Information about Sub-Saharan Africa África subsahariana
Back Matter

Back Matter

Caroline Kende-Robb
Published Date:
January 2002
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Information about Sub-Saharan Africa África subsahariana
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Appendix A. Methodology

timing, and cost
Context BankContext in countryInstitutions involvedMethodologyLevel of participation

Partial PPA completed; three weeks fieldwork

Cost $40,000
Manager of the PPA also responsible for overall PA Outside consultant assisted in the PPA Various divisions in the Bank consulted at all stages.Limited permission sought from central government, which was supportive of the approach Local government extensively involved Stable political environmentA unit in the Ministry of Planning assisted with coordination. Several NGOs were consulted.RRA Twenty-three villages and some urban communities were covered in five of the regions (the sixth had already been extensively covered); RRAs involved semistructured interviews, children’s drawings.Communities: Information sharing.

Others: The government was cooperative and receptive. Discussions with NGOs and government during management workshop.

Oct-Dec 1997

Cost $130,000
Manager of the PPA also responsible for overall PA. The PA and PPA were requested and strongly sponsored by the country director. An external consultant, trained at IDS Sussex, provided training to the local consultants who carried out the PPA.Government strongly supported the PPA as part of the wider PA, although some were skeptical about the lack of statistical significance of results. New lending in Burundi had been suspended fallowing the 1996 coup, and the new government believed that a favorable assessment in the PA could lead to new lending.The study was coordinated by a Poverty Committee convened by the Ministry of Planning, and the study brought together UNDP and the Bank as the two main partners for poverty reduction. At the suggestion of the Bank, the committee was widened to include other key ministries in poverty reduction issues.PRA: A list of criteria was agreed upon with government for selecting the communities, including degree of impact of the conflict, proportion of the community displaced, socioeconomic status, degree of isolation from roads and markets, access to social infrastructure, and agroclimatic zone. Ten communities were covered. Results presented in summary at a technical workshop before the report was written.Some participation within the Bank, with country economist reviewing topic lists and preliminary results. Others: Strong participation from government, with senior officials attending PRA training course, for example. Very active participation from UNDP.

Mar–Sept 1994

Cost $150,000
Human Resources was the managing division. Manager for PA also managed the PPA and was part of Africa’s Technical Department. ENVSP assisted in the PPA Involvement in and ownership of PA by country and sector departments were limited. The country economist focused on issues surrounding the CFA devaluation, with country department priorities shifting to development of new lending and resumption of adjustment support as opposed to poverty-Country department was restructured and management team changed during the course of the PA.Debt-distressed country. No longer an IBRD country. CFA devaluation. Some key policymakers reticent to support the PA and PPA processesCARE-Cameroon with support from CARE-Canada provided a technical advisor for the PPA and carried out two of the five regional assessments. University of Yaounde. ASAFE and PAID carried out the other three regional assessments.BA: In-country four-day technical workshop followed by national-level conference for one day A technical workshop was organized in Kribi and a national conference in Yaounde in November 1994. At these workshops, broad-based discussions of the PA and the views of the poor and some key NGOs were used to redefine key priorities for the poverty reduction strategy. BA used in six regions and included 1,559 households at about 30 sites, as well as 150 interviews with key informants—local government officials, community leaders, service providers, and church and women’s groups. Fifty percent of those interviewed were women. Range of participatory techniques used in regional assessments.Communities: Information sharing.

Information sharing with selected institutions and with the government at different levels.
Equatorial Guinea

Two weeks fieldwork in 1995.

Italian trust funds
A Poverty Note was written rather than a full-fledged PA COD requested that fieldwork be conducted because of a lack of reliable data.Government involvement was minimalFAO. Local government officials interviewed.RRA: Fifteen villages and two urban communities in the capital and two in another city.Communities: Information sharing. Limited dialogue with key stakeholders.

March–April 1997

Cost $100,000
The PPA was intended to complement quantitative analysis performed in preparation for a full PA and CAS. The task manager for the PPA was not the task manager for the full assessment. The PPA was financed by the Dutch Trust Fund for PovertyThe PPA was jointly coordinated by the Ministry of Planning and the Bank Central government organized approvals to enter rural villages, without which it would not have been possible to conduct the fieldworkFreelance Ethiopian consultants were employed. The PPA teams collaborated closely with a PRA-based study on women being conducted at the same time by the government’s Women’s Affairs Office. Teams were trained by an external consultant from IDS Sussex.PRA: Six rural and four urban sites with a mix of socioeconomic levels, different agroclimatic zones, and different levels of isolation from roads and markets. Full use of tools: wealth ranking, causal diagrams, pie charts, timelines, seasonal calendars, daily calendars, Venn diagrams. Urban teams developed new tools to use for analysis of unemployment.Good participation within the Bank, with the country economist and resident mission strongly supporting the PPA.

Poor participation by in-country NGOs.

Fieldwork four weeks during May–June 1995. Results included in March 1997 poverty assessment

Cost: $49,000, of which about $19,000 was spent on local costs (mainly consultant fees and travel) and was financed by the Client Consultant Fund, and about $30,00 ($19,000 of which was financed by the French trust fond) was spent on the international consultant who initated the survey and helped analyze results.
A typical IBRD country with a gross domestic product per capita of more than US$4,000 and extremely unequal income distribution. Bank’s exposure is limited. Initially limned resources allocated to the poverty assessment The PPA was cofinanced by the French (international consultant) and the Client Consultation Fund (local survey team and computer specialist). The Task Manager (TM) or the poverty assessment was also TM of the PPA. The Gabon PA is a flagship participation projectThe government welcomed the Bank’s initiative to carry out the poverty assessment (including the PPA), which was viewed as a means to (a) collect information on poverty; (b) obtain technical policy recommendations from the Bank; and (c) possibly send a signal to the donor community that reduction of poverty will require better-adapted assistance and closer donor involvement. The government set up an Interministerial Technical Committee (about 40 members) to review each version of the assessment, and also provided a vehicle and driver for the PPA team.Freelance Gabonese consultants (including students and a university professor) recommended by UNDP, the Planning Ministry, and the Employment Office. Very weak in-country NGO capacity (both national and international).RRA: Team of five people. Participant observations, case studies, individual and group interviews: four out of nine regions covered; 325 qualitative interviews conducted (80 in Libreville, 140 in small cities, and 105 in rural areas).Communities: Information sharing.

Others: Donors, government, and, to a lesser extent, civil society involved through the Interminsterial Committee.

May–June 1993 April–May 1994, Nov 1994. Conducted after quantitative survey (Oct 1591–Sept. 1992). Cost: DFID.UK funded phases 1 and 2, $50,000. Phase 3 (social service assessment) funded by UNICEF, $50,000.
Clear lines of communication established between the PA manager and technical departmentStable political environment. Government support initially limited but now very strong.Teams from academic institutions. Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, NGOs, and international aid agencies (especially UNICEF).PRA: Three phases, 15 urban and rural communities. Focus groups and PRAs.Communities: Information sharing.

Others: Key policymakers not involved extensively until they gained a greater understanding of the PPA.

Preparation: Feb. 1994

Fieldwork: March 1994

Write-up: April and May 1994 Final document published in 1995.

Cost $100,000
Manager of the PA was initially cautious. The managers of the PA and the PPA were involved in drafting the Terms of Reference and preparing the PPA. The manager of the PPA coordinated most of work in country.Relatively economically stable for Africa. Government centralized. Central Bureau of Statistics and Ministry of Planning involved.AMREF(Regional NGO)and the DFID.UK. Final document published by UNICEF/DFID and AMREF.SARAR. PRA, and household questionnaires aimed at community groups and schoolchildren. Seven districts were selected using information from the censor cluster samples. The poorest communities were then selected: 35 villages and urban areas in Nairobi: 514 households interviewed. Teams spent three days in each village.Communities: Information sharing.

Others: Local government was more involved than central government.

Two qualitative surveys conducted in 1991 and 1993.
The new government is open to the inclusion of stakeholders in the analysis of poverty. There is a representative body of NGOs which is supported by the government but its capacity is limited.UNICEF, Red Cross, NGO from Zambia, council of NGOs, and local government A private consulting firm, Sechaba, undertook the PRA.PRA: The original PA had no action plan. At a three-day workshop the government, NGOs, and World Bank agreed to draft the action plan. Participant observation, case studies, individual and group interviews in rural and urban areas.Communities: Information sharing.

Others: The action plan received extensive support from a cross-section of the stakeholders.

Eight months commencing Nov. 1993
The manager of the PA was committed to the approach and worked closely with the manager of the PPA. However, change in management of the division means follow-up has not been extensive.The PPA was supported by the Minister of the Economy and Planning and Communications and Culture, but this support is fragmented.Steering Committee composed of key line ministries, parliamentarians, NGOs, a national consultancy firm, and the university. A local consulting firm for two regions, and two groups of academics for the other two regions. Several Malagasy consultants and one Canadian consultant coordinated the activities.BA: 2,600 qualitative interviews conducted. Periodic progress reviews with UNDP and government committees. Four regions. Focus groups of 6–12 people. Participant observation involved residence in selected sites for two to three weeks. Institutional assessments.Communities: Information sharing.

Others: Key policymakers have been fully involved in a process of consultation from the beginning.

Three weeks fieldwork for Bamako for BAs and three weeks of RRA in rural areas (1992–93).

Funded manly by UNDP.
The managers of the PA and PPA were able to communicate clearly. An international consultant also assisted.Because of the sensitivity surrounding poverty, the PA assessment was renamed the Assessment of Living Conditions. Preliminary results of household survey were usedSave the Children, CARE, local university, rural radio.BA conducted in Bamako. RRA in three rural regions, semistructured interviewing, and children’s drawings.Communities: Information sharing.

Others: Initially limited participation of key stakeholders.

Ongoing. First phase July 1995.
Freestanding document—not linked to a PA. Manager of the PPA located in Moputo had been involved in the Zambia PPA Continued Bank support now unclear.Government very supportive of the process of collecting qualitative information. Government has undertaken its own PA and the PPA will feed into it.Poverty Alleviation Unit, established by the World Bank, and the university undertook the PRA surveys. NGOs were extensively involved, especially with problem ranking and prioritization.PRACommunities: Information sharing.

Others: One of the main objectives of the PPA has been to involve a wide range of stakeholders from the beginning.

One month in April 1994
The manager of the PA worked closely with the manager of the PPA.The country is plagued with political instability, which has major consequences for achieving economic growth and poverty reduction. The PPA was undertaken right after the CFA devaluation. One of its intentions was to capture the preliminary impact of the devaluation on the poor.A national sociologist supervised the urban phase. The rural phase received support from NGOs and several regional projects funded by FAO and GIZ.PRA: Informal interviews, open questionnaires, and focus groups.Communities: Information sharing.

Others: Involvement of the government and NGOs has been increasing

Late 1993 and early 1994. Three months in the field
The manager of the PA approached DFID for technical assistance in the form of an economist, but DFID sent a social scientist. After seeing the value of the qualitative information, the country team became fully supportive of the PPA process.The government was not initially supportive. As the process developed, however, the support increased. The government now runs its own poverty analysis program.DFID, Ministry of Planning, NGOs, and UNICEF. No local NGOs were involved in the PPA work, but since the government has taken over, local NGOs are now involved.PRA; Focused discussion groups; 2,000 people in 98 rural and urban locationsCommunities: Information sharing.

Others: Local NGOs initially excluded. Government included from the beginning and became more involved as the value of the qualitative information became apparent.

Oct.–Dec. 1997

Cost $150,000
The PPA was initiated to complement quantitative survey analysis. Manager of the PA was also manager of the PPA, and was based in the resident mission on a short-term assignment for duration of the PA. The PA and PPA were strongly supported by the country director.The PPA had previously never been used in Rwanda. In the wake of the genocide, many Rwandans were skeptical that communities would be prepared to talk to outsiders. Government was involved from the beginning through the PA steering committee, which included four government ministries. Developing a regional balance in the teams was difficult because of previous conflict and team travel was interrupted frequently because of the conflictThe PPA was carried out in partnership with Reseau des femmes, a women’s NGO specializing in rural development. A local representative of this NGO was present in each of the communities, thus improving trust and speeding up the process. The team also collaborated with UNDP, UNICEF, and FAO to develop questions.PRA: Ten rural and two urban communities were selected based on degree of impact of conflict, proportion of the community displaced, socioeconomic status, degree of isolation from roads and markets, access to social infrastructure, population density, settlement pattern, and agroclimatic zone. Results were discussed at a large workshop in Kigali to which community leaders from PPA sites were invited, together with national and international NGOs, government departments, and donors.Bank: Primarily information sharing.

Other: Very active participation by the government. Government steering committee selected the communities, amended the question list, seconded a government official to participate in the teams, and hotly debated results. An official from the Ministry of Planning was seconded full-time to work as a counterpart manager of the PA. Also very good participation from Rwandan civil society, with good attendance at meetings to debate terms of reference of study and results.
South Africa

Ongoing. PPA workshop convened in Feb. 1995. Final document July/August 1997 (likely to be published by the government).
The PPA was initiated to complement the household survey, completed in August 1994. One person manages both the PPA and PA.Government involvement sought from the beginning. Initially distant but now very involved and committed through the RDP, which subsequently closed down. In parallel to the PPA, at the Bank’s initiative, the government, the Bank, and UNDP are collaborating on the PA, now called the PIR. The PIR was approved by the Cabinet South Africa may borrow from the Bank for the first time since the 1960s.Worked with a private-sector development research consultancy and NGOs. The consultancy established a management committee comprising a cross-section of stakeholders selected dining the initial workshop. The government was represented through the Reconstruction and Development Program Office. Cofunded by DFID.PRA: Not roving teams. Regionally targeted. The three poorest provinces were selected, representing 62 percent of the poor. The household survey was used to identify the poorest provinces. Thirty to fifty communities were involved. The approach was to build upon the existing network of NGOs rather than create a parallel system. PRA training was provided. The existing network had already established trust in many of the communities.Communities: In some cases the PRA work became a catalyst for commitments to initiate a project to benefit the poor.

Others: Broad initial consultative workshop. The PPA process so far has stressed the importance of continuously including a cross-section of stakeholders. Very strong government ownership of the PIR, which incorporated the findings of the PPA. Intermisterial Committee on Poverty and Inequality set up to oversee the PIR.

1995. Fieldwork completed. Report forth-coming.

Cost $99,500 excluding Bank cost. Trust funded.
Current lending program confined to urban sector project, under implementation, and proposed education project, PPA not initiated as part of a Bank PA but carried out in tandem with HIES, undertaken by the CSO with support of IDF, from which a poverty profile is being drawn. Bank will now follow up with Poverty Note integrating the results of the two exercises.Poverty debate in government was slow to be initiated. PPA and HIES originally conceived to contribute to UNDP Human Disparities Analysis. The PPA results have fed into this process. The Poverty Note will be geared specifically to the NDS.University of Swaziland carried out the PPA. UNDP coordinated administration. Support from DFID for the national workshop.PRA and BA: 600 households, 100 focus groups in 63 communities throughout Swaziland. Focus discussion groups, PRAs, and interviews.Communities: Information sharing.

