Methods for Community Participation: A Complete Guide for Practitioners (Paperback)
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'Somesh Kumar has compiled this useful collection with the intention of promoting creativity, experimentation and growth. This is, then, a source of ideas and advice, not a set of marching orders.' - Robert Chambers. This book combines the concept, practice and application of participatory rural appraisal (PRA) in a comprehensive manner. The author views PRA as a means of opening up new ways of approaching various problems within the development process. He defines it as a growing body of methods to enable local people to share, enhance and analyse their knowledge of life and conditions in order to plan, act, monitor and evaluate their actions. The basic premise of PRA is that poor and marginalized people are capable of analysing their own realities and that they should be enabled to do so. The book provides examples from experiences, material with directions for use, as well as possibilities for innovation. It is rich in insight from actual practice in the field, and contains useful tips on the best practices which readers and practitioners will find extremely valuable. The book is divided into four parts. Part 1 deals with the concept of participation and explores its multiple dimensions. Parts 2 and 3 deal with the methods of PRA. Each method is explained with an introduction, applications, examples, a process outlining the steps, the time and material required, and the advantages and limitations of using these methods. The final part provides a summary of the concept of PRA. Somesh Kumar joined the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in 1989, after a brief stint as a psychologist in the Ministry of Defence, Government of India. Mr. Kumar has worked in various capacities with the most backward communities in Andhra Pradesh and has implemented a number of innovative programmes including externally funded participatory development projects. He has also served as Director of the PRA Division of ActionAid India (1996-2000). As its first chief executive, he established Praxis - Institute for Participatory Practices, Patna, as a centre of excellence in participatory development. A leading PRA practitioner, he has contributed significantly to the repertoire of PRA methods. He has conducted extensive training programmes in participatory development in India and abroad for grassroots activists and senior level NGO professionals as well as for government agencies in varied fields.