From PRA to PLA and Pluralism: Practice and Theory
Robert Chambers (2007)
PRA (participatory rural appraisal) and the more inclusive PLA (participatory learning and action) are families of participatory methodologies which have evolved as behaviours and attitudes, methods, and practices of sharing. During the 1990s and 2000s PRA/PLA has spread and been applied in most countries in the world.
Among the multifarious domains of application, some of the more common have been natural resource management and agriculture, programmes for equity, empowerment, rights and security, and community-level planning and action. Related participatory methodologies which have co-evolved and spread widely as movements include farmer participatory research, Integrated Pest Management, Reflect, Stepping Stones and Participatory Geographic Information Systems. Ideologically and epistemologically PRA/PLA seeks and embodies participatory ways to empower local and subordinate people, enabling them to express and enhance their knowledge and take action. It can be understood as having three main components: facilitators' behaviours, attitudes and mindsets linked with precepts for action; methods which combine visuals, tangibles and groups; and sharing without boundaries. The interplay of these resonates with theories of chaos, complexity, emergence and deep simplicity, especially self-organising systems on the edge of chaos. Good practice has moved towards an eclectic pluralism in which branding, labels, ownership and ego give way to sharing, borrowing, improvisation, creativity and diversity, all these complemented by mutual and critical reflective learning and personal responsibility.
Keywords: participatory methodologies; networks; pluralism; practice; theory.
Urban conservation policy and the preservation of historical and cultural heritage
The case of Singapore
Sim Loo Lee (1996)
School of Building & Estate Management, National University of Singapore, 10 Kent Ridge Crescent, 119260 Singapore
In cities experiencing rapid economic growth, historic districts with rich cultural heritage are often demolished and replaced by modern high-rise buildings. This article shows the success of Singapore's urban conservation policy in preserving its historic districts in the face of a fastn expanding economy and rapid urban development. A survey in the conservation areas shows that the policy has succeeded in preserving the historic old shophouses to a large extent. An analysis of the use of shophouses shows that the policy has also succeeded in retaining the activities which reflect the community life in the core areas of Chinatown, Kampong Glam and Little India. This is because the policy allows for the operation of market forces which makes preservation and restoration of the old shophouses viable. Copyright © 1996 Elsevier Science Ltd.
Cities, Vol. 13, No. 6, pp. 399-409, 1996, copyright © 1996 Elsevier Science Ltd
Printed in Great Britain. All rights reserved
Addressing the gaps or dispelling the myths? Participatory approaches in low-income urban communities.
Mitlin, D. u. J. Thompson (1994)
This overview article for this special issue of RRA Notes focusing on participatory tools and methods in urban areas introduces the papers included in the collection and highlights some of the key issues. It discusses the 'problem' of applying participatory approaches in urban communities, and compares participatory approaches in urban and rural areas. It finds that, despite clear economic, social and environmental differences between low-income rural and urban communities, they have many aspects in common. Rural and urban are inextricably linked, as the livelihoods of many low-income people depend on resources in both spheres. This reality is often obscured by the compartmentalisation of the development profession into 'rural' and 'urban' disciplines.
The World Bank Participation Sourcebook. Environment Development Papers. Washington, D.C.
World Bank (1996)
This study assesses the extent to which the India program is meeting the Bank's objective of mainstreaming participartory approaches in project preparation and design. Ten projects, in which participation was an overall project objective, were selected from a portfolio of about 80 projects appraised between 1990 and 1998. The projects were assumed to provide "good practice" lessons from a variety of social and natural resource management sectors. The assessment was done through interviews and content analysis of project appraisal documents from the project preparation process. Fieldwork was carried out in two of the projects in Andhra Pradesh, India...
Reaching the Unreachable: Barriers of the Poorest to Accessing NGO Healthcare Services in Bangladesh.
N. Ahmed, M. Alam et al. (2006)
The NGO Service Delivery Program (NSDP), a USAID-funded programme, is the largest NGO programme in Bangladesh. Its strategic flagship activity is the essential services package through which healthcare services are administered by NGOs in Bangladesh. The overall goal of the NSDP is to increase access to essential healthcare services by communities, especially the poor. Recognizing that the poorest in the community often have no access to essential healthcare services due to various barriers, a study was conducted to identify what the real barriers to access by the poor are. This included investigations to further understand the perceptions of the poor of real or imagined barriers to accessing healthcare; ways for healthcare centres to maximize services to the poor; how healthcare providers can maximize service-use; inter-personal communication between healthcare providers and those seeking healthcare among the poor; and ways to improve the capacity of service providers to reach the poorest segment of the community...
Scaling up or scaling down? The experience of institutionalizing participatory rural appraisal in the slum improvement projects in India.
Kar, K. u. S. Philipps (1998)
A description of the experiences of institutionalising participatory approaches in the Slum Improvements Projects (SIPs) in India. The article highlights the risks of standardisation that can occur when scaling up. It also demonstrates how follow-up activities can easily be neglected, so that PRA remains at the appraisal stage. This article suggests 'scaling down' to success stories where the PRA is not an end in itself but leads to project activities. The article also outlines experiences of innovative and experiential learning by allowing slum dwellers to describe directly their life to project staff.
Farming in the city: Participatory appraisal of urban and peri-urban agriculture in Kampala, Uganda.
Atukunda, G., F. Baseke et al. (2003)
Urban agriculture is widely practiced both within the municipal boundaries and peri-urban areas of Kampala, Uganda's capital city. To assist local authorities, policy makers, NGO's and researchers to promote and make informed decisions and interventions in this sector, there is need to systematically document all aspects of urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA). The Urban Harvest (formerly SIUPA), a system-wide initiative of the Future Harvest Centers of the CGIAR, convened by the International Potato Center (CIP) since 1999, supports research and development activities on UPA in three African cities: Kampala (Uganda), Yaounde (Cameroon) and Nairobi (Kenya)...
Whose voice? Participatory research and policy change
Holland, J. u. J. Blackburn (1998)
Knowing poverty. Critical reflections on participatory research and policy.
Brock, K. (2002)