Others: The government and NGOs became increasingly involved.


Feb/March 1995;

Fieldwork: May

Cost $100,000
Manager of the PA was interested in and aware of the work being carried out in Tanzania.Government was cooperative and fully involved at the district level.University of Tanzania (but capacity limited).SARAR, PRA: A team of 36 people visited 85 villages over 40 days A total of 6,000 people were involved.Communities: Information sharing with no immediate follow-up.

Others: Government was cooperative and attended policy workshops, which were coordinated with the Bank’s social sector review and CEM preparation.

Two week Nov 1994; one week Feb 1995 (seven teams working at the same time).

Systematic Client Consultation Fund
The PA was completed alongside the environmental assessment. COD was very supportive and committed to the aproach. Lines of communication were clearly established. The Resident Mission was cooperative.Social unrest prevailed from 1992 to 1993. Before the PPA, the government and the UNDP had already begun a policy debate about poverty.UNDP. Fifteen unemployed graduates were trained. One team of 5 and a second team of 10 led by a Dutch consultant.RRA: Semistructured interviews; information sheets; children’s drawings depicting poverty. Covered all rural regions plus the capital. Forty villages covering five regions and urban neighborhoods in Lome.Communities: Information sharing.

Others: Donors’ participation more extensive than government’s. Discussion of results during a series of regional workshops with NGOs and government.

One week 1992. One of the first PPAs.

Cost $3,000
The PPA was conducted with the PACivil war in certain areas. Government willing to accept that poverty exists.Ministry of Planning, UNDP, and the University.RRA, pictorial drawings. The PPA was conducted only in areas where quantitative information did not exist, that is, in the war zones.Communities: Information sharing.

Others: Involvement of other institutions limited because of time constraints.

Research Sept-Nov. 1991

Funded by Sida, $100,000
The PA and PPA managers worked closely througout the process. The PA manager had supported qualitative techniques in a previous Bank project in Zambia (Social Recovery Project) and promoted the BA/PRA approach in the Bank.Government gradually included through the Systematic Client Consultation approach.Nine-person interdisciplinary team of researchers. The team later formed an NG0 called the PAG.BA and PRA: Interview guide for semi-structured interviews with individuals and groups. Ten research sites over a variety of communities (urban and rural).Communities: Moved beyond information sharing—the poor were consulted on an ongoing basis. PAG returned to the communities on a yearly basis to assess the changes in their welfare/poverty.

Others: Extensive stakeholder consultation Zambians drafted the recommendations sections of the PA.
Latin Americaand


PPA started in Oct 1995. Estimated duration six months. PA already completed.
Before PPA was undertaken, time had been spent building an understanding between the technical team and the COD team, which engendered a positive attitude toward the PPA from the outset. Some questions were raised by the COD on whether the information would be “sound bite”-focused.The government requested the assistance of the Bank in conducting qualitative research. Good coordination among government agencies. The initial activities were carried out during the preparation of the Social Protection Project (Ln AR-35495), particularly Component C: Technical Assistance for the Improvement of Social Information (SIEMPRO).Ministry of Social Welfare through the direct involvement of the minister. NGOs. SIEMPRO under the Ministry of Social Welfare. PSA and PROINDER under the Secretariat of Agriculture.BA: Conversational interviews and partial observation. The initial PPA was of limited scope and involved only a few rural areas. The objective of the PPA was to test methodologies and develop institutional support In fact, after the initial exercise, PPAs for two provinces (Salta and Missions) have been plannedCommunities: Information sharing.

Others: Ministry and Minister of Social Welfare fully involved. A unit has been established within the ministry to monitor poverty and social programs. A seminar has been held with high-level government officials. Strong interest has already been expressed by other departments. NGOS will be involved in the execution work. The dialogue between the government and the NGOs has gradually increased.

Nine months
Focus on education and employmentStrong interest by government in the qualitative approach.Ministry of Education and Ministry of PlanningBACommunities: Information sharing.

Others: Local, state, and federal government.
Costa Rica

1995, two months fieldwork

Cost $36,500
Coordinated with the PA manager who lives in Honduras. Lines of communication between the managers of the PA and PPA were, therefore, often unclearThe government was very supportive of the process. Senior officials from the Ministry of Economic Planning were involved from the beginning.No NGOs were involved. The government wants to include them extensively at the dissemination phase.BA in four regions; 262 interviewsCommunities: Information sharing.

Others Government was extensively involved from the beginning.

Preparation April 1994

Fieldwork May

1994 Meetings with stakeholders: Oct 1995.

Cost: $70,000

Dutch Trust Fund
The manager of the PA had no access to funds from the Bank and had to raise the funding. As such he was unable to recruit consultants from the Bank’s technical department. From the beginning, the manager was able to clearly define the information he considered to be relevant.The government neither supported nor objected to the PA or the PPA.UNICEF cofinanced the process. Two NGOs were involved in both the rural and urban areas. Government institutions were not extensively involved at any level.PRA: seven villages and one urban community. SSls and workshops.Communities: The PPA was called a Rural Qualitative Survey as it was felt that the process was not participatory but more information sharing. NGOs went back to share the results of the studies with several communities.

Others: Participation of government institutions was minima. The NGOs were extensively involved. Interest of nonparticipating NGOs was very high.

Phase 1 in early 19990

Phase 2 three months,

Nov. 1993-Jan.1994.
The PPA was undertaken without extensive consultation with the Country Department.The government would have liked to be more involved in the decision-making process of the PPA.Liaised with the university but relations between the Bank and the university have not been strong. UNDP and UNICEF initially supportive.BA. Two three-person teams. Average of 15 days in every municipality; 223 interviews; 22 focus groups. Participatory mapping too sensitive to undertake and subject to misinterpretation. Research teams could not stay overnight in some communities for security reasons.Communities: Information sharing.

Others: The government produced its own publication using the results of the BA.

Interviews conducted in Feb. and March 1995. Conducted with the PA.
Clear lines of communication established between the PPA advisor and the PA manager. However, communication with the supervisor undertaking the PPA in the field were difficult.Major devaluation. Strong initial support lessened as other priorities took over.SDS (Government Poverty Agency) actively participated in the fieldwork. All consultants hired were from NGOs.BA: Four teams interviewed 722 people in four areas (two urban, two rural). Qualitative research and conversational interviews.Communities: Information sharing.

Others: UNDP and UNICEF cofinanced. The capacity of the SDS to conduct qualitative assessments increased.
Europe and Central


The Green Cover report was dated Aug 1996; most components were carried out Jan-July 1996.

Cost about $50,000, including World Bank time and travel. Incountry research component ranged from $13,000 to $25,000 (paid for by UNDP).
The report was managed and written by a senior economist and was narrowly focused. One part was devoted to rural-urban migrants squatting on the outskirts of the capital and one other city. The other part was focused on the beneficiaries of the agriculture microcredit program.Individual field researchers contracted. No institutions involved in the research.Various: Individual interviews with households; interviews with key informants including academics, expat and local staff of agencies implementing land privatization, and microcredit.Communities: Information sharing.

Started in 1994. Completed June 1995.

Fieldwork in Oct 1994 -March 1995.
Wanted to coordinate the PA with the Social investment Fund. Good relations with COD. Senior management supportMinistry of EconomyIn the PA, Armenian Assembly of Armenia. Most other NGOs were involved in emergency aid. Church was. also involved. In the PPA, the university was a formal organizer and contractor for the qualitative research.Seven hundred semistructured interviews with individuals from poor and medium-income households and with local officials, medical personnel, teachers, and aid workers.Communities: Information sharing.

Others: The PPA manager and the field researchers (professional anthropologists and social scientists) presented field research findings at several workshops to local NGOs, government officials in Yerevan, and international NGOs. Their input was incorporated into the final report.

Field work conducted from Aug 1995-Jan 1996.
SORGU Institute attached to the Baku Institute of Sociology and Political Science. NGOs and government assisted with selection of sites.Seventeen interviewers; mainly sociologists and education personnel with previous experience of quantitative and qualitative fieldwork. Semistructured interviews with groups of fire and eight people. Results combined with community surveys conducted in 91 population points throughout the country in parallel with a national household survey in Nov.-Dec. 1995.Communities: Series of stakeholder workshops will be convened and will include the poor, to feed back the preliminary findings, elicit comments and critiques, all of which will be incorporated into the final report and recommendations.

Draft PPA completed April 1597.
PPA designed bo complement other poverty surveys (income and expenditure, etc and contribute (to the CAS.Government informed, on board, otherwise not involved.In-country research was part of a project financed by the UNDP. Project managed by local social scientist and one deputy.Various: Semistructured, in-depth household interviews. Semistruchured interviews with “expert” informants—aid workers from local and international NGOs and donor organizations; head doctors; school directors and teachers; and officials.Communities: Information sharing.

PPA began in June 1996 and completed in June 1997.
The manager of the PA made considerable effort to coordinate other projects with the PFA (including the Social Investment Fund. an agriculture sector social assessment micro-finance, etc) in terms of selecting regions, highlighting issues, and trying to gather complementary data rather than repeat previous research.Local NGO formed by and working under the auspices of an American NGO.Various: Semistructured, in-depth household interviews. Semistructured interviews with “expert” informants—add workers from local and international NGOs and donor organizations; head doctors; school directors and teachers: officials.

Completed 1996.
PA consisted of several components, one of which was the PPA.World Bank manager and a U.S. anthropologist contracted with a Kiev-based sociological research institute and some individual researchers to conduct the interviews throughout the country.Various: Semistructured, in-depth household interviews. Semistructured interviews with “expert” informants—aid workers from local and international NGOs and donor organizations; head doctors; school directors and teachers; and officials, etc.Communities: Information sharing.

Others: Results were presented in several workshops for academics, NGO representatives, and government officials (and Ukraine office World Bank staff) upon completion of the field research; their input was incorporated into the final document.
South Asia

Feb.-July l994

Fieldwork for two months.
The manager of the PA was giver, limited time to complete the PA. Many felt that the PPA information was not adequately represented in the PA. The PPA was conducted after the household survey analysis was completed. The supervisor of the PPA was an outside consultant. The Human Resources Division and COD managed the PPA.The government did not support or oppose the PPA However, some government officials and NGOs disagreed with the PA’s conclusions. Although there was consultation, some stakeholders felt their views were not considered and that the ongoing national poverty debate was not represented in the final PAThe Federal Bureau of Statistics was involved in selecting the communities.PRA: Local consultants were recruited. Roving teams were used.Communities: Information sharing.

Others; Workshops were held with a wide cross-section of stakeholders for the PA
Notes: See list on pp. xxi-xxiii for definitions of abbreviations and acronyms. The column describing the levels of participation has limited value and is only indicative. To be more accurate, a multiple stakeholder analysis of participation using the stakeholders’ own indicators would be required. The diversity of experiences of the PPAs has been affected by many factors, including the context in the World Bank and in country. This is detailed in the table, as are the methodologies employed to elicit the views of the poor.
Notes: See list on pp. xxi-xxiii for definitions of abbreviations and acronyms. The column describing the levels of participation has limited value and is only indicative. To be more accurate, a multiple stakeholder analysis of participation using the stakeholders’ own indicators would be required. The diversity of experiences of the PPAs has been affected by many factors, including the context in the World Bank and in country. This is detailed in the table, as are the methodologies employed to elicit the views of the poor.
Appendix B. Impact
CountryPPA highlightsImpact on

World Bank
Impact on

Impact on

other institutions
Lessons learned
BeninChildren’s drawings were used to understand their perceptions of poverty.This was one of the first PPAs in the Bank, and its results initiated the ongoing dialogue on the use of qualitative and quantitative information. Those working on the PA stated that the PPA made the PA more interesting and readable.The PPAs increased the interest of the Ministry of Planning in conducting qualitative assessments.
BurundiThe PPA results stressed the vicious cycle of hunger, health problems, and low agricultural output. The new phenomenon of child-headed households resulting from deaths in the conflict was highlighted during the PPA. In urban areas, the PPA extracted the storyline of how the informal sector had been affected by the crisis and embargo.Ongoing: The country team has recommended that the Bank undertake a new community-based poverty project, the design of which will use the recommendations of the PPA.Ongoing: The government is currently reviewing the poverty note, which includes the results of the PPA, and intends to develop its own poverty reduction strategy.UNDP has used the PPA results to feed into its own poverty reduction work.
  • The PPA was useful in a postconflict situation as a rapid way to gauge the principal poverty issues when quantitative data were not available.
  • A full assessment needs to be made of the skills and experience available within the country to conduct the PPA. Where the teams have previously done neither PRA nor poverty work, two weeks of training is insufficient, and they may need external technical assistance to analyze results. This PPA did not produce the depth of analysis expected, primarily because the teams had too sharp a learning curve during the fieldwork.
  • PRA teams consisting entirely of economists (one of the Burundi teams) tend to be weak. They focus too much on extracting a number and do not properly document all the qualitative information a community is giving.
CameroonThe emphasis given by the poor to problems of hunger, nutrition, and high food expenditures justified and amplified the focus on addressing food insecurity in the poverty reduction strategy. The PPA also highlighted problems of isolation (transport system) and governance (decentralization). It provided key insights into the gender dimensions of poverty, confirming the disproportionate workload of women, and the fact that changing gender roles bring new opportunities and new burdens.Although macroeconomic management and debt issues predominate in the country dialogue, some effort was made to integrate a poverty reduction strategy into the CAS, building on the results of the PA/PPA. Key elements are support for small-scale food production, processing, and marketing, and measures to enhance the status of women, including land and legal reform, rural Infrastructure, and girls’ education. Some viewed the PPA as having limited credibility, with some information being too generic. Interpretation of the data in the Bank was limited because of lack of time.The results of the PA and PPA were a shock to Cameroonians both inside and outside government, as poverty had not previously been acknowledged as a serious problem. Ownership was not developed among key policymakers, as the central government was not strongly committed to poverty reduction or to building on the results of the PA/PPA process. Some local government officials did develop a keen interest in the PPA and in replicating its methodologies elsewhere.NGOs and other institutions involved in the PPAs understood the value of the approach and appreciated the opportunity to engage in dialogue on poverty issues with the government, the Bank, and other donors.
  • Working with NGOs in preparing the PA and PPA provided a highly cost-effective means of tapping into expertise and capacity.
  • The effectiveness of the exercise depends on the willingness and commitment of government to engage in dialogue with civil society and on its determination to tackle the poverty problem identified. This commitment was largely absent in Cameroon, and the results of the PPA were published without extensive government support. There was, therefore, limited learning and shifting of attitudes.
  • The composition of the team in the Bank affects the way the information is managed, disseminated, and analyzed. There was limited ownership in the country and sector departments, and the PPA was managed in the Technical Department.
  • The PPA was a valuable instrument for bringing the concerns of the poor into the dialogue.
  • The PPA provided critical new insights (governance, isolation) and reinforced the priority of tackling food insecurity and poor infrastructure.
  • Ensuring gender balance in the PPA yielded key insights into the dynamics of poverty.
  • Involving local institutions and holding workshops with both government and civil society are mechanisms for expanding ownership of the poverty problem and in-country capacity to analyze and address it.

