This report presents the findings of a participatory action research
project entitled 'Understanding Community Initiatives to Improve Access
to Education'. The study was carried out in primary schools in Mpika,
Zambia, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, between July 2001 and December
The intention of the study was to encourage practitioners to articulate
practice through developing written accounts that could later be shared
with other practitioners working in similar contexts. This generation of
Southern accounts would promote more inclusive educational practices by
providing a body of much-needed South-based evidence on which
practitioners can draw as reference material and examples of good
The study's processes examined ways of encouraging analytical and
writing skills among stakeholders in predominantly oral cultures. It
drew on a combination of workshops and other structured reflective
activities with teachers, parents and children as a means of promoting
reflection and, in the longer term, changes in thinking and practice. A
barrier analysis approach was used to encourage teachers to look more
carefully at the way attitudes, the environment and institutions prevent
the full participation of marginalised groups in education and in
society. Video and other image-based approaches were used to promote
reflection and documentation. The study also explored the role of
external facilitators in building the capacity of practitioners to
reflect, analyse and document their experience of promoting inclusive
The report is structured around the following research questions:
- How can people with different knowledge, skills and perspectives be
helped to think about, document and learn from their efforts to
address barriers to the learning and participation of all children?
- What needs to happen to make this process empowering, particularly for
practitioners and people from marginalised groups?
- How can the particular experiences of one community speak to a wider
audience and at the same time remain authentic?
- How can insiders and outsiders best work together to improve practice?
University of Manchester, Manchester, UK, 153 pp.