|Participatory Impact Monitoring - PIM : Selected Reading Examples (GTZ)|
D'ABREO, Desmond A.: Training for Participatory Evaluation. In FERNANDES, Walter & TANDON, Rajesh - Indian Social Institute: Participatory Research and Evaluation, New Delhi (India), 1981.
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Development programmes are multiplying all over the country with an incredibly rapid momentum. Funds from the country itself whether from government or private sources and from abroad arc easily made available for those who want to launch out on development programmes. But the impact of these programmes is far less in proportion to the resources poured into them. The reasons for this disproportion arc numerous but an outstanding one is the lack of proper and regular evaluation of these programmes.
There is indeed evaluation but it is carried out in a one-way, downward communication. It is carried out from outside and concentrates mostly on the upper strata of the personnel implementing the programme, and only obliquely touches the real people at the grass-roots, who, as a matter of fact, should constitute the real agents of their own development. In most programmes, rural or urban, the masses arc more the object than the subject of their evaluation, so much so that they look on an evaluation as a 'checking up' by outsiders on the agency which is implementing the project. The people arc neither involved in the programmes as planners and agents of their own development process, nor are they involved in any evaluation of their programmes.
Today the emphasis is gradually and steadily shifting in some development programmes to involve people in planning and implementation of their own development. A dialogical relationship is being built up between people and programme-initiators. An important part of this dialogical relationship is the evaluation that is done in collaboration with the people, not on or for them.
However, in order that the people be capable of participatory evaluation, it is essential that they be trained to do so. They have to see the importance of evaluation, its goals and limitations, its requirements and its components. They must be aided to develop the skills required for fruitful evaluation. This paper will discuss one such programme-the training method we follow at 'Development Education Service' (DEEDS). Without pretending to propose it as a model, we hope that the principles we try to follow will be of help to others.
Training for whom?
Community development work must be implemented by the community, rather than by any external organisation or outside persons. The people in a community are endowed with the abilities to think, organise themselves and make their own decisions. It should he the planning and implementing agency of its own development processes. However it is not possible to involve the whole community equally in any development process however grassroots-oriented that programme might be. It is commonly accepted that whenever any change is conceived for a group of people however large or small there is only about five per cent who are ready followers of the plan for change. Around fifteen to twenty per cent will follow after a certain amount of persuasion and reflection. Thirty or forty per cent will hesitate till they see concrete results of the changes from the new plan. Another twenty per cent will follow when they see that the rest are nil toeing the line. The remaining minority will not bother whether there is change or not and are ready to adapt to both ways.
To try to train persons indiscriminately from such a diversity of attitudes would be a waste of time and resources besides causing a diffusion of enthusiasm among those who might be ready for training and new action. Hence, it is important to work along the lines of a 'nuclear growth process. The training should first concentrate on those five per cent of people who are ready to accept education for change. These would be persons
who are dissatisfied with the present situation who have a certain degree of commitment to the community, who are acceptable to at least some part of the community especially the poor and the oppressed, and who are found to have a certain perseverance. It is these people that the animator or field worker should try to select through a process of identification with the community and personal rapport. He should concentrate on training this core group intensively. After their training is over the trainees will in turn select those persons from their community to whom they are acceptable and train them. This process will create a sizable number of people who could affect the thinking and behaviour of the larger community and be starting point of change process that can lead to a mass movement.
The preliminary training of the core group who constitute the cadre of local activists should focus on critical awareness-building process starting from a deep analysis of their community s basic felt need. This training can give them a vision, of development, a clear ideology and understanding of an effective approach to be adopted in the development of their community. It should also give them the requisite skills of group discussion, working in collaboration with others who build a strong team spirit elements which are essential requirements for participatory evaluation.
It is only after these activists have been identified and trained through a process of reflection and action that they can be exposed to a training programme for participatory evaluation. Without this prior training and experience in the field the effectiveness of any training for participatory evaluation should be very limited. It would end up being a mere academic exercise which would not bear much practical fruit since it would not have the foundation of a real experience of working in community development. In brief, it is our contention that there can be no training in participatory evaluation unless there has been a training and active experience in genuine community development.
There is another consideration that needs to he made when conducting a training programme on participatory evaluation. Generally when a training programme for development is conducted participants come from different organisations that are already involved in some form of development activity. We feel that it is not fruitful to give such a mixed group a training in participatory evaluation. In the first place, these are generally development workers, not activists. Secondly, they are individuals from various development agencies. However, much as the training might have changed their attitudes, values and ideas, it cannot result in participatory evaluation of their programmes, since on re-entry, they realise that others working in the programme back home have not changed, and their ideas on participatory evaluation will be accepted neither by the other personnel of the implementing agency nor by the people at the grassroots. We therefore feel that it is much more practical and meaningful to restrict the participants of a training programme on participatory evaluation to activists working in the same community.
Nature of training
We believe that the usual training programmes conducted in most training centres are not suitable for training activists who are to be involved in participatory action and evaluation. According to traditional lines, training (and education, for that matter) is seen to be transfer of selected information, knowledge and skills from the trainers to the trainees. The trainers teach, the trainees are taught. They are mere objects of the training, neither given the opportunity to choose the programme content or methodology, nor the chance of being consulted about it. The trainers enforce their choice and are active, while the trainees are given the mere illusion of acting through action of the trainers. This kind of training, whose content, methodology and ambiance are decided beforehand by the trainer, are basically hierarchical, undemocratic and non-participatory. The outcome of such a "raining is unlikely to lead to participatory action and evaluation.