The PPA was considered sensitive and was rewritten in the Bank.It is too early to assess the impact on the government, which has not yet seen the rewritten Green Cover version.UNDP Assistant Resident Representative in country and the Executive Director of the Bank have requested a meeting to discuss the PPA findings.
  • The information may be accurate but if the institutional frameworks of the borrower and the Bank make them unable to embrace the results, the impact will be limited.
EthiopiaProvided ideas on the causes of recent increases in agricultural production found in survey data. Differentiated winners and losers among rural communities. Raised the issue of the inappropriate timing of the school calendar and payment of school fees for poor families. Showed the importance of seasonal poverty in urban areas.Because data problems delayed the results of quantitative surveys, the PPA results were extensively drawn upon for the CAS. Results also fed into the upcoming food security project and the socialsector note.Very limited, except for the part of the PPA results that came through in the CAS. The government department that acted as a counterpart for the PPA has little clout and did not widely disseminate or debate the results.None, because the Bank and government have not yet released the report.
  • Institutional links with government are vital to ensure that the PPA results are used.
  • It would be useful to have a standard publication vehicle for PPAs. In this case, the PPA was intended as part of a PA and would have been published as an annex. But the PA has been delayed two years because of data problems. In this type of situation it would be useful to publish the PPA separately, since it often contains information that would be useful to local organizations but is only valuable within a limited time window.
  • This PPA showed the value of including at least one anthropologist as a team member.
GabonHousehold data exist for Libreville and Port-Gentil (50 percent of the population) only. The PPA complemented the quantitative information for these two cities and provided key qualitative information for small cities and rural areas. Quantification of the qualitative results permitted the definition by zone of clear priorities of the poor.The PPA shed light on the inefficiency of public spending in the social sectors. To follow up on recommendations, PER is being carried out in the health and education sectors. Depending on the PER recommendations, the Bank might envisage projects in these sectors.The PA, incorporating the results of the PPA, was discussed with the government’s Interministerial Technical Committee, which received it well and provided detailed and constructive comments. The government recently requested the Bank’s assistance to improve the transparency and efficiency in public spending in the health sector. A poverty seminar was held in June 1997 with financing from the government, the Bank, and UNDP. The objectives were to disseminate the results of the PA, to define action plans for the health and education sectors, and to build capacity to collect and analyze statistical data, in collaboration with other donors.
  • Despite the delicate character of poverty in Gabon, the participatory process of the PA generated significant ownership and the Interministerial Technical Committee provided more detailed and constructive comments than did the Bank.
GhanaThe PPA complemented the quantitative information and provided further information on such problems as the problem of female-headed households in the north. The importance of rural infrastructure and the quality and access of education and health were highlighted.The information from the PPA is relatively complex and extensive, thus making incorporation of its analysis into other Bank reports often time-consuming and difficult. However, the CEM—an influential Bank instrument—had a poverty focus which, in part, was influenced by the results of the PA.The information from the PPA and PA has been analyzed in a UNICEF report, later disseminated at a national conference attended by key government policymakers. An ongoing process of dialogue has now developed between the Bank and the government regarding poverty. The government was initially not receptive to the results of the PA and PPA. However, the government’s interest was underscored by the initial PPA results in the CEM. The capacity of the Statistics Department was strengthened through the PA (published poverty profile, training, increased dialogue with line ministries).Other institutions were already involved in promoting a dialogue on poverty. It is thus difficult to assess the impact of the PPA alone on other institutions. The formulation of a poverty policy through joint donor action and the Consultative Group meeting in Paris is now being developed.
  • Initially, key stakeholders were reluctant to become involved. However, a process approach was adopted whereby the PPA and PA were viewed as a means of initiating dialogue and not an end in itself. For such an approach, Bank follow-up is vital.
KenyaThe information in the PPA was used to design a more effective and focused quantitative questionnaire. The PPA focused on issues such as social capital, coping strategies, female-headed households, and the use of services, including water. It resulted in the recognition that rural water was a problem. It highlighted the fact that people defined female-headed households differently.The PA does reflect the major findings of the PPA. Some argued that the PA and PPA could have been more extensively incorporated into other country reports.Some in government were initially skeptical and not willing to become involved directly. The benefits of adopting the approach were not clear to them. However, after the first PPA analysis and dissemination workshops, the government initialed a second round with the NGOs. This is being funded by the DFID.Capacity in country to conduct qualitative assessments has increased.
  • Sequencing of the PPA and quantitative analysis is important. The PPA was able to influence the design of the household surveys.
  • More time was required to develop dialogue with key stakeholders.
LesothoSome key themes emerged from the PPA that were not highlighted in the quantitative surveys: for example, alcoholism and political factors such, as injustice and corruption. These issues fed into the policy level through the action plan.Initially limited ownership by government. Some in government felt that the draft PA was not a clear policy document. But as government ownership increased, such issues as corruption and the role of local government appeared in speeches and documents.PA widely used by donors and other agencies in country.
  • Initially there was limited ownership in country. Ownership increased only when responsibility for the action plan was handed over to a cross-section of stakeholders. A workshop was held in February 1997 that solidified local ownership of the action plan.
MadagascarThe PA information put such issues as access to social services and security on the agenda for discussion.Impact upon Bank documents has been limited to date.Government commitment and ownership of the poverty problem vary. Those who were involved in the PA are now more committed. Government officials have visited the Bank on several occasions to follow up the results of the PPA. However, follow-up by the Bank has not been extensive.Impact on other key institutions in country that were involved in the PPA has been high.
  • Because the initial approach was not just a one-time intervention of information gathering, but part of a process of building up dialogue at different levels with various stakeholders, government ownership has developed. However, because Bank follow-up has not been extensive, it has not been possible to consolidate all the advances in policy dialogue.
MaliThe information from the qualitative survey explained some of the perceived anomalies from the quantitative survey. For example, the disproportionate amount of money spent on clothing was explained by the fact that clothing is also an investment for “social insurance.”Project on grassroots initiatives was identified and is under preparation. The PPA was one of the first in Africa and its methodology was replicated in the Bank’s PAs in Niger, Chad, and Benin.Was a first step in putting poverty on the political agenda as a cross-cutting issue in itself
MozambiqueThe PPA generally sounds out local communities using an approach that is more flexible and more open to defining issues according to the poor’s own concerns. It encourages and is based on their direct participation and embraces direct observation as a key component of the research method.Too early to assess policy impactThe PPA process was successfully internalized in the Ministry of Planning. High degree of local ownership. Working groups in sector ministries have used information on specific sector issues (such as health, water, livestock). Ministry of Social Action and other institutions have nominated staff for PRA training and seconded staff to participate as members of the field teams.Other stakeholders have been included through widespread dissemination of the PPA material from the beginning. A real strength of the PPA has been its multidisciplinary approach, in terms of background, type of institution (university, government, NGO), and type of researcher (“insiders” and “outsiders”). This multiinstitutional approach has also strengthened relationships among the participating institutions. Collaborating NGOs (partners in fieldwork in Phase II) have benefited directly while nonparticipating NGOs have used field-site data for unproved targeting, and poverty mapping data for longer-term planning.
  • There was a tradeoff between local ownership and quality control.
  • For increased impact, the PPA reports should be written in a more concise manner.
  • In the first phase there was an overcrowding of the research agenda and the interview guide was too broad. Careful matching of the research issues to methods of investigation is required.
  • A major problem has been the demands of multiple stakeholders. The World Bank had its own internal deadlines and the Bank PPA manager, located in Maputo, also had to be responsive to the needs of She other stakeholders.
  • PRA represents a significant and useful methodological approach to encourage communities to be more conscious of their life conditions, opportunities, strengths, and limitations. This is particularly important in the context of a government without the capacity to help in many areas of the country.
NigerSome key elements of the poverty profile (based on statistical data) were confirmed by the PPA (for example, food insecurity, low enrollment) and some other elements were added (causality for low enrollment, nonuse of health services) and will be incorporated into the new survey design.The manager of the PA, since the publication of the Gray Cover, has succeeded in influencing the design of the proposed Infrastructure Project to include pilot rural operations. The CAS will use participatory techniques such as regional workshops and consultation, which have been recognized as very valuable based on the experience of the PA.The government formed an Interministerial Committee on Poverty and has been actively involved in the PA process, having written its own PA with UNDP. A Round Table on Poverty has been planned but has not yet been held, largely because of political uncertainty in the country.As a result of the Bank’s PPA and PA process, UNDP and EU have now participated in regional workshops for the Niger CAS 1997 in an attempt to design their own assistance strategies, with poverty as a central focal point. NGOs are now major participants in the poverty dialogue.
  • The primary lesson learned is that the perception of poverty issues by major stakeholders is a key element in understanding poverty and will be taken into account in future projects, programs, and policies dealing with poverty reduction.
NigeriaThe PPA highlighted that the poor viewed water and roads as priorities. In addition, the weakness of the coping mechanisms was highlighted. Strategy needs to be focused on pattern of growth, as bottom 20 percent of the population has become worse off despite an overall poverty decline.The Bank refocused its program toward water and roads. Targeting public expenditures in health, education, and water was indicated to be important in alleviating the suffering of the poor.In country, the PPA has initiated an ongoing debate about poverty and gender issues. The PPA process undated the government’s increasing interest and involvement in the work of the NGOs.NGOs. are now being increasingly more accepted as part of the development process.
  • While funding has been shrinking, the PPA process facilitated increased donor coordination.
RwandaThe PPA highlighted the labor constraint in the agricultural sector since the genocide; the national debate had previously assumed a continuing labor surplus economy. It also highlighted restrictions on labor mobility, the increasingly female face of poverty, problems of rising costs of health care, migration patterns, and information on changes in community networks and social relationships.The PPA was a central input to the PA, which was used as a base document for the Consultative Group meetings. PPA results also fed into the CAS, the agriculture strategy note, and the agricultural LILGovernment was initially somewhat skeptical about the PPA, but has increasingly become interested in and supportive of the results. The results of the PPA were very high profile in Rwanda, in part because of the controversy about labor constraints and the tradeoff between economic costs and security benefits in imposing mobility restrictions. The government is reviewing the PA and will make a decision about whether it wishes to publish a joint PA and poverty reduction strategy.The results of the PA and PPA were widely disseminated and debated in Rwanda, although the concrete impact on other institutions is still to be seen.
  • PRA can be an extremely useful tool, even in the worst of postconflict situations (and there can hardly be less trust than in postconflict Rwanda).
  • Putting together a team of people based on their commitment as well as their skills can immensely improve the quality of results—in this case the team showed a remarkable commitment to producing a good analysis.
  • The influence of the PPA can be greatly increased by carefully choosing partners to conduct it and gaining the involvement of high-profile government or civil society individuals. These informal networks disseminated and lent credibility to the results.
  • For the PRA training, we had allocated two weeks. This was sufficient to transfer the tools but not the substance of all the questions. It would be useful to increase the length of the training and carry out fieldwork in several rounds, so that teams can analyze results from the first communities immediately.
  • Trust with communities is increased and the process moves more quickly where the team includes a member from the community.
South AfricaThe PPA highlighted the various dynamics of the decision making process, coping strategies, seasonality, intrahousehold gender relations, and the constrained access to services. As an example of the stresses caused by seasonality, the problem of paying for school fees at a time when income was short was also highlighted through the PPA.Too early to assessThe PPA included key policy-makers from the beginning and ownership gradually developed among high-level, influential stakeholders. The Cabinet met twice to discuss the PPA. The first meeting took two hours and was chaired by Thabo Mbeki, the Deputy President of South Africa.Too early to assess.
  • Stakeholder involvement from the beginning was an important step. Although the initial stakeholder workshop was time-consuming and problematic to convene, many advantages became apparent as the process evolved. The workshop identified the most appropriate approach and methodology. As a result, the PPA was both rapid and efficient.
  • Management of the process by the local consulting firm was transparent and effective.
  • The unexpected closure of the South African Reconstruction and Development Office rendered the initial strategy of focusing on one particular department inadequate.
TanzaniaBoth the PA and the PPA estimated that the number of poor in the rural areas was approximately 50 percent of the population. The PPA highlighted that a larger proportion of these poor households are female headed. Whereas the PA focused on consumption and expenditure, the PPA used criteria as defined by the poor, such as feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness. Many problems were gender specific; the women identified food, water, and health as their main problems, whereas men identified transport, farming, and drunkenness.The financial-sector reform is using the same methodology. The information from the PPA is reflected in the PA.The government was initially cautious but became more receptive as it understood the value of the approach. The PPA highlighted the capacity of the poor to analyze their own problems.
  • More time and resources are required to promote a longer process, which would lead to a greater understanding of poverty and its links to policy.
  • Teams could be located at the field level. Coordination by one person in Washington proved difficult. The Resident Mission in Tanzania could be strengthened to take the initiative. People skilled in the analysis of poverty could be located within the Resident Mission. To increase the capacity of the Resident Mission, training in best practice of gathering qualitative information could be conducted and tool kits provided.
TogoAttention drawn to generally ignored, vulnerable groups: displaced people and domestic child labor.There was limited impact on the CAS because the PPA was completed after-ward. The PA was written by the PPA manager and thus the qualitative information was incorporated.Greater ownership of proposed strategy. The PA was “more interesting” and therefore more readable.Other donors such as the UNDP are also promoting the use of qualitative techniques. The PPA assisted in building dialogue between the Bank and other donors.
  • It was difficult for researchers to analyze and organize information in the field within the limited time frame. Therefore, some analysis might not have been accurate and it was not written in a way easy to understand.
  • The data should have been disaggregated by gender.
UgandaKnowledge about areas of the country where no information was available because of the civil war.The Ugandan PPA was one of the first in the Bank, and it initiated Bank-wide discussions on the value of qualitative data.
  • Men and women were consulted, but the information was not disaggregated.
  • A lot can be learned quickly.
ZambiaInformation detailed and comprehensive. Disaggregated by gender where appropriate. Such issues as school fees and the timing of their payment were highlighted.The PA includes a detailed action plan that incorporates some of the recommendations of the PPA. Specific elements that influenced the action plan included emphasis on rural infrastructure investments and urban services. The poverty profile—especially community- based identification of the ultra-poor, coping strategies, safety nets, and targeted interventions—were also influenced by the PPA. The Bank’s Health Project contains conditions of cost recovery based on the PPA and supported by the second Social Recovery Project.The government was influenced by the priorities expressed by the poor in the ranking exercises. The Ministry of Health has been using the results of the PPA and the PA in developing policy. In the Ministry of Education, a new policy is in preparation with reference to the timing of school fees. Positive feedback has been received from the communities in the PPA on the functioning of the emergency safety net during the southern Africa drought of 1992.The NGO, PAG, has developed into an effective policyoriented institution. The capacity of the NGO has been built. However, it is now dependent on government and donors for sustainability and its capacity requires further strengthening.
  • Feeding information back to the communities and promoting ongoing dialogue should be part of the design of the PPA. Information from the PPA could then be used to develop action plans.
  • Including key stakeholders from the beginning enhanced long-term ownership.
Latin America

