|Towards Sustainable Water Resources Management - A Strategic Approach (European Commission, 1998, 351 pages)|
|Part III: Aids for the application of the strategic approach|
|Chapter 13: Programme and project aids|
The purpose of PRA is to gather information in a non-extractive way. This will mean that the information is owned by the local people and its analysis is also theirs. The function of the participatory facilitator is to help them to analyse and understand their situation so that they can plan for the future.
The most important issue for stakeholders is information. The more and the better the quality of information available, at the earliest possible stage, the more effective the participatory process will be. Planners and designers should therefore make certain that accurate information is available to all stakeholders from the very beginning of the project.
The following guidelines are helpful for giving information:
· Give information about the proposed project to stakeholders and user groups at the earliest opportunity and before any major decisions are taken.
· Use national and local media to publish information - newspapers, radio, TV.
· Set up consultative committees before any decisions are taken.
· Involve existing groups as well as setting up new groups.
· Be certain that both women and men are involved on an equal basis. Ideally each committee and group should have equal numbers of men and women.
· Be sure that there are gender-aware women in the planning team, and that the planning and design team has had gender training.
· Use Participatory Appraisal methods to gather information.
PRA draws upon the following menu of sources and activities:
· Use of secondary data, maps and reports for background information;
· Direct observation;
· Case studies and stories from local experts;
· Semi-structured interviews using key probing questions;
· Transect walks: systematically walking through an area with local guides, observing, asking, listening, discussing, learning about different soil zones, land uses, vegetation, crops, livestock, technologies etc.
· Group discussions of various kinds (casual, random, focus, representative, community);
· Mapping and modelling: people mapping with sticks, stones, coloured paper etc. to show their view of their world;
· Time-lines, trend and change analysis: chronologies of events; accounts of the past, to analyse causes of change and local trends;
· Seasonal calendars: to show distribution of climate data, crop cycles, work patterns;
· Daily time use analysis: showing amounts of time and degrees of drudgery;
· Well-being (or wealth) grouping (or ranking): local criteria to establish poorest, worst-off, most deprived etc.;
· Matrix scoring and ranking: using matrices and counters to compare preferences and conditions.
Further references: Participatory Rapid Appraisal for Community Development: IIED and SCF, 1991. Introduction to Rapid Rural Appraisal for Agricultural Development, IIED, 1988.