Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) An overview
Basic Concepts in PRA • Empowerment.local confidence is generated, or reinforced, regarding the validity of their knowledge. "External" knowledge can be locally assimilated. • Respect. The PRA process transforms the researchers into learners and listeners, respecting local intellectual and analytical capabilities. • Localization. The extensive and creative use of local materials and representations encourages visual sharing and avoids imposing external representational conventions. • Enjoyment. PRA, well done, is, and should be, fun. The emphasis is no longer on "rapid" but on the process. • Inclusiveness. Enhanced sensitivity, through attention to process; include marginal and vulnerable groups, women, children, aged, and destitute.
Evolution of PRA • In its earlier version of PRA it emerged as a response to two major concerns of rural social research not adequately satisfied by conventional methods. • To develop local perspective by becoming more responsive to local people and local situations • To evolve a methodology which could provide timely and cost effective information • However, from RRA to PRA represents a change in attitudes, objectives and outcomes.
PREREQUISITES OF PRA • The right attitude: Openness Humility Curiosity Sensitivity Acceptance • The right behaviour: Showing respect Being, friendly Sharing Being patient Interacting, not lecturing
Flexibility and innovation • Taking care not to get into the not of rigid methods and fixed jargon • Allowing methods to evolve continuously • Seeking diversity • Looking for variability contradictions, among & differences rather than standardizations and averages
PRINCIPLES OF PRA • Participatory Action and Research (PAR) • It is an empowering process: • Confidence building • Capacity Building • It leads to Action • PRA can be learnt, not taught • It is not a tool for data extraction but a participatory learning and action process
It accepts approximation • PRA requires participation in deeds as well as in words • It is flexible and informal
FEATURES OF PRA • Triangulation • Multi disciplinary Team • Mixture of Techniques • In the community • Optimal ignorance and appropriate imprecision • On the spot analysis • Offsetting biases and being self-critical
Some PRA Tools • Mapping: Social, Resource, Transect Walk/Map, Mobility Map • Diagramming: Seasonal calendar, Venn Diagram, Timeline time trend, Daily Activity Profile • Discussions: FGD, one to one discussion • Ranking: Wealth and well being, preference, pair-wise • Others: Direct observation, secondary sources review, semi structured interview
PRECAUTIONS IN THE USE OF PRA TOOLS • A tool (any tool) is only as good as its user. Much on the validity of PRA outputs depends on its users creativity, integrity and the situational appropriateness of the method selected • The user must clearly distinguish between perceptions, opinions and hearsay in analysis and planning • The selection of informants has to be done with care. Every body does not know everything neither does every body hold a view on all subjects
The views expressed by a few members cannot be taken as a general view held by all • Cross-verification of data is a necessary part of a complete PRA exercise • Documentation poses several difficulties due to the wealth of information generated and the need to keep track of both process and output in ways understandable to all parties involved. • PRA exercises may raise the expectations of participants, therefore, have to be carefully initiated with proper explanations.
HOW EACH PRA EXERCISE TO BE SEEN For example: Seasonality ---- Diagram • Purpose To understand the seasonal variation in any activity / seasonal factors affecting any issues Applications • To plan agricultural / horticulture interventions by studying seasonal patterns in pest attack / rainfall / markets / storage etc., • To plan employment generation activities, by studying labor availability patterns etc.,
Preparation Required: • Make yourself clear what issues you want to study with regard to what factors • Selection of village / area • A visit to the village, to inform the villagers, and to find about their convenience. Also to seek help in identifying possible respondents • Buzz session - division of responsibilities (facilitation, interviews observer, process recorder, content recorder) • Materials – locally available materials like stones, sticks, seeds, chalk powder, large sheets of paper and marker pens to record output.
Process in the field: • Selection of convenient spot, gathering with respondents • Explain to respondents / others about the exercise • Elicit and discuss, local calendar on the ground • Plot the activities / issues on the calendar as and when it occurs • Analyze the information and also make corrections, if necessary.
Ways to cross check • Village presentation • With other methods like livelihood analysis, family profile • With secondary data • Don’ts • Don’t impose our calendar • Don’t combine too many issues / factors in one exercise • Don’t combine unrelated factors in one exercise • Follow the don’ts of interviewing
HOW TO DOCUMENT? Entire process (including ground work) to be recorded Transfer the actual output (chart..) to a paper, without making changes (land to lab) A narration to explain the output A record of the interpretation / analysis A record of possible actions, if any
Some tips for PRA • Do not lecture: look, listen and learn • Facilitate, not dominate: do not interfere or interrupt • Embrace error: show it not hide • Try to obtain opinion from all groups • Relax, do not rush • Meet people when it suits them • Use helpers: what, why, who, how, when & where
References • Paudel, G.R. (2002)PRA Manual. TITI • Theis J.& Grady, H.M. (1991). Participatory Rapid Appraisal for Community Development. UK: IIED • Mukherjee, A. (Ed.) (1995). Participatory Rapid Appraisal Methods and applications in rural planning. New Delhi:Vikas Publishing House. • Bhandari, B.B. Participatory Rural Appraisal. • Adebo, S. (2000).Training Manual PRA. Addis Ababa.