and Caribbean
ArgentinaIdentification of eligibility and targeting criteria for beneficiaries of social programs. Development of impact indicators to monitor social programs.PA has been completed. There is great potential for the results to be integrated into other Bank programs because of the team ownership within the Bank.Increased coordination between government agencies and programs. Dissemination of the results has validated the methodology and contributed to the development of an integrated (qualitative/quantitative) approach to monitoring and evaluating social programs. Some government programs are modifying their M&E indicators as SIEMPRO has developed program-specific indicators.With NGOs: Only a few NGOs have been able to meet the technical qualifications required by SIEMPRO to carry out the PPA. It is expected that the higher standards set by SIEMPRO would have a positive impact on the NGO community as they would have to professionalize their services. At the same time, SIEMPRO is carrying out a training program for government officials and planning to develop a more structured training program (a master program). Outside the country: SIEMPRO experience on monitoring and evaluation of social programs is being disseminated to other countries.
  • Issues of ownership in the Bank context are relevant. From the beginning the PPA was planned and prepared using an inclusive, consultative approach within the Bank. To be effective and have multiplier effects, PPAs have to be linked to broader operations or sector work.
  • Results have to be translated into operational recommendations for ongoing operations (M&E methodologies and indicators, eligibility and targeting criteria, etc.).
Costa RicaThe PPA highlighted the linkages between home ownership and status in society. Family was viewed as the most important institution, and in times of stress people rely on their families for support.Delay in the analysis and dissemination of findings has meant that the impact within the Bank has been limited to date.The government was eager to disseminate the results, but it took nine months for the Bank to grant permission.Too early to assess.
  • A clear dissemination strategy should be defined as part of the PPA’s design.
EcuadorQuality of information is good. The results fed directly into the type of questions analyzed in the quantitative survey.The PA information has been strongly reflected in the CAS. Several sector divisions have started sector studies as preparation for operations based on the PA results.Although the government was not included in the process of the PPA and the PA, the results of the PA have affected the country’s perceptions of its priorities. Such issues as access to secondary schools and off-farm rural markets, previously not part of the poverty debate in Ecuador, were placed on the agenda. The PPA work has initiated dialogue between different groups and the Bank.The NGOs in country have increased their capacity to conduct qualitative surveys. UNICEF used the PPA methodology to evaluate the impact of its program.
  • There were advantages of the qualitative assessment preceding the quantitative assessment. The qualitative information was used in the design of the quantitative survey.
  • The PA manager should be closely involved in the whole process. A greater understanding of the qualitative research techniques from the beginning would have enhanced the results. It is proposed that the preparation of the teams involved in the PPA and PA be clearly thought through for each team and each country.
  • The results should be analyzed by someone who has an understanding of the country and its culture in order to put the poverty into the country context.
GuatemalaThe findings of the PPA have recently been published in a book, and follow- up studies are underway on such issues as gender, problems of indigenous peoples, and rural-urban dichotomies.
MexicoThe quality of the PPA was mixed. The information was not ranked adequately. However, it was gender specific, which added value. The report found that the women of Mexico City are unwilling to leave their houses and go to work. Because they do not have tenancy rights, they are afraid that their houses may become occupied. In the northern areas it is easier for women to obtain jobs than for men. This challenges the traditional gender roles as many men find themselves out of work. Conflict within the household was highlighted as a major issue.The results are still being assimilated.The results are still being assimilated.Too early to assess.
  • It was difficult to find a suitable national consultant who was not politically affiliated.
  • Controlling the process of gathering PPA information proved problematic, as the teams attempted to follow their own agenda.
Europe and Central Asia
ArmeniaThe qualitative information assisted in the analysis of the results of the quantitative surveys. The PPA highlighted the great variety of coping strategies and the lack of trust for any organization such as local government, NGOs, and community groups.The PA manager knew the country well, had built up respect among key policymakers and within the country’s academic community, and encouraged a team approach within the Bank. In the Bank, the PPA manager and those managing surveys worked closely to establish a research agenda for the PPA. The country department’s macroeconomist was also extensively involved. The outcome was the following: first, the results of the PPA were reflected in the PA; second, the country program and the recently drafted CAS integrated the results of the PA; and third, the PA was well received in country.The results were disseminated at a seminar in March 1996.
  • If there had been adequate resources and time, the PA should have been integrated with the Social Investment Fund.
South Asia
PakistanThe PPA highlighted the fact that the poor spend a large proportion of their income on health care. The poor felt that social services were inadequate and there was a lack of accountability to the communities. Many income-earning opportunities were lost through ill health.The awareness of some Bank staff of the information contained in the two PPA studies is limited.Limited.Limited.Some key stakeholders were consulted during the preparation of the PA. The Resident Mission helped to organize the workshops. Some felt that although the consultations were fairly extensive, the final document did not reflect the views of the majority.
Notes: See list on pp. xxi-xxii for definitions of abbreviations and acronyms. In some cases, it has been too early to assess the impact. In others, the impact of the PPA has been difficult to isolate from other factors. Policy change and attitude shifts are part of a complex social process and thus it is often difficult to isolate the impact of the PPA.
Notes: See list on pp. xxi-xxii for definitions of abbreviations and acronyms. In some cases, it has been too early to assess the impact. In others, the impact of the PPA has been difficult to isolate from other factors. Policy change and attitude shifts are part of a complex social process and thus it is often difficult to isolate the impact of the PPA.
Appendix C. Poverty Assessments, Completed and Scheduled (by Country), Fiscal Year 1989–2000
East Asia and the Pacific
Completed (15)
Philippines (update)1993
Indonesia (update)1994
Lao PDRa1996
Philippines (update)1996
Philippines (update)2000
Vietnam (update)a2000
Scheduled Updates (4)
Lao PDRa2001
Europe and Central Asia
Completed (22)
Kyrgyz Republica1995
Armenia (update)a1999
Kyrgyz Republic (update)a1999
FYR Macedoniaa1999
Russia (update)1999
Scheduled (1)
Scheduled Updates (1)
Latin America and the Caribbean
Costa Rica1991
El Salvador1994
Paraguay (update)1994
Dominican Republic1995
Bolivia (update)a1996
Ecuador (update)1996
Trinidad and Tobago1996
Costa Rica (update)1997
Chile (update)1998
Peru (update)1999
Argentina (update)2000
Scheduled Updates (5)
Middle East and North Africa
Completed (6)
Egypt, Arab Republic ofa1992
Yemen, Republic ofa1996
Scheduled Updates (2)
South Asia
Completed (11)
Sri Lankaa1995
Pakistan (update)a1996
India (update)a1997
Bangladesh (update)a1998
South Asia-Continued
India (update)a1998
Nepal (update)a1999
India (update)a2000
Scheduled Updates (l)
Sri Lankaa2001
Sub-Saharan Africa
Completed (40)
The Gambiaa1993
Sierra Leonea1993
Cape Verdea1994
Ghana (update)a1995
Malawi (update)a1996
Cote d’Ivoirea1997
Rwanda (update)a1998
Scheduled Updates (l)
Total Number of Assessments:Completed—23
Scheduled Updates—14
Grand Total—138
Notes: Assessments classified as completed are in gray or red cover, except for three assessments that were completed before Operational Directive 4.15: Poverty Reduction was issued. Schedule as of March 28, 2000.In East Asia and the Pacific, poverty assessments are not scheduled for Myanmar, due to its inactive status, and the Pacific Island States, because of limited Bank support. In Korea, poverty is being monitored in the context of the structural adjustment loans, and the country economic report discusses the impact of the economic crisis on poverty. No poverty assessment is formally scheduled because the Bank’s support for Korea is in response to the crisis and is expected to be short term. A poverty study for Papua New Guinea was completed in FY00.In Europe and Central Asia, poverty assessments are not scheduled for the Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, and Slovenia, due to limited Bank support. Poverty assessments are scheduled for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lithuania, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan in FY02.In Latin America and the Caribbean, poverty assessments are not scheduled for Suriname, due to its inactive status, and for the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), due to limited Bank support A poverty assessment update for Mexico is in green coverIn the Middle East and North Africa, poverty assessments are not scheduled for Iran and the Syrian Arab Republic due to limited Bank support.In South Asia, poverty assessments are not scheduled for Afghanistan, due to its inactive status, and for Bhutan and Maldives, due to limited Bank support.In Sub-Saharan Africa, poverty assessments are not scheduled for Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Somalia, and Sudan, due to their inactive status, and to Equatorial Guinea and Sao Tome and Principe, due to limited Bank support. A poverty assessment for South Africa, titled “Poverty and Inequality,” was completed by the government in FY98. The Bank contributed to this report, including by undertaking an LSMS and participatory poverty assessments, and by preparing the poverty profile and background papers. Poverty notes have been completed for Burkina Faso (FY97) and Central African Republic (FY98). Additional poverty notes/studies will be prepared for Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, and Uganda.

IDA borrower.

Source: Table compiled by PRMPO, World Bank, Washington, D.C.
Notes: Assessments classified as completed are in gray or red cover, except for three assessments that were completed before Operational Directive 4.15: Poverty Reduction was issued. Schedule as of March 28, 2000.In East Asia and the Pacific, poverty assessments are not scheduled for Myanmar, due to its inactive status, and the Pacific Island States, because of limited Bank support. In Korea, poverty is being monitored in the context of the structural adjustment loans, and the country economic report discusses the impact of the economic crisis on poverty. No poverty assessment is formally scheduled because the Bank’s support for Korea is in response to the crisis and is expected to be short term. A poverty study for Papua New Guinea was completed in FY00.In Europe and Central Asia, poverty assessments are not scheduled for the Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, and Slovenia, due to limited Bank support. Poverty assessments are scheduled for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lithuania, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan in FY02.In Latin America and the Caribbean, poverty assessments are not scheduled for Suriname, due to its inactive status, and for the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), due to limited Bank support A poverty assessment update for Mexico is in green coverIn the Middle East and North Africa, poverty assessments are not scheduled for Iran and the Syrian Arab Republic due to limited Bank support.In South Asia, poverty assessments are not scheduled for Afghanistan, due to its inactive status, and for Bhutan and Maldives, due to limited Bank support.In Sub-Saharan Africa, poverty assessments are not scheduled for Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Somalia, and Sudan, due to their inactive status, and to Equatorial Guinea and Sao Tome and Principe, due to limited Bank support. A poverty assessment for South Africa, titled “Poverty and Inequality,” was completed by the government in FY98. The Bank contributed to this report, including by undertaking an LSMS and participatory poverty assessments, and by preparing the poverty profile and background papers. Poverty notes have been completed for Burkina Faso (FY97) and Central African Republic (FY98). Additional poverty notes/studies will be prepared for Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, and Uganda.

IDA borrower.

Source: Table compiled by PRMPO, World Bank, Washington, D.C.
Appendix D. Examples of FRA Exercises in Thailand (1998) and Zambia (1996)

Example of PRA Exercise in Thailand

Impact of the Economic Crisis: Khon Kaen

Example of PRA Exercise in Zambia

Causes and Impact of Early Initiation of Sex among Girls (Analyzed by a group of girls, Chawama Compound)
Appendix E. Country Case Examples

Costa Rica


Costa Rica has a per capita income of US$2,590 (1995) annually and thus is at the higher end of the tower-income countries. Its quality-of-life indicators are similar to those of a developed country. However, the key indicators of social well-being are more similar to those of a middle-income country.1 Costa Rica has traditionally had an efficient public social sector and a strong pro-poor political party, and government is actively seeking ways to alleviate poverty and open up the policy dialogue. A program called the National Plan to Combat Poverty, administered under the Second Vice President, has identified the 17 poorest communities in Costa Rica. Under the plan, pilot studies to analyze poverty have been initiated.


Policy dialogue in the poverty assessment

The Bank consulted a wide range of government line ministries as part of the preparation of the poverty assessment and later to share the findings of the report. National workshops were convened with a cross-section of stakeholders. By the time the assessment was completed, consensus had been achieved through dialogue, according to the Bank manager. However, some ministries were not widely aware of the report. Officials in the Ministry of Planning and Economic Policy—the implementing agency—as well as in the Second Vice President’s Office felt that although the Bank had made an agreement with the previous government to undertake the poverty assessment, the consultations with the new government had been less extensive. Some officials stated that they thought the assessment was an internal Bank document.

Participatory research process

National consultants were contracted to undertake the PPA. Because of the political commitment to alleviate poverty, high-level government officials supported the PPA from the beginning. Senior advisers from the Planning Ministry were involved and are now committed to incorporating the results into the analysis of poverty. They are in direct contact with the minister and have the ability to influence policy. However, the involvement of other line ministries has so far been limited, to the extent that the PPA was described by one government agency as “the secret study.” In addition, there was limited consultation with the NGO community. However, the ministry is now committed to the wide dissemination of what it perceives to be a valid and credible document. The dissemination process should result in wider ownership.

There is confusion over the ownership of information contained in the PPA. In the implementing ministry, information was felt to be the property of the World Bank. Nevertheless, government officials were eager to publish the PPA results without waiting for completion of the poverty assessment, since they considered the PPA a valid stand-alone document with clear and implementable policy messages. In addition, they were concerned that the final poverty assessment would not reflect the findings of the PPA. The Bank manager attempted to gain clearance as quickly as possible for publication of the PPA, but there were administration delays. Permission to print and disseminate the information was finally gained, nine months after the government’s initial request.

Methodology—beneficiary assessment

The fieldwork for the PPA was undertaken in December 1994 and lasted one month. Seven sites were selected from the government’s National Plan to Combat Poverty, which had identified the poorest areas. A cross-section of rural, peri-urban, and urban communities was selected. The fieldwork included a combination of individual interviews and focus group discussions. A team of researchers was selected from students at the university and recent graduates. Senior government officials assisted in the fieldwork. A consultant from the United States trained the team in interviewing techniques. During the pilot phase in one community, techniques were refined and a manual was written by the research team. The final report was written by a multidisciplinary team. The total cost of the study was US$36,500.

