Paper written and presented as partial fulfilment of the course unit
Social evaluation of programs in the department of sociology and social
work at the university of Nairobi
PARTICIPATORY POVERTY ASSESSMENT
This is the use of social science research to systematically investigate the effectiveness of social intervention aimed at improving social conditions. The main purpose of evaluating programs is to obtain information about the capabilities of social programs to address identified problems. (Rossi 1999:1)
Valuation of social programs is important because it provides data needed to aid in decisions concerning improvement and expansion of projects. It also helps to bring to light weak and strong areas of the project. Evaluation research helps to improve in effective projects activities so as to realise desirable results.
This is a form of evaluation organised as a team project with the evaluator and representatives of stakeholder group. Participatory evaluation entails an active involvement of evaluator and program stakeholders in the planning for evaluation, carrying out of the valuation process and thereafter giving the report and recommendations established during evaluation findings, for the example the program sponsors managers, staff and the target group for the intervention.
Participatory evaluation calls for the recognition and respect of local knowledge and experiences as well as people’s ability to judge their own experiences with a reasonable measure of objectivity. This process ensures true local ownership and commitment to the exercise and its outcome, but more importantly, to the future sustainability of the project.
Poverty is an elusive concept that almost defies a standard definition. This is because it assumes different meanings under varied conditions or situations. (Chambers 1983:35) explains poverty in social, economic and political terms as “the socio-economic phenomenon where the resources available to a society are used to satisfy the want of the few, while the many do not have even their basic needs met.”
This conceptualization points out that poverty is both a social and physical phenomena. In social terms, poverty is as a result of unequal resource allocation between those in power and the powerless. In physical terms, poverty is a s a result of environmental factors such as type of soil, climate natural and human made disasters.
Participatory poverty assessment
Participatory poverty assessment is the active involvement of the community members and stakeholders at every stage of the poverty research process. This includes the design, methodology, management, facilitation and synthesis of the findings.(Holland et al 1998:96). The main purpose of a participatory poverty assessment is to get an insider view of poverty from those experiencing poor conditions. This helps to bring out the following:-
-Their understanding of poverty dynamics that plague them.
-Regional and contextual characteristics of poverty
-Coping and survival mechanisms adopted by the poor.
-Local perceptions of problems and priority interventions that can be used to alleviate the problems.
Participatory poverty assessment is a new approach in determining the needs of the poor. Its central motivation is people and their aspirations. This approach advocates that people’s views perceptions and needs should be the primary purpose for any intervention. It seeks to encourage and empower people to develop their capacity to claim their right of a share in socioeconomic decision making
THE PROCESS OF PARTICIPATORY POVERTY ASSESMENT
Participatory research assessments are characterised by a variety of approaches adopted in their design and implementation. Social science research procedures are followed in doing the...