to do. This is the first time anyone ever listened to what we think.”

So it is important to evaluate the overall results of the activities both in terms of sanitation improvements and empowerment. Communities can find it very difficult, though, to evaluate their progress in terms of behaviour changes, improvement in facilities, such as clean properly functioning latrines, and effective use of these facilities. The guide therefore includes activities to enable a community group to evaluate its progress. This would be internal evaluation. Sometimes, an outside or external evaluation to provide specific information, perhaps for comparison with another programme, may also be required. If this is the case, you may need to involve someone with the skills to collect this information and to write a report of their findings. You should find out if information of this kind is needed before you start work with your community group. If so, a participatory approach to monitoring and evaluation should be used by the person(s) who will collect the information. They should be involved from the very start, attend all the meetings and be treated in the same way as any other participant. The outside evaluation person should involve the community as much as possible in information collection and most importantly report any findings to the group in a way it will understand and find interesting.

Suggestions for designing an external evaluation can be found in Hygiene evaluation procedures: approaches and methods for assessing water- and sanitation-related hygiene practices. (See References.)

Key definitions

A step may contain one or more activities, aimed at achieving one overall objective.

An activity is what the group works through in order to discover the information and skills necessary to reach understanding or take a decision.

A toolkit is the set of materials (such as drawings) that the facilitator uses as visual aids for facilitating activities. Different participatory toolkits can be created - for example, one for diarrhoeal diseases, another for nutrition and another for AIDS. Part III provides guidance on how to create a toolkit.

Tools are the techniques and materials used by the facilitator to help the group work through an activity. They should be adapted to the environment and circumstances of the group you are working with. You can also add to them on the basis of your own experience. See Part III for lists of sample drawings.