Value Added

The PPA found that housing is a major priority of the poor (up to one-third of the PPA report focused on housing). Twenty percent of those surveyed felt that housing was a major goal before any other material possession; 20 percent felt that one of their most serious problems was not having a home; and 50 percent of the families felt that their houses were in poor condition, with, for example, poor or incomplete roofing or an earth floor.

Other priorities of those interviewed included poor quality of services in health centers; lack of day care centers in urban areas; and the need for more effective transport services and feeder roads to take their goods to market. Although literacy rates were high (94.6 percent for females and 94.4 percent for males), secondary education was not perceived as a priority in a majority of households in either urban or rural areas.

Links to Policy Change

The PPA approach is new to Costa Rica, and the director of the study felt that the process had been a learning experience. It was the first study in Costa Rica to undertake a nationwide survey using anthropological techniques. In the past, such studies were confined to small sections of the population and had a sector focus. The lack of sector bias in the PPA enabled people to express priorities instead of focusing on predetermined sectors.

Because senior government officials were involved in the studies at the community level, there was a greater understanding of and commitment to the PPA approach within the Ministry of Planning. Ministry officials felt that the PPA approach could have a wider impact in the future. Rather than serving as an add-on to the poverty assessment, the PPA is being treated as a building block to gain a wider understanding of poverty issues. Ministry officials see a need for more participatory studies in the future.

Lessons for Increasing Impact

Increase ownership

Overall, broad ownership of the PPA study was limited despite the fact that government officials were included from the beginning.

Ministry officials felt that the delay in approving publication of the findings reduced the credibility of the information in the PPA. The Minister of Planning and Economic Policy had already read the PPA and agreed with the conclusions but was reluctant to pass it on to the Vice President and the other ministers before receiving approval from the Bank.

Include a wider range of stakeholders

The extent to which other stakeholders could have been involved and the timing of their inclusion were subjects of debate. The ministry felt that including a wider range of stakeholders during preparation would complicate the process. The Ministry now plans to undertake a series of workshops at the national and regional levels to disseminate the findings among a wider cross-section of stakeholders.

The Association of Latin America NGOs felt that many groups had information and experience that could have been valuable during preparation of the PPA, and that involving a wider range of stakeholders would have created broader support for the policy recommendations. For example, the Central American Council of Cooperatives had already undertaken significant work on how poor people have been affected by various social and economic policies. The NGO association also felt that the information in the PPA could have been cross-referenced with existing studies to make the conclusions more representative. The Ministry of Planning now intends to involve the NGOs extensively in the ongoing dialogue.

Dissemination of the study

Impact of the PPA should increase now that the government is able to disseminate the information. Some government agencies feel they can apply the approach effectively in their own work. For example, the Social Welfare Fund is attempting to work directly with local government, and fund officials stated that the approach could assist district councils in identifying community priorities. In addition, the coordinating body for the National Plan to Combat Poverty commented that the PPA would be relevant to their work of realigning the program to meet community needs.

Dissemination of the study to communities could help build national ownership and awareness and increase involvement of communities in the poverty debate. However, a ministry official commented that feedback had already been given to communities during the fieldwork and that communities would be more interested in proposed interventions than in the findings of the PPA.

To increase the impact of the PPA, it could be disseminated through existing communication structures to broaden the policy debate. Costa Rica already has an effective communications strategy for social issues. Recent campaigns have included awareness of health and domestic violence issues. Through the use of these existing structures, the PPA could become a vehicle for deepening the understanding of poverty.

A recommendation for the Costa Rica PPA, and for future PPAs throughout the Bank, is that a dissemination strategy should be part of the PPA design. It should be detailed in the terms of reference and budgeted from the outset.

Management in the Bank

Coordination between the poverty assessment and the PPA was togistically difficult. The task manager for the poverty assessment lives in Honduras and one consultant lives in Chile. Three others, however, live in Costa Rica and could have been more extensively involved in the PPA. Their involvement would have given them a better understanding of the participatory approach and would have helped the team to more effectively combine the household survey results from the poverty assessment with the results of the PPA.

The resident mission felt excluded from the PPA, although the mission had not been established at the time of the PPA fieldwork. The NGO liaison officer had extensive knowledge of the various groups in civil society and believes that he can now assist the government in formulating a dissemination strategy for the PPA.


The Bank set a deadline for the PPA to be completed by December 1994. This was to correspond with the completion of the poverty assessment, which was later delayed. Because of this deadline, the PPA director felt that the fieldwork had been rushed and that it could have been more extensive (it should have included other poor areas, such as in the north) and more intensive (more time should have been spent at each site). Only marginal costs would have been incurred had the deadline been extended.



The PPA was sponsored by the Poverty Alleviation Unit (Department of Population and Social Development) of the National Directorate of Planning in the Ministry of Planning and Finance, and financed by the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID) and the World Bank through the Dutch Trust Fund for Poverty Assessments.2


The policy dialogue

The PPA was initiated in late 1994 to correspond with the government’s preparation of a poverty assessment and was motivated by the need for qualitative insights on poverty at the household and community levels. The objectives of the exercise were to contribute to government policy formulation by the Poverty Alleviation Unit in the Ministry of Planning; sharpen the focus on poverty alleviation in donors’ work programs; contribute to a broader understanding of livelihood trends and changes in the country; and enhance the capacity of the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane at Maputo, the Poverty Alleviation Unit, and collaborating agencies to carry out participatory research.

The specific objectives of the Mozambique PPA, as set out in the initial discussion paper,3 were to explore, in poor rural and urban communities, the following:

  • The main concerns, problems, and priorities in people’s lives; how these have changed since the peace accord; how they differ according to gender; and the perceived constraints to addressing poverty problems
  • Local conceptions of relative well-being; causes of vulnerability and seasonal stress; and the nature and effectiveness of community coping mechanisms, household survival strategies, and other (government/NGO) safety nets
  • Perceptions of social service delivery: access, quality, and cost of different service providers (public, traditional, NGO)
  • Access to land: security and conflict in tenure, and situations under which terms of entitlement are changing
  • Access to infrastructure, markets, and other social and economic services; and the barriers that limit access to income and participation in markets, employment, and so forth

The PPA was structured in three phases:

Phase I: a preparatory phase to produce preliminary poverty profiles using wealth and problem rankings and priority needs assessments from two districts in each of the country’s 10 provinces. Preparation for Phase I began in February 1995 and involved broad consultation with the government and the NGO, donor, and research communities.

Phase II: to more closely define the research agenda, with much of the work subcontracted to partner NGOs, which carried out extended livelihood assessments in fieldwork areas and compiled poverty data for five provinces. Fieldwork for Phase II was carried out between September and December 1996.

Phase III: a short follow-up in rural sites to capture aspects of seasonality through supplementary fieldwork in selected communities; completion of overall PPA synthesis, documentation, and dissemination.

Feedback on progress of the PPA was provided through regular meetings with the Poverty Alleviation Unit and line ministries, donors, NGOs, and the research community. Emerging findings from the PPA were disseminated through the national press and numerous workshops and seminars within and outside Mozambique, including through the Red Cross and the UNDP Poverty Forum. In addition, PPA outcomes were integrated into poverty analysis and participatory methodologies in academic and practical courses at the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane. Information on PPA methodology and materials was also provided to various local and international NGOs and to donors. All PPA documentation has been freely available to the public.

Participatory research process

The methodology for the PPA was a mix of participatory rural appraisal (PRA) techniques, including semistructured conversational interviewing, direct observation, and also more complex visual research methods such as thematic mapping, seasonality diagramming, wealth ranking, institutional mapping, and trend and livelihood analysis.

Value Added

  • A qualitative approach based on direct observation enabled researchers to be more flexible and open to the concerns of the poor and to encourage their direct participation.
  • A real strength of the PPA approach has been its inclusion of multi-disciplinary researchers and multiple stakeholders. This approach has also strengmened relationships between the participating institutions (the university, the government, and NGOs).
  • The PRA approach enabled communities to become more conscious of their life conditions, opportunities, strengths, and limitations. This is particularly important because the government does not have the capacity to help the poor in many areas of the country.

The PPA has made a considerable impact through the participatory process. The participation of a variety of local institutions and stakeholders was encouraged: collaborating NGOs (partners in fieldwork in Phase II) benefited directly, while nonparticipating NGOs have used field data for improved targeting and poverty mapping data for longer-term planning; working groups in sector ministries have used information on specific sector issues (such as health, water, livestock); and Ministry of Social Action and other institutions nominated staff for PRA training and seconded staff to participate as members of the field teams.

Institutional issues

The PPA was adopted by the Poverty Alleviation Unit in the Ministry of Planning and Finance and contracted to the Centro de Estudos de População at the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (CEP-UEM). The emphasis on local ownership resulted in the PPA process being successfully internalized in the strategic poverty work of the Poverty Alleviation Unit.

In institutional terms, Phase II provided for increased emphasis on partnerships, particularly with NGOs under subcontract, to carry out fieldwork or analyze poverty data in their areas of operation. This feature of Phase II allowed for the realization of the capacity-strengthening component of the PPA. Collaborating NGOs benefited from training and from guidance in poverty-sensitive community assessments as a consequence of their participation in the exercise.

The PPA began as a World Bank initiative, but beyond Phase I the Bank did not play a significant role in the exercise—partly because of the protracted absence of a focal counterpart in the Bank after the departure of the PPA task manager in June 1996 and the consequent reorganization of task responsibilities in Washington. A participant in the workshop organized for this study asked whether the PPA was contributing to project or policy formulation at the World Bank. The facilitator responded that the primary client for the PPA was the government of Mozambique.

The government’s assessment of the PPA

The director of the Poverty Alleviation Unit gave a presentation at the workshop in which she underscored the value of the PPA as a source of community-level information on rural livelihood conditions in this postwar period (and given the lack of data because of conflict conditions). The PPA has been closely consulted by a number of ministries—Education, Health, Labor, Youth and Culture, Social Action, and Environment—as they formulate development plans. The Poverty Alleviation Unit has also used the PPA results to evaluate proposed government strategies and test the validity of strategic priorities. The PPA has highlighted the heterogeneity of poverty and the complexities inherent in different regions and among different social groups of the poor, and has encouraged the Poverty Alleviation Unit to systematically monitor poverty in selected districts.

Despite this interest at the national level, there are limitations to what the PPA can achieve because locally specific descriptive material might not be applicable at the macroeconomic level. PPAs can be valuable at the microeconomic level, however—especially if conjoined with other survey results—even if they do not directly influence policy.

In terms of institutional linkage, the bridge between the Poverty Alleviation Unit and the university was considered to be extremely beneficial, and both parties hope that their collaboration will continue.

An assessment by NGO partners

During the field research, a representative from the NGO Kulima, from Inhambane, suggested that involvement by subcontract in Phase II of the PPA enabled the NGO to achieve greater understanding of communities with which they work and learn new methods for community development, especially methods for targeting vulnerable groups. With this experience, Kulima expects to scale up its participatory approach in priority needs assessments and project support. The representative also said that CEP-UEM could have provided more technical support in training and report writing.4 A representative from Concern, an international NGO, noted that its participation in the PPA contributed to internal planning and programming in Nampula province. She also referred to potential conflicts in PPA outcomes, particularly if community action plans are not consistent with government priorities for a district.

Enhancing in-country capacity in participatory methodologies

An important feature of Phase II was the development of a PRA participation network. Through this network, PRA approaches and methods have evolved and spread rapidly, but research and process documentation are still sorely lacking. The PRA network aims to facilitate the sharing of experiences and critical reflection. It has successfully hosted several open meetings attended by representatives of government, donors, the university, and NGOs,

Links to Policy Change

Although policymakers generally recognize the value of the PPA, many have serious reservations about using qualitative findings from micro-economic-level field studies to inform the national policy debate and create macroeconomic-level policy.

However, certain policy-relevant information is immediately apparent from the PPA (see table A1). First, outputs from wealth-ranking and problem-ranking exercises in the poverty assessments show who the poor are and their priority concerns. Second, the results of aggregated livelihood analyses show the multidimensional reality of deprivation.

Table A1.PPA Outputs and Applications
AgencyRelevant outputs of PPAAmenable action
Government—Poverty Alleviation UnitPoverty profile, problem ranking, livelihood and institutional analysisRural poverty assessment
Government—provincial-and district-level officesProvincial and district reportsInput to decentralized planning initiatives
Government—sector ministriesInstitutional and livelihood analysis, priority rankingSector planning and policy debates
DonorsProvincial summary and synthesisReview portfolio program mix
Nongovernmental organizationsLocal field site reportsParticipatory microprojects
Research communitySite and summary reportsContribution to research seminars on livelihood changes
Source: Reproduced from “Summary Report” (UEM 1997).

In policy terms, the PPA has contributed to the poverty profiles of the Poverty Alleviation Unit, to sector working groups, to NGO operations and programming, and to policy debates on livelihoods and poverty. It has also given rise to a process of participatory poverty monitoring and to an effective network of alliances between local and national NGOs, research institutes, and government agencies.

Regarding the PPA’s substantive contributions to a general understanding of poverty in Mozambique, the following were considered key outputs from the work:

  • Phase I poverty profile outputs were based on wealth ranking in communities and on a comprehensive poverty mapping exercise using available data in Maputo and the provinces.5 As expected, the participatory poverty mapping contributed a more nuanced composite profile and challenged the somewhat heterogeneous categorizing of better-off south, average center, and poor north, which has characterized much of the poverty debate. The PPA, by contrast, found poverty to be highly disbursed throughout the country, district by district. Furthermore, wealth ranking revealed community members’ understanding of community-level stratification (generally defined by four levels of relative well-being).
  • Phase I and Phase II analysis of the linkage between isolation and poverty highlighted both the negative deprivation-inducing dimensions of isolation and positive impacts such as social stability and environmental and natural resource balance.6
  • Problem ranking in rural communities provided ample evidence of the reasoning behind tong-term survival strategies, most of which were based on physical labor. The site reports showed consensus in the communities on entitlements for social welfare, identification of the most vulnerable (the elderly and the physically incapacitated), and identification of those who are capable of working and should not receive formal welfare assistance.
  • The PRA tools of problem ranking and matrix analysis were designed to evaluate two sets of priorities, one relating directly to livelihood issues and the other to the services needed to sustain those livelihoods (and people’s lives). The summary priority needs assessment from the PPA is often presented as follows:7
    • Roads/transport
    • Commercial networks/markets
    • Water
    • Health
    • Education

Social services such as water, health, and education were identified as priorities by all communities. That they often were ranked after access, mobility, and infrastructure concerns probably reflects a perception that health, education, and water services are unlikely to be extended to inaccessible areas. Women, however, consistently gave health and other social services the higher rankings.

