The inspiration for this research project was the recognition of flaws
in DDSP's prior experience of so-called participatory research with
disabled people in Pursat. DDSP, like many other community development
NGOs, aims to empower its target population in the development process,
which can in part be achieved through realising the target population's
genuine participation in assessing the community's needs. Disabled
people are often the most marginalised people in the community and
enabling their participation in community assessments presents
additional challenges. Experience from other NGOs suggested that
disabled people were similarly excluded from community assessments even
though approaches used were described as 'participatory', eg.
participatory rural appraisal (PRA). PRAs were too dominated by
well-educated, mostly urban NGO staff and local authorities, while the
voices of rural disabled people were not sufficiently heard.
The goal of the research project was to examine rural disabled people's
role in all stages of a PRA exercise. The project aimed to maximise the
control of the research process by rural disabled people and the
participation of disabled people in village PRA activities. The project
assessed the implementing team's performance in gaining PRA skills and
facilitating PRA activities, and the village disabled people's
participation in these activities. Recommendations were made on training
rural disabled people in PRA, improving their facilitation of PRA
exercises and increasing the participation of all disabled people
(including women, children and people with severe disabilities) in the
exercises. A secondary goal of the research project was to collect
useful data from the PRA which DDSP could incorporate into its action
plans for the villages involved.
The research project appointed a 'PRA team' to plan, coordinate and
facilitate the PRA exercises. The majority of the team-members were
inexperienced, uneducated rural people with severe disabilities such as
paraplegia, double leg amputation and learning difficulties (it was
possibly the first research project in Cambodia to include a person with
learning difficulties in the implementing team). The team planned and
implemented a complete PRA process, including training in PRA, planning
and design of the PRA, fieldwork, monitoring and evaluation,
presentation of the results, and visiting other NGOs to learn about
their PRA practice.
The research took place in Pursat province, a poor, mostly rural
province of western Cambodia. PRA fieldwork took place in three villages
over a period of two weeks. Two of the villages were in very remote
parts of the province and one of them has only recently been demined.
A 4-page executive summary is available as well as the full report.
Disability Knowledge and Research Programme, 69 pp.