POWER RELATIONS in the use of Participatory Needs AssessmentsPrepared by:Erika Zárate, MSc CandidateCDE, SEDRD, University of Guelph11 March 2013
What is a PNA?A Participatory Needs Assessment (PNA) is a facilitated process thatengages & empowers stakeholders to identify and assess the needsof their community or organization. (Kasaija & Nsabagasani, 2008; Korf,2003)PNA can employ a wide variety of methods, all of which aim for theequitable participation of all stakeholders, from the research andidentification phases to the decision-making phases of the PNA.(Unger, Block & Wright, 2011; Ross & Ben Jafaar, 2006)When there is a critical mass of participation, not only isempowerment possible, but it can have a lasting transformativeeffect as well. (Baum, MacDougall & Smith, 2006; NZAP, 2012)Imagine that a PNA has just been launched in your neighbourhood in order to assess the needs of the neighbourhood... What do the first steps of the PNA process look like?
The PNA Process The following diagram uses the “neighbourhood needs” example to reflect how PNA is process-focused.(GTZ, 2003; Korf, 2003; Kasoija & Nsabagasani 2008; Unger, Bloc, & Wright, 2011) Who are the stakeholders that participate in this process? Who facilitates this process? Who chooses who?
Stakeholders & FacilitatorsThese two categories are not mutually exclusive, as facilitators can bestakeholders who have assumed the facilitation of the PNA process.Stakeholders are the main people and institutions who have aninterest in or impact on the issue being addressed. (Mayers, 2005)Facilitators are responsible for (a) ensuring the equitableparticipation of all stakeholders, with special attention to vulnerableand marginalized populations; and (b) for creating a space forengaging and empowering dialogue. (Hewitt & Lamoureaux, 2010;Mayers, 2005; Kasaija & Nsabagasani, 2008; NZAP, 2012) What power dynamics are at play between stakeholders (and between stakeholders and facilitators) of the PNA of Neighbourhood Needs?
Understanding Power Dynamics Foucault, Castells, and innumerable other academics have attempted to define power relations in society. Below offers a hint of two power theories that inform PNA practice. Foucault (1977) identifies manifestations of Power as the following: ● the interactions between people; ● the practices of institutions; and ● the exercise of different forms of knowledge (quoted in Baum, MacDougall & Smith, 2006) Castells, in his Theory of Communication Power (2009) describes power as the ability to: ● coerce or intimidate ● construct meaning In practical terms, Power in PNAs is the ability to: ● identify ones needs ● make decisions (Unger, Block & Wright, 2011)
Preparing the Ground for Equity From the very onset of the PNA, attention can be paid to preventing and addressing inequitable power relations between PNA stakeholders. 1. Identify stakeholders. Who are the main decision makers in the neighbourhood? Who is excluded from decision-making processes? 2. Develop a contextual understanding of the PNA. What are the historical and current factors that have affected, or are affecting, the current needs of the neighbourhood? 3. Establish communication processes that address inequity and injustice. How can the PNA engage these marginalized populations in dialogue? How can the PNA promote the empowerment of marginalized populations in decision-making processes?(Castells, 2009; GTZ, 2003: Mayers, 2005; NZAP, 2012; Ungers, Block & Wright, 2011)
Analyzing Stakeholder PowerThe second phase of preventing and addressing power inequitiesamongst stakeholders consists of the following:1. Explore stakeholder values, interests, characteristics and circumstances. (Castells, 2009; Kasoija & Nsabagasani, 2008; Mayers, 2005) What are the values and interests of each stakeholder group? What are the resources and influences of each group?2. Identify patterns and contexts of interaction between stakeholders. (Mayers, 2005) What is the common ground between stakeholders? What are the local and established decision-making processes? Why are some populations marginalized or excluded from public dialogue and decision-making processes?
Managing Stakeholder Relations The following matrix can be used as a guide for how to manage stakeholder relations in a PNA process, depending on their power and potential for identifying and addressing community needs. (Mayers, 2005) How would you address these four stakeholder scenarios in the Neighbourhood Needs example?