Of interest in the problem-ranking exercises was the lack of reference to consumption as a dimension of poverty at the household level, suggesting that household food security is not a common comparator of relative well-being among households. It was also surprising that rural extension ranked very low, suggesting either that extension is not effective or that it is not considered a priority. When probed, respondents expressed satisfaction with local technical knowledge.

Lessons for Increasing Impact

Key issues for PPA design

  • Community priorities change over time in response to many social, political, and economic factors. It is important to take this into consideration in conceptualizing a policy dialogue mediated by PRA-type interlocutor mechanisms with communities.
  • PRA can be an important tool for facilitating continual dialogue between policymakers and communities, and for defining policies and strategies for implementing poverty alleviation programs.
  • It is important to fuse material outputs from both qualitative and quantitative research approaches and to couple qualitative and quantitative information on community priorities for action with the global policies and strategies of government and policymakers.
  • PRA should not be used simply as a diagnostic test to assess poverty but also as a monitoring tool at the community level. It should be exploited to its fullest potential, enabling community members to participate and make decisions at the local level on development programs that affect them.

Limitations of PRA

Limitations of the PRA method include the potential mismatch between the rapid application of research methods and the gradual and sometimes paralyzed pace of development; the problem of transferability and replicability of methods from one village or region to another; the raising of expectations and community research fatigue; and the need for thorough training to ensure quality of facilitation.

Weaknesses of the approach

Weaknesses of the PPA approach include the following:

  • Little standardization of criteria for the selection of community informants, and a continuing tendency—despite efforts at reversal—to interview community leaders and the more visible, articulate, and sociable members of the community
  • Difficulty on the part of community members in understanding the point of particular rapid appraisal methods, particularly visualization exercises such as institutional diagramming
  • Limited time in the field and limited time for preparation of field-work Difficulty in analyzing participatory research material and drafting a summary report that reflects all interviews and community-level interactions
  • No satisfactory means to address the problems of raising expectations and community fatigue with research teams.

Recommendations for future work

Future PPA work should do the following:

  • Clearly explain the research objectives to the community. Researchers should also have a thorough knowledge of the locale and of previous work conducted in the research areas. Fieldwork should not duplicate information available from previous assignments.
  • Elicit insiders’ knowledge and experience of how to confront community-level problems (researchers should not rely on the strong opinions of district administrators, for example).
  • Match the issues under investigation with the right mix of skills in the research team (particularly the gender mix of team). Research teams should also have the skills to use different methods in sequence and to overcome unanticipated obstacles.

Main conclusions

The PPA has shown that

  • Participatory methods can be useful for generating insights relevant to a poverty reduction strategy and that these local-level insights can be selectively translated to the national policy agenda.
  • Involving government policymakers in the PPA process will enhance its policy impact.
  • Systematically involving local NGOs for direct follow-up on community concerns and community-generated action plans is beneficial.
  • The participatory process is useful as a means of encouraging debate on poverty.
  • There is no perfect method for poverty assessment, and methodological approaches and tools still need to be practiced and perfected. Self-critical reflection will lead to improved poverty assessments and to improved dissemination and learning.
  • Assessing and alleviating poverty is a tong-term effort, and PPAs should be structured with this understanding in mind.

Next steps

The workshop participants had two main concerns related to follow-up and continuity of the PPA: how to maintain a database of district-level information and how to train teams for research and analysis.

The Poverty Alleviation Unit felt that CEP-UEM should play a key role in developing participatory methods for poverty assessment in Mozambique, consolidating the experience gained to date, holding training workshops, and maintaining the link with the government.

Workshop participants considered the PRA network that grew out of the exercise an important resource for linking different sources of information from different institutions.



In 1995, Pakistan had a per capita income of US$460 and a population of 129.7 million. With the population growing at 3 percent per year, Pakistan is one of the world’s most populous and fastest growing countries. The gross domestic product growth rate between 1970 and 1991 was 5.5 percent. However, disparities are high—20 percent of the households receive 43.6 percent of the total income while the poorest 20 percent receive only 7.9 percent. Pakistan lags behind other low-income countries with regard to health and education. The infant mortality rate is more than 100 per 1,000 live births; maternal mortality is 270 per 100,000 births; and less than 30 percent of the population is literate.


Policy dialogue in the poverty assessment

The poverty assessment was completed in September 1995 after extensive dialogue with the government, NGOs, and other groups in civil society. The resident mission organized workshops and meetings, including a high-level seminar in Islamabad and three provincial work-shops in Peshwar, Quetta, and Lahore in December 1995, to discuss the results with a cross-section of stakeholders. This was the first economic-sector work in Pakistan to be disseminated and discussed so widely. The workshops were followed by many positive press reports and increased awareness of poverty issues. The process helped encourage the government to form a group to look specifically at poverty issues.

Participatory research process

As part of the poverty assessment, participatory studies were carried out after the household survey analysis. The first study, funded by the World Bank and managed by the Human Resources study department and COD, was undertaken by an outside consultant working with local consultants from the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics. The Federal Bureau of Statistics was involved in selecting the communities—10 rural and urban communities in Punjab, Balochistan, and the Northwest Frontier Province. The fieldwork lasted for two months (March–April 1994) and was carried out by a roving team. The focus was on factors that influence investments made by the poor in education, health, and family planning. The methodology used was open-ended interviews and focus groups.

The second study took place during October and November 1993 and was funded by DFID. Its main objective was to study the formal and informal safety nets and social networks in Pakistan. PRA methods were used to collect data. The study focused on the poorest segments of Pakistani society and was based on the perceptions of the poor. In addition, the team conducted semistructured interviews with NGOs, research organizations, and government officials at various levels. The research was undertaken in both rural and urban areas, although there was a bias toward urban areas.

Value Added

The conclusion of the poverty assessment that drew the most attention was that the incidence of consumption poverty had fallen sharply, from 46 percent in 1984–85 to 34 percent in 1990–91. This conclusion was quoted in the World Bank’s November 1995 country assistance strategy paper. The report went on to say that a major concern in Pakistan is the low human development indicators. However, the poverty assessment integrated the results of the participatory surveys only to a limited extent. For example, the second report, funded by DFID, detailed the institutional issues related to social safety nets and the roles of government and the NGOs. That information was not extensively incorporated into the final poverty assessment report.

Links to Policy Change

The impact of the report, both in Pakistan and within the Bank, has not been significant. Many commented that the poverty assessment was a good piece of analysis but felt that the final report had some limitations. Although it recognized that poverty is multidimensional, some felt that the report could have presented the wider debate in Pakistan as opposed to focusing on consumption poverty.

Although the process of consultation was extensive, some felt that their views were not reflected in the final document. Furthermore, there is currently an extensive and well-documented debate on the measurement of poverty in Pakistan. To increase the impact and credibility of the poverty assessment, this debate could have been included in the report. One objective of the poverty assessment was to help reconcile the views of the government and the Bank. But some senior government officials felt that the poverty assessment did not accomplish this.

Focusing on the PPA, the first survey undertaken with the Institute of Development Economics highlighted the fact that the poor spend a large proportion of their income on health but feel that service standards are low and accountability is limited. However, this survey was criticized for having a limited sample size, and the validity of drawing conclusions for policy was questioned. A member of the research team stated that more detailed community-level information could have been gained if PRA methods had been used instead of just focus groups and semistructured interviews. The DFID report was thought to be more credible because it used a larger sample size and included both individual and community views. However, awareness of this report was limited and it was not widely disseminated.

Lessons for Increasing Impact

Is participation linked to influencing the final outcome?

Ideally the poverty assessment is an investment in creating a policy reform process that is a byproduct of consensus building. However, in Pakistan this has not yet occurred. The impact of the PPA might have been lessened because of the limited participatory follow-up. Workshops and meetings are not an adequate measure of participation if those attending feel that their views have been ignored. Moreover, such an approach could have a negative impact if disappointed participants become less willing to engage in future dialogue. If their views are not included, then the reasons for this should be explained. A process of sharing results before the document is finalized may be of value to ensure that participants’ views are represented and that information is not just extracted.

If there is a debate, it should be included in the final policy analysis

The objective of the poverty assessment in Pakistan was to contribute to the ongoing poverty debate. But the debate was not clearly reflected in the final report. As a result, many felt that the report represented only the Bank’s narrow analysis of poverty.

Increasing the quality and credibility of participatory research

To increase the credibility of participatory research, it might be appropriate in some countries to use the existing NGO networks, which often have a wealth of knowledge and skills. Pakistan has a number of such networks, including Strengthening Participatory Organization and Association for Development of Human Resources. The advantages of using these networks, as opposed to training new teams of people, are as follows;

  • Many NGOs have already established trust with communities and have undertaken participatory research.
  • To ensure that research is not purely extractive, the results could be followed up by NGOs working in the communities. The limitation here is that the results of a follow-up survey would be biased toward communities—not necessarily the poorest—where the NGOs have already played a role in development.
  • The capacity of existing NGO networks could be strengthened by the experience of undertaking countrywide PPA research.
  • Time-sequencing data could be collected by NGOs and links established between NGOs, policymakers, and statistical departments. However, some NGOs might have sector biases or limited capacity.

To increase the credibility of participatory research, policymakers could join the teams undertaking participatory research in order to understand the value and limitations of including the poor; there should be a greater focus on recording, reporting, and analyzing PRA research results to ensure that the information collected reflects the research agenda; and a dissemination strategy should be developed to feed back the results to the communities involved. For example, the DFID report was written in two volumes. The second volume contained the results of the surveys and was designed to be disseminated to those who participated.

Management in the Bank

Limited ownership of the poverty assessment within the Bank appears to be linked to the lack of emphasis the poverty assessment was given as a management priority. Although the assessment took a long time to complete, a team approach was not extensively adopted.



Uganda8 is a landlocked country in eastern Africa, with an estimated population of 22 million people, 47 percent of whom are below 15 years of age. In 1986, Uganda emerged from a period of severe civil conflict. Under the leadership of President Yoweri Museveni, Uganda is gradually being rebuilt. A greater level of security has been achieved; however, Uganda continues to be plagued by conflict in the northern and western regions. Political and civil institutions have also been strengthened in recent years, but considerable challenges lie ahead before Uganda can achieve full political and social rights for the population, build effective public institutions that can deliver quality services, and create an environment with opportunities for all Ugandans, including the poorest and most marginalized, to move out of poverty. Approximately 83 percent of Uganda’s population lives in the rural areas. The economy relies heavily on the agriculture sector, which accounts for 43 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and provides the main source of livelihood for more than 80 percent of the population. Economic performance over the past decade has been impressive: in real terms, the GDP has expanded at an annual rate of more than 6 percent. Although recent poverty analysis indicates a reduction in poverty measured by consumption, Uganda is still one of the world’s poorest countries, with a per capita income of US$320 in 1997.

Key Objectives of the UPPAP


The purpose of the UPPAP was to bring the voice of the poor into national and district planning for poverty reduction.


The main outputs of the UPPAP were enhanced knowledge about the nature and causes of poverty and strategies for action generated and applied; district capacity in planning and implementation for poverty reduction strengthened through enhanced use of participatory methods; a national system for participatory and qualitative poverty monitoring developed; capacity for participatory policy research established in Uganda.

The first year of the PPA concentrated on carrying out a national PPA with communities in 9 of the 45 districts in Uganda. In the second year, at a national level, dissemination of the findings continued, while within the nine districts, the findings of the research were followed up and activities were undertaken to sustain the use of participatory methods to inform planning of the priorities of the poor. In the third year of the process, a second national PPA was planned.


The UPPAP originated in a context of poverty emerging in the agenda of the Uganda Government. The Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP) was launched in 1997, and was a policy statement of how the government intended to mainstream poverty. A significant level of consultation had been undertaken in developing the PEAP, across government and with donors, academics, and NGOs. However, the poor themselves had not been consulted. The concept of the UPPAP was born during a World Bank country assistance strategy consultation process involving the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development (MPED), the World Bank, and DFID. The UPPAP was developed with financial backing from DFID and the World Bank, and in-kind support from MPED. A desk study of all previous participatory poverty studies in Uganda was undertaken. This exercise found many useful studies, but also gaps in the research, and revealed a clear need for a comprehensive national participatory study of poverty.

The PPA focused on issues about which policymakers wanted to know more, and on filling the gaps identified in the desk study. Therefore, areas not traditionally covered by PPAs were included, such as governance, people’s knowledge of existing policies, and people’s experience of policy implementation. The PPA also improved the understanding of poverty and service delivery issues. Policymakers who were consulted were eager to know whether their policy framework was relevant to the needs of the poor. The decentralized context of Uganda required that the UPPAP be designed to produce findings relevant at the district level as well as the national level. The PPA was also integrated into the poverty monitoring system. Sustainable capacity was built for undertaking rigorous participatory policy analysis and for increasing the acceptance and use of the findings.

Key features of the process

  • Senior government officials. The ongoing involvement of senior government officials in periodic management meetings has assisted the UPPAP implementation process to stay relevant to the wider policy context.
  • Partnership. The partnership of government, donors, academic institutions, and NGOs is fairly unique in the Uganda context. This partnership has often been referred to as a “new way of working” in development. Government was in the lead from the beginning, with assistance from donors, research institutions, and NGOs. NGOs led the implementation due to their expertise in participatory methodologies. Nine research institutions and local NGOs provided experienced researchers and were involved in the UPPAP technical committee. A technical committee was also set up by government to bring together representatives of various donors and implementing partners, including government departments such as the Uganda Bureau of Statistics.
  • Flexibility and responsiveness. Another key factor in the UPPAP’s success was its ability to be flexible and responsive to the wider policy environment. This was facilitated by two key elements: flexibility in funding arrangements; and the ability to make staff and information available in a timely way, to feed into key policies such as the plan for modernization of agriculture and the poverty status report.
  • National and district focus. Research teams in each district included representatives of the district administration and a local NGO, to provide capacity for research. Strong linkages were made with district planning units, and findings were fed back to district administrative and political leaders.
  • Methods of dissemination. Key events include the inclusion of a chapter on poverty in the 1999–2000 Background to the Budget; the presentation of key findings at the high-profile launch of the Poverty Status Report; and the production and dissemination of the UPPAP video. The target audiences for dissemination have been political leaders as well as civil servants, donors, and civil society. The video has been particularly effective. It features people from communities speaking strongly on challenging issues such as corruption, exploitation, gender discrimination, and ineffective service delivery; and senior government officials responding to these issues. Further, senior officials of the Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development (MFPED) supported the dissemination of the findings and discussed them openly.

