Participatory Action Research
Challenges of Implementation
The Ideal Scenario
Communities and community members engaged in the research as active agents (design, implementation and communication of outcomes)Learning continues to inform community reflection and action (and that of other communities)Learning continues to inform the research process
Research project has no grassroots base or ownershipThe communities investigated are in crisis. Action research would be a luxuryPartner time, resources and ability to commit (OAU restructuring)
What We Did
Collaboration between academics and practitionersUse of participatory research methodology drawn from PAR toolsFeedback and validation with participating communities
The Way Forward
Focusing on using the learning from the research to inform the work of Oxfam and its affiliatesOpportunities to disseminate findings to Oxfam and extended NGO community (national and local)Opportunities to feed into strategizing around the water governanceprogrammeand downward accountability to the affected communitiesThrough this, opportunities for follow up and supportcommunityactionOpportunities to feed into other Oxfam initiatives such as the Active Citizenship and Accountability hub
Complexity of research can make it difficult to pin point findings that can be used for learning and applicationPartners in the research need to plan and budget for activities and, ensure they have the available time, money, human and material resources to implement initiatives.Need to keep abreast of rapidly changing situation and ensure action research contributes to, rather than hampers, the need for immediate action.
The ambition for Participatory Action Research has to be matched with the reality of the research contextInvolvement of “research subjects” requires their ownership over the process from the beginningTiming, resources, length of commitment are important considerationsRapidly changing political and policy context may prove contrary to the slower cycle of learning and actionResearch and development partners need to develop strong-two way information sharingSome participation and applied learning are better than none!