Ensuring EngagementSome PNA methods are more effective at engaging stakeholders thanothers, because of the nature of the method and/or the context of thePNA. The following is a list of methods that could be used used forenhancing stakeholder engagement in PNAs, especially when thesetechniques are facilitated by stakeholders at the grassroots: ● Community/Resource Mapping ● Village or Transect Walks ● Seasonal Calendars ● Gender Analysis ● Ranking (preference r., direct matrix r., pair-wise r., wealth & well- being r.) ● Semi-Structured Interviews ● Key Informant Interviews ● Focus Group Discussions (GTZ, 2003; Hambly, 2012; Hewitt & Lamoureaux, 2010; Kasoija & Nsabagasani, 2008; Korf, 2003; NZAP, 2012)What method(s) would work best in your Neighbourhood Needs PNA?
Promoting EmpowermentBy maintaining and nurturing the participation of vulnerable andmarginalized populations, the right conditions can be created forempowerment. With empowerment comes the possibility of real andlasting change in community well-being.The following is a list of participatory methods that can have anempowering impact on vulnerable, marginalized and excluded groups.This is especially true when these groups are involved in the designand delivery of the methods: ● Popular theatre ● Participatory video ● Participatory diagramming, mapping and ranking ● Public exhibition of diagrams, maps, charts and photos ● Group and community meetings of preliminary PNA results (GTZ, 2003; Hambly, 2012; Hewitt & Lamoureaux, 2010; Kasoija & Nsabagasani, 2008; Korf, 2003; NZAP, 2012)What method(s) would work best in your Neighbourhood Needs PNA?
Follow-Up Questions● Besides participation, what are other factors that affect the degree of equity and empowerment in the PNA process?● How can one ensure participation and transparency when deciding which stakeholders will be directly involved in the PNA process?● What is the difference between vulnerable vs marginalized vs excluded populations, and why does understanding this difference affect our participation strategy in PNAs?● What are the leverage points for addressing the power dynamics exercised by stakeholders who have high power?
References● Baum, F., MacDougall, C. and Smith, D. (2006). Participatory Action Research. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Vol. 60, pp 854–857. doi: 10.1136/jech.2004.028662● Castells, M. (2009). Communication Power. Oxford: Oxford University Press.● Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ). (2003). Practitioners Guide: Participatory Needs Assessment – Nutrition and Food Security. Retrieved from: http://www.methodfinder.net/method51.html● Hambly, H. (2012). Linking PRA and PV Methodologies: A List of Tools and their Applications. Handout.● Hewitt, A. & Lamoureaux, L. (2012). Introducing Knowledge Sharing Methods and Tools: A Facilitators Guide. Ottawa: Canadian International Development Agency.● Kasaija, J. and Nsabagasani, X. (2008). Community HIV Counselling and Testing: A Handbook on Participatory Needs Assessment. Uganda: JSI Research and Training Institute. Retrieved from: http://www.worlded.org/docs/Publications/hiv/comm_hiv_counseling_testing_handbook.pdf● Korf, B. (2003). Technical Paper 6: Field Guide for Participatory Needs Assessment. Sri Lanka: Integrated Food Security Programme. Retrieved from: https://www.giz.de/Themen/de/dokumente/en-SVMP-korf-2003.pdf● Mayers, J. (2005). Stakeholder Power Analysis. Power tools series. London, UK: International Institute for Environment and Development● New Zealand Aid Programme (NZAP), Development Strategy and Effectiveness Division. (2012). Gender Analysis Guidelines: Integrating Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment into an Activity, Programme or Policy. Retrieved from: http://www.aid.govt.nz/sites/default/files/Gender%20Analysis%20Guideline_0.pdf● Ross, J., and Ben Jafaar, S. (2006). Participatory Needs Assessment. The Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation. Vol. 21, No. 1, pp 131–154.● Unger, H., Block, M., Wright, M. (2011). Participatory Needs Assessment for HIV Prevention. Retrieved from: http://www.pq-hiv.de/en/handbuch-pq-hiv-englisch/needs-assessment/participatory-needs-assessment