Policy and Institutional Context

When the UPPAP was initiated, the first PEAP and the MTEF were in place, and the process of decentralization to districts was under way. Three key factors have ensured that the UPPAP has been able to feed into key policy processes as they emerge.

  • Poverty has stayed high on the government’s agenda, with the continued commitment of the President of Uganda.
  • The original location of the UPPAP within the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, which was remerged with the Ministry of Finance in 1998 to become the Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development, has been a critical factor in its success. The MFPED is an innovative ministry with strong leadership, willing to take up new ideas, embark on reform processes, and engage in the political negotiations necessary to move them forward.9 The merger created a more integrated planning and budgeting context into which the UPPAP could feed.
  • The continued support for the UPPAP by senior government servants within MFPED, despite staff changes over the period of implementation, has ensured that the UPPAP has been positioned to benefit from institutional changes and has access to key policy processes. Key senior staff in MFPED have been open to learning from the UPPAP process.

Institutionalization of poverty monitoring and policy linkages in government

A poverty monitoring and coordination function had existed in MPED. In 1999 the Poverty Monitoring and Analysis Unit (PMAU) was established in MFPED to oversee the government’s poverty monitoring function, and to collate quantitative and participatory data on poverty from both government and nongovernment sources. The UPPAP is situated within the same department of MFPED as the Poverty Monitoring Unit, and the links are strong. For example, the PMAU produced an influential Poverty Status Report in 1999, which brought together the findings from the household surveys, the UPPAP, and other relevant studies in Uganda. The unit then used these findings to assess progress against the original objectives of the PEAP, and identify key challenges facing the government in tackling poverty.

Opening up the budget process

During the 1998–99 budget preparation, MFPED started to open up the national budget process, bringing in civil society, encouraging public debate, and setting up sector working groups on the budget that included civil society and donor representatives. In the 2000–01 budget process, a cross-cutting poverty eradication working group (PEWG) was established to consider, on the basis of available poverty analysis, inter- and intrasectoral allocations of resources and other budgetary issues, such as taxation, that needed reassessment from the perspective of impact on the poor. Individuals involved in the UPPAP and the findings of the participatory analysis have played a key role in the work of this group. Key cross-cutting issues emerging from the UPPAP and the household survey data have been applied in policy and expenditure analysis. The analysis focuses on such issues as the information needs of the poor; the level of attention paid to monitoring and supervision of sector policy implementation; actions proposed to address gender and geographical inequalities and the needs of the poorest 20 percent; and actions proposed to tackle poverty issues that fall between sectors, such as nutrition and sanitation. This analysis has led to significant policy recommendations.

Policy developments

The concept of sector working groups was an opportunity to open up the government’s resource allocation decisions and increase the transparency of policy development, expenditure, and outcomes, and the concept has been extended across departments and sectors.10 Primarily through the PEWG, the UPPAP has fed into these sector discussions. The design of the Plan for Modernization of Agriculture (PMA) was informed by the UPPAP data, such as issues of food security. More widely, the UPPAP has influenced the PMA by demonstrating that poverty varies across the country.

Revision of the PEAP

The PEAP is being revised three years after publication of the first PEAP, due mainly to the fact that new poverty data were available from the UPPAP and the household surveys. The decision to revise the PEAP coincided with the requirement of the World Bank and IMF to produce a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) as a basis for qualifying for HIPC debt relief. The UPPAP policy recommendations are featured centrally in the revised PEAP.


The UPPAP was designed to maximize the decentralized context by generating district-level reports and allowing for follow-up reports in districts where it is operating, and to generate key findings for the national synthesis report.

Impact of the UPPAP

The UPPAP findings have stimulated policy responses in a number of broad areas;

  • Redefinition of government priorities (the original areas of priority under the PEAP were confirmed; however, safe water has received significant resources, and the actions to improve security, governance, and public service delivery to the poor are central features of the new PEAP)
  • Missing links in the processes of policy implementation (for example, weakness in information flows, the need for budget flexibility to allow lower-level governments to respond to local priorities and be politically accountable)
  • Shifts in the focus of sector policies to be increasingly pro-poor (for example, agricultural policy)
  • Highlighting key intersectoral areas important to tackling poverty that current structures of government are not well equipped to handle (for example, nutrition, sanitation, information).

Not all policy responses can be attributed entirely to the UPPAP. In many cases they have confirmed what has been suspected, or have enhanced the focus on issues highlighted in other studies or surveys. The power of the UPPAP material, however, is that it does represent the poor. In a context where political commitment to poverty eradication is high, and political leaders are increasingly being called to account for their promises to the electorate, what the people have to say carries weight.

Many of the separate findings have illustrated the dynamics of poverty and reinforced each other in establishing the basis for policy recommendations. For example, the findings on powerlessness, corruption, and restricted information flows to communities have led to a strong policy recommendation on improving public information as a cross-cutting issue. Findings on poor leadership, limited information flows between layers of government, and the lack of accountability of public service delivery agents have led to a recommendation to strengthen local political accountability.

The UPPAP includes other key findings to which there are not yet clear policy responses: lack of social cooperation as a cause of poverty; excessive alcohol consumption as a cause of poverty; seasonal vulnerability during the rainy season and in times of drought; a mixed picture on poverty trends, which is being researched further; and the negative impact of current local tax structures on the poor.

Key Areas of Impact

Increasing resources for poverty-focused expenditures

Government has increased the flows of resources toward sectors recognized as key to eradicating poverty. When the first PEAP was developed, the priority areas for additional resources were feeder roads, primary education, agricultural extension, and primary health care. Resource allocation to these areas has incrementally increased since 1997–98. As additional resources and increased knowledge on the priorities of the poor have become available, additional priority areas were added, including water supply and accountability. Uganda qualified for enhanced HIPC debt relief first in 1998–99 and again in 2000–01, which significantly increased resources for poverty-related expenditures. Decisions on allocation of resources are currently being made and may well include the neglected areas of adult literacy, restocking of livestock, and implementation of the Land Act.

Shifting the definition of poverty

The UPPAP analysis has shifted the discourse on poverty, making it more relevant to how Ugandans see poverty in their own country. The definition of poverty now incorporates dimensions such as isolation, powerlessness, and gender inequality, in addition to the traditional consumption deficit definition. During the period of the UPPAP implementation, the first reliable statistical information became available on poverty trends and on such factors as levels of service delivery utilization by the poor.11 The availability of this data enhanced the usefulness of the UPPAP data, as it illustrated the extent of some of the problems identified under the UPPAP and explained the reasons behind some of the statistical findings.

Health is a good example of how data from the two types of analysis were mutually enhancing. The UPPAP ranking exercises revealed ill health as the number one cause of poverty identified by the poor. The household data revealed that out of a nationally representative sample of the population, only 20 percent were using government health services when ill. The UPPAP provided insights into why people are not using government health services (drug leakage, abuse of cost sharing, and the negative attitude of many health workers). Another example is corruption. The National Integrity Survey, carried out in 1998, revealed the extent of corruption in the country and the population’s perspectives on corruption and service delivery, based on a nationally representative sample. The UPPAP illustrated some of the dynamics of corruption, including lack of information, poor leadership, unaccountable leaders, and lack of voice of poor households in local democratic institutions. The household surveys have become an annual exercise of government and generate a wide range of very useful information on poverty. The UPPAP has been able to interact with the Uganda Bureau of Statistics to refine and improve the questionnaires. For example, questions on insecurity and how it affects the household are now a feature of the annual survey.

Building government-civil society relationships

There were three key aspects to building the government-civil society relationship in Uganda: (a) Oxfam personnel were seconded to work within MFPED; (b) the network of UPPAP partners, through the UPPAP, had exposure and input into the poverty analysis and policy development processes of government; and (c) for government, there has been a greater appreciation of the contribution that civil society organizations can make to the development of poverty analysis and poverty policy.

International impact

The enthusiasm of senior government officials for the UPPAP process and the contribution it has made to strengthening their poverty strategy has been articulated in a variety of international forums, and has had a wide influence on current development thinking. This is most evident in the development of PRSPs in all countries that are recipients of World Bank/IMF programs. The PRSP approach has drawn significant lessons from various aspects of the Uganda case study, including Uganda’s adoption of the MTEF and mechanisms to strengthen budget discipline, the strong links between the poverty plan and the MTEF, the use of participatory poverty assessments, and enhancement of the role of civil society in policy development and monitoring.


Acceptability of participatory data

Achieving acceptability for participatory data has been a major challenge for the UPPAP. There have been suggestions that UPPAP data are “anecdotal” or “unrepresentative” or “representative of only the poorest communities in Uganda.” This was particularly problematic in relation to the UPPAP data on poverty trends, which early in the analysis process appeared to contradict the consumption poverty data, which showed a dramatic reduction in poverty.

These challenges have been managed in a number of ways:

  • In the research process, triangulation of findings was carried out through the use of different methodologies to ensure that conclusions reached were robust.
  • The sampling framework was clearly presented.
  • There were efforts to ensure the quality of the data processing.
  • On the controversial issue of poverty trends, the UPPAP commissioned further analytical work by an international technical adviser.

Influencing policy

The UPPAP has not been accepted in every department of government. There was some suspicion about the ability of participatory data to help increase understanding of poverty and thereby inform policy responses. The UPPAP had to prove itself by generating information that was robust and useful to policymakers, by paying careful attention to the quality of the research and analysis, and by ensuring that the findings were presented in an easily digestible form. In addition, not all government departments demonstrate the level of commitment to tackling poverty as MFPED. For example, the Ministry of Health has shown reluctance to tackle key institutional weaknesses that prevent health services from providing quality service to the poor. Drug leakage is one area where corruption is known to be prevalent. The police department is another. It took a presidential initiative—establishment of a commission of enquiry into the police force—to expose corruption and abuse of power among the police, which disproportionately impacts the poor and powerless.

Extractive research or empowering the poor?

A key dilemma in the UPPAP process is whether it is a research project designed to extract information from communities for policy purposes, or an activity designed to empower the poor directly. The UPPAP has attempted to create a middle ground between these two points at the community level and through national and district-level policy dialogue. For example, the research process included a community action plan (CAP) activity, under which each of the 36 communities consulted developed a CAP.

There has been some debate about whether the UPPAP should provide funds to communities for follow-up to the CAPs. While the process of participatory research can raise communities’ expectations of action, the key issue is who should be responsible for assisting the communities in realizing these expectations—government or an external agency? Would direct follow-up of CAPs using a community project approach negate the underlying purpose of adopting the participatory approach within the framework of government—that is, to increase the accountability of government itself to the poor? In broader terms, and as illustrated in table A2 the UPPAP has attempted to identify key actions and approaches to empower the poor that can be integrated into policy development.

Table A2.Links between Poverty Analysis and Policy Change
FindingPolicy response
Poverty varies across the country, it is not uniform, and this must be reflected in the responses to tackling poverty.
  • Recognition that central government grants to districts should be more flexible in allowing districts to respond to their priorities
  • Refocus on the need for bottom-up planning to work effectively in the decentralized context
The need for a safe water supply is a priority of the poor.Significantly more resources, including HIPC resources,a have been directed to improving water supply
People are outraged by the level of corruption in the country and the ineffectiveness of government in delivering basic services.
  • Additional focus in the PEAP on governance and accountabilitya
  • Measures to increase political accountability being considered for funding with HIPC savings
  • Sectors requested to consider strengthening the links between service delivery and performance monitoring by local political leaders
  • Increased transparency through enhanced flows of information being developeda
People lack information on government policies, resource flows, and how they are expected to benefit from services and government programs.
  • Information needs of the poor adopted as a cross-cutting issue in poverty assessment
  • Public information strategy being developed
  • Increased resources to institutions responsible for public information being considered, conditional on clear outputs
Powerlessness is a key dimension of poverty, defined in terms of women lacking voice and being subject to domestic violence; inability to call government to account; lack of information; and factors beyond the control of individuals or communities (e.g., crop disease, disasters, insecurity).
  • Need to improve information flows to the public on their rights, resource flows, and how they are expected to benefit from government programs
  • Need to strengthen political accountability
  • Need for increasing government focus on adult literacy, especially for womena
Isolation is a key cause of poverty; this encompasses geographical and social isolation between areas of the country and within districts and communities.
  • Reemphasis on geographical disparities, between regions and within districts, in access to services and opportunities as a cross-cutting issue for poverty reduction policy and resource flows
  • More targeted interventions
Insecurity (due to war, insurgency, and cattle rustling) is a fundamental factor preventing the poor from moving out of poverty; insecurity also encompasses theft and domestic violence.
  • Include in the political agenda the issue of insecurity as a key cause of poverty.
  • Questions being asked about the effectiveness of using the defense budget to protect the poor
Government is seen as very distant by the people; village leaders, however, are generally appreciated.Proposal in the new PEAP to strengthen the role of elected village councils in monitoring the performance of public service delivery
People face barriers to achieving food security and higher incomes.Plan for Modernization of Agriculture refocused on food security and basic production needs of the poora
Poor communities appreciate being consulted on their views of poverty, policy, and their priorities, and want government to continue consulting them on policy development; they also want government to monitor the implementation of policy at the community level, to ensure that the benefits of programs for the poor are delivered as intended.
  • Plan to integrate participatory monitoring of PEAP implementation into government’s poverty monitoring frameworka
  • Mechanisms being considered for local-level accountability and monitoring of service delivery to the poor

Areas in which there is evidence of substantial action by the government.

Areas in which there is evidence of substantial action by the government.

Ensuring a sufficient understanding of policy and policy processes

The UPPAP has found it difficult to recruit staff with a sufficient understanding of Uganda’s policy environment. NGOs and the individuals involved from research institutions have limited exposure to policy-making. Experts in participatory research tend to focus on projects and microprocesses rather than policy research. Researchers require more briefing on policy frameworks and a greater level of technical guidance in this area. Policy literacy and exposure are also important for the dissemination stage. The UPPAP has been fortunate to have the support of senior officials in government and donor partners12 to identify and promote the dissemination of UPPAP data. However, a great deal more could have been done if policymaking processes had been mapped out, pressure points identified, and a dissemination strategy designed in a timely and responsive way.

Analysis of the data and writing up the research

One of the UPPAP’s key challenges has been undertaking rigorous analysis and synthesis of the findings at all levels of report writing, from site level to the national report. Writing up participatory data is a difficult task because of the diversity of the information collected in many different contexts, and the need for cross-checking among the different exercises. Inevitably, much detail is lost in the process of aggregating the findings, and there is a challenge in, at the same time, representing the diversity of findings. National-level policy contexts often demand clear, concise recommendations, while participatory data, by revealing social complexities, can sometimes fail to generate clear recommendations for action. As with all research, judgments are necessary at certain points in the analysis. Because of the interactive nature of participatory research, a team approach to making these judgments in analyzing and presenting the data is called for. In retrospect, the analysis of the UPPAP findings may have been better managed by a small team comprising individuals with various skills: policy literacy, direct involvement in the research, and strong writing and presentation skills.