After such a training programme, the trainees can only be expected to adopt the attitudes and roles of the trainers in their own work. They also become 'trainers' in their relations with people, deciding for them, planning for them, not taking them into their confidence about the programme and its phases! and worst of all, considering them as people to he taught because they are ignorant, unprepared and incapable of trying the responsibility for their own development.
Being aware of nil these serious shortcomings of the traditional training processes, we realise that the training for participatory evaluation must found itself on a totally different orientation. Since our ultimate aim is participatory evaluation, the first requisite of a training programme for activists should be that it be a process of group interaction and formation of team spirit. Group discussion and group work facilitates the acquisition of attitudes, knowledge and skills which activists need for effective functioning as persons who identify and work with the people.
Secondly, evaluation demands an open mind which implies questioning and not taking things at their face value. Hence, this attitude must be an outcome of training. The training programme and its setting should create an atmosphere where the trainees discover knowledge for themselves in a situation of group dialogue, where everyone participates with a questioning and open mind. It is important that this open and questioning attitude be manifest not only in the trainees but also in the trainers. This, as we have indicated earlier, implies a basic and deep humility and patience.
It is in this area that the greatest difficulty is encountered in initiating this type of training. Most training or educational programmes that begin with a sincere attempt to work on lea rner-oriented participatory lines, gradually degenerate into lecture sessions that are primarily teacher-oriented. This is because it requires much more imagination, preparation and hard work to have dialogical learning. It demands a real knowledge of the trance, his centres of interest, his stock of knowledge which is to be the starting point of the educational process. It involves a keen personal observation and closer interpersonal relationship between the trainer and the trainees. It is far easier to prepare and give lectures. Besides, a lecture can cover a lot more material which will require more time if attempted in a dialogical discovery process.
The objective of our training is participatory research and evaluation. For such activities, it is necessary that those who participate in evaluation draw out the conclusions through a process of personal reflection on the data they receive, observe and verify. They cannot be satisfied with merely collecting statements and accepting them without personal thought and assessment. ( they can be prepared for this reflection by the methodology of training offered to them. We must realise that education is not what we give to the trainees, not a banking system in which we deposit a certain amount of data in their minds, but rather a process in which their potentialities are drawn out and their experiences reflected upon in order that they arrive at their own vision and convictions with regard to development and change.
It must be admitted that there are a lot of difficulties in attempting this style of training. To begin with, the trainees, who are from the grassroots, are not prepared for this kind of exercise. Most of them are semi-literate, or if they have been to school, are products of an educational system that gears people to tee objects, at the receiving end and with no allowance for initiative in the learning process. Much less are they prepared to think and to control what and how they learn. Hence, their evaluatory powers are totally neglected anti are generally atrophied. To break clown this passivity and the audience/performer relationship requires lot of practical activity in which the trainer is neither controlling nor being the focus of attention.
This leads to the next requirement of such a training programme for participation in evaluation. The distinction between trainers and trainees is reduced to the barest minimum. The role of a trainer is to be a facilitator who creates an environment in which all the participants can express themselves freely, can ask questions, express doubts, attempt solutions and learn without any hesitation or inhibition. The trainer too realises in such a process that he is a learner with others. The reality is discovered, analysed and studied by all in common and is not handed down by one individual to the rest. The relationship between trainer and trainee has to be a genuine dialogical one so that it can later on be realised in their work of evaluation. No longer should they make a dichotomy between the evaluator and the people as objects of evaluation. They will make evaluation a process of dialogue.
This identification of trainer with trainees is enhanced if both share in the living conditions and avoid disparities of food, accommodation, etc. These things make a lot of difference, for the activists who come from a poorer stratum of society will be encouraged by these external details to lose their fears and inhibitions and will gain in self-confidence. This equally is a very tangible way of deepening the attitude of democracy and participation.
A fourth requirement of training for participatory evaluation is that it aims at acquiring and strengthening a set of values which differ totally from those underpinning the present social system. The training must incorporate the values that underlay participatory evaluation-values of sharing cooperation, humility, open-mindedness and patience to learn from the people, objectivity in judgment, justice, equality, team spirit and honesty. The acquisition of such values is essential for working among the oppressed for helping them to bring about a radical change in the society and for an objective and constructive evaluation of their programmes If these values are not precede but exercised and actively emphasised during the training programme, new energies will be created or released in the trainees as well as in the trainers to act with, conviction and courage in their various struggles at different levels. If the training programme is patterned on democratic participatory and non-hierarchial lines it will already set the foundation for the acquisition and deepening of many of these values A concrete example of sharing and team spirit of dialogue and equality will be manifested when the participants are involved in decision-making about host if not all aspects of the training programme.
Finally, it is important that a training programme for activists should enable them to develop a questioning and analytical mind in order to have a scientific approach to the understanding of the reality around them. The starting point of such a programme will be the reality as experienced by the participants in their life and work. From the known they will proceed to the unknown For this purpose, the problems and issues to be discussed should be determinated not beforehand, but in COnsultation with the participants according to their needs and expectations.
Methodology of training
The training methodology outlined here consiste of two parts: one a foundation training as development activist and another a specific training in participatory evaluation. Both are described below.