The partnership of government, NGOs, research institutions, and donors has been successful but has also presented challenges. Institutional identities and cultures differ, and the clarification of the roles and the maintenance of transparent communication and decision making was critical. One major challenge has been for the partners to submerge their own organizational identities within the UPPAP, which sits under the framework of government. A clearer definition of the roles (whether funding, implementing, or participating in the research) would have assisted in the functioning of this relationship. Another dimension of the partnership has been the issue of NGO advocacy. Questions have been raised about the appropriateness of NGO partners that were engaged in the UPPAP process with government then using the findings to lobby government. Has their involvement reduced their ability to act as a watchdog of government?

One of the initial objectives of the UPPAP was to build the capacity of partners to undertake participatory policy research. In deciding who the research partners would be, a decision was made to expand the number of partners from one, initially, to nine. While this had the positive effect of extending the network of institutions in the process, it also diluted the capacity built in any single institution (although the capacity of individuals from these institutions has certainly expanded).

Maintaining the focus at national and district levels

The main focus is at the national level. District-level follow-up is harder because of the number of districts covered by the UPPAP (nine), the complex district planning processes, difficulties in financing district plans,13 and the limited capacity at the district level. Providing feedback to districts and communities on the outcomes of the PPA is a priority for the UPPAP in the second phase.

Future Directions

Dissemination and internalization of findings

National and district reports will be widely distributed to government and nongovernment stakeholders at all levels. In addition, papers on particular sectors will be developed for relevant sector ministries and presented to policymakers. Follow-up work will be undertaken to identify areas for public action. The issue of the poor’s lack of access to information as an impediment to development has been taken up by government in the development of a national communication strategy. Through this strategy, “information for action” will be disseminated to the population. The UPPAP findings will influence the issues selected and types of information to be disseminated, which should allow the poor to take action to achieve their rights and entitlements (an example of this is the cost-sharing policy in the health sector).

Use of statistical and participatory methodologies for poverty research

The UPPAP is useful in identifying areas for future research and analysis, and areas for monitoring by government (the poverty monitoring unit, in particular) and external stakeholders. The UPPAP has also reconfirmed the belief that researchers should use both quantitative and qualitative approaches to better understand and measure dimensions of poverty. The research agenda for the poverty monitoring unit, aimed at further improving the understanding of poverty and appropriate policy responses, will use both methodologies. For the PEAP, both quantitative and participatory sources will be used.

Follow-up to ensure that policy-relevant findings translate into change

Ensuring that the UPPAP findings do translate into real change will continue to be a challenge. While some policy change as a result of the UPPAP findings is evident, the UPPAP research has also shown that there is a gap between policy formulation and effective implementation in Uganda. Through systematic monitoring and production of bi-annual poverty status reports, assessments will be made and challenges for policy and its implementation will be identified for action by government.



Country context

Until 1975, Zambia was one of the most prosperous countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to Prospects for Sustainable Human Development in Zambia (UNDP 1997), human conditions have worsened since the mid-1980s; people have become poorer and most government services have further declined. The report states that “…[economic] decline for two decades has been accompanied by stagnation and collapse in people’s livelihoods and in available forms of social support. This has been especially severe under structural adjustment after 1991” (UNDP 1997, Summary p. i). Roughly 6 million people (two-thirds of the population) are living below the poverty line. Average annual growth in gross domestic product fell from 2.4 percent in the 1970s to 0.7 percent from the 1980s onward. With a gross national product per capita of only $290 in 1992, Zambia is now one of the poorest countries in the world. The United Nations has estimated that 1.1 million Zambians will die from AIDS by the year 2005 and that Zambia is the fourth worst-affected country in the world after Uganda, Zaire, and Tanzania.

In the past, there have been limited opportunities to promote participatory approaches. During the era of one-party rule, the tradition of self-help was replaced by dependency on the state. However, the capacity of the state to provide services was gradually eroded. Also during this period, many aspects of administrative rule were politicized, such as the positions of district governor and provincial secretary. The appointees to these positions were not accountable to the local electorate, thus further decreasing the people’s expectations.

Prolonged economic decline led to political discontent, and with the rise of democratic elections in other countries, multiparty elections took place in Zambia in 1991. The new government has attempted to reform the economy by reducing inflation and the budget deficit. In addition, since 1991 the new government has been attempting to introduce a more decentralized administrative structure and promote greater participation and ownership. Donor agencies such as Africare, World Vision, and UNICEF, in conjunction with the government, have been developing participatory ways to include people in the development of their communities. A social sector Rehabilitation and Maintenance Task Force has been established to look into the social service delivery system and accelerate social infrastructure rehabilitation and maintenance.

However, poverty continues to grow. The government has yet to formulate a national policy on alleviating poverty. One permanent secretary stated that there was a lack of national perspective on poverty issues, with members of Parliament being focused only on their own areas. She added that the civil servants and NGOs were aware of poverty issues but that members of Parliament were less aware, and she questioned whether there was a political understanding of the problem even at the highest levels. Because of a lack of exposure and adequate information on the extent and impact of poverty, there is a lack of emphasis on the problem and a consequent lack of political will. Donor and government interventions have thus remained ad hoc and uncoordinated.

World Bank context

The PPA in Zambia built upon an approach developed by the Southern African Department in the World Bank and on the experiences of the Bank’s Social Recovery Project (SRP) in Zambia. Before the PPA in Zambia, participatory research had been conducted under the SRP using beneficiary assessment (BA) methods such as focus discussion groups and semistructured interviewing. In 1992, when the first BA in Zambia was undertaken, the approach of consulting beneficiaries in a systematic way was not widespread throughout the Bank. Within the country department, management support existed and the poverty assessment manager was willing to take the risks involved in supporting a new initiative. A consultant from the division made regular visits to Zambia to assist in the development of the BA and build the capacity of the research team, located at the Rural Development Studies Bureau, University of Zambia. In 1994, the Southern African Department introduced a method called systematic client consultation, which promoted continuous dialogue with those affected by World Bank-supported programs and projects. The Task Manager of the SRP also managed the poverty assessment and thus had already gained an understanding of the value of the approach. Therefore, unlike other countries in which PPAs have been conducted, here the Bank had experience in participatory research.


Policy dialogue in the poverty assessment

The poverty assessment was based on data from two priority surveys and included studies on the urban, rural, and macroeconomic sectors as well as the PPA. A wide cross-section of stakeholders was consulted throughout the process. The two Bank PPA managers were closely involved in the critiquing and commenting on drafts of the poverty assessment to ensure that the PPA material was satisfactorily integrated.

Participatory research process

The objectives of the PPA were to

  • Explore local conceptions of poverty, vulnerability, and relative well-being in poor urban and rural communities in Zambia
  • Explore what the poor themselves see as the most effective actions for poverty reduction that can be taken by (a) individuals or families, (b) communities, (c) government agencies, and (d) other institutions
  • Investigate local perceptions of key policy changes related to economic liberalization
  • Investigate what people in poor urban and rural communities see as the main concerns and problems in their lives at present and how these have changed over the past 5 to 10 years.

The PPA was conceived and designed by the World Bank in Washington and was somewhat less participatory than the poverty assessment. However, the preparation for fieldwork included a wider range of institutions.


A team of researchers (five women and five men) based at the Rural Development Studies Bureau at the University of Zambia conducted the research work. The team later formed an NGO called the Participatory Assessment Group (PAG). DFID contributed to the cost of training the research team, and Sida supported the in-country costs. Ten research sites were selected, representing a variety of urban and rural communities. BA and PRA tools and techniques were used. An interview guide for semistructured interviews with individuals and groups was compiled. The researchers prepared site reports following each period of fieldwork. These reports were used at a final synthesis workshop to bring together policy insights and information from the exercise.

There was a Poverty Assessment Conference in August 1994 at which both the PPA and poverty assessment papers were presented. In 1995, workshops were convened in four provinces to draft provincial plans of action. However, because of a lack of resources the government has not been able to hold such workshops in the remaining five provinces. Furthermore, no additional capacity was created to implement the provincial action plans.

Value Added

The PPA contributed to a greater understanding of the survival strategies of the poor; the impact of sector programs and policies; the development of both national and provincial-level action plans; and the compilation of baseline data for participatory poverty monitoring.

New understanding of poverty

The wealth-ranking exercises provided consistent messages on the characteristics of the very poor. Many people interviewed commented on the fact that the poverty assessment was useful in the respect it was the first comprehensive study on poverty in Zambia. One important finding of the PPA was that the term “female-headed household” did not fully capture what the report suggested is better understood as the “feminization of poverty” (see World Bank 1994d, Vol. 1, p. 135). The PPA highlighted the fact that “women without support” was a more appropriate term. This term describes women who have no current relationship with a man and have no adult children who could provide either labor or remittances. Women without support were often ranked as the poorest by the communities.

The priority-ranking exercises provided valuable insights into the cross-sector balance of priorities. Consistent messages were generated from these exercises. Seasonality analysis revealed the dynamic dimensions of poverty (see World Bank 1994d, Vol. 1, p. 47) and covered issues such as income and expenditure, health status, and food security. Stress periods such as the hungry season in urban and rural areas were highlighted through the participatory research and incorporated into the final report (see World Bank 1994d, Vol. 1, p. 52). At the community level, the PPA covered access to services such as health, education, and credit. The information was detailed and comprehensive and was disaggregated by gender where appropriate.

Participatory Poverty Monitoring (PPM)

PAG now undertakes yearly PPAs in some of the same communities, as well as some new communities, to monitor changing living conditions. The results of the participatory poverty monitoring are used as a complement to household survey data.

Institutional capacity building

The PPA has contributed to the creation of an in-country capacity to conduct participatory research on an ongoing basis. PAG was officially registered as an NGO in August 1995. The group originated at the University of Zambia, where members used to undertake research assignments for the university’s Rural Development Studies Bureau. In August 1994, the Rural Development Studies Bureau was phased out and only 3 of the 11 members were retained by the university. PAG now consists of an interdisciplinary and gender-balanced team of 12 people—6 men and 6 women from various disciplines.

The World Bank, Sida, and the Microprojects unit of the European Union have continued to increase the capacity of PAG. Since 1992, the members have received training in PRA methods from the Institute of Development Studies and other consultants. PAG continues to do research and PRA training for government ministries and donor agencies. Its current program includes BAs, participatory planning, and PPAs. PAG works with government ministries and donor agencies and is conducting a study for Sida on Coping with Cost Sharing in Health and Education. In the future, PAG will work closely with the LCMU in the Department of Statistics. It has recently moved its offices to the Central Statistical Office with the objective of more closely coordinating its participatory research with traditional household surveys.

Links to Policy Change

The PPA influenced the poverty action plan recommended in the poverty assessment. The stress on rural roads and water infrastructure and on urban services such as water supply was revealed by the PPA.

The poverty profile in the poverty assessment also drew from the PPA on such issues as community-based identification of the ultra-poor, coping strategies, safety nets, and targeted interventions. The government was also influenced by the priorities expressed by the poor in the ranking exercises. Positive feedback was received from communities involved in the PPA on the functioning of the emergency safety net during the 1992 drought in southern Africa.

In recognition of the value added of the PPA, a permanent secretary stated:

Everyone knows that poverty exists in Zambia and people always talk about it. But the PPAs have enabled us to appreciate the fact that there is growing poverty in urban areas. Even high-ranking politicians do not talk about urban poverty. The PPAs are helping us appreciate, therefore, that poverty is a nationwide problem, not just a rural one.14

Ministry of Health

The Ministry of Health has been using the results of the PPA and the poverty assessment to develop policy. The National Strategic Health Plan refers specifically to the poverty assessment. A policy recommendation from the PPA was that the drought area should be exempt from paying health fees. This was taken up by the Ministry of Health and is now policy. In addition, the PPA highlighted the fact that the poor were not using health facilities because of the rudeness of health staff. To empower and decrease the frustration of health workers, the Ministry of Health has increased resources allocated to rural areas.

As a result of the PPA, PAG undertook an evaluation of the Public Welfare Assistance Scheme in 1996. The evaluation recommended that communities should select the beneficiaries of the scheme. Closely connected to this evaluation was a further study undertaken by PAG to develop an eligibility profile for those who should receive welfare benefits and exemptions from health care costs and education fees. This study was undertaken in collaboration with the ministries of Health, Education, and Community Development.

Ministry of Education

In the Ministry of Education, a new policy is being prepared regarding the timing of school fees, which currently coincide with the period of maximum stress.

Ministry of Agriculture

The PPA methodology is being replicated in the Agricultural Sector Investment Project for planning and monitoring.

Donors and NGOs

Some of the NGOs interviewed for this study by the local research team felt that “the use of participatory methods in the preparation of the Poverty Assessment by the World Bank encouraged and justified their own use of [qualitative] methods” (Mutesa and Muyakwa 1997, p. 15). The researchers added that some NGOs were surprised at certain results, such as the finding that Copperbelt is a very poor province. This information has encouraged them to initiate projects in that province.

Lessons for Increasing Impact

The strengthening of PAG

The sustainability of PAG is a key concern at this stage. PAG has the potential to influence other projects and government policies. It also has the potential to help increase the understanding of poverty by combining its participatory work with quantitative surveys. PAG’s capacity to continue to produce good-quality work is in question, however, because it has a limited capacity to analyze results and write reports. Although PAG has received extensive support from the World Bank’s Social Recovery Project, continual follow-up is required to ensure that quality is maintained and management systems are established.


Working with communities requires detailed follow-up on the effectiveness of various approaches. For example, Milimo, Norton, and Owen (1998) point out that “in the first PPA one of the field teams held regular meetings to check on recording and reporting, to discuss findings and strategies, and to plan the next day’s work, while the other field team functioned with less coherence. The difference in the quality and coherence of the outputs and policy insights was very striking” (p. 109). In addition, PAG stated that by staying overnight in the villages, the team developed more trust with the communities.

The PAG team recommended the use of PRA tools in future research because such tools can lead to “greater involvement of the communities and more enthusiasm” and “encourage the participation of the women.”15 For PRA, continual training of field researchers is required to ensure that teams are adhering not only to the methods but also to the principles of such research; that is, by embracing error, showing respect, optimizing ignorance, offsetting biases, and triangulating data.

Process issues

  • The researchers felt that the time frame for the PPA had been too tight, with only four months from research design to analysis.
  • There were differences in undertaking research in urban and rural settings. Urban communities were more complex and more difficult to organize, with community being difficult to define. Some methodologies, such as wealth ranking, were inappropriate because neighbors were not always aware of each other’s wealth or the patterns of social networks. In rural areas the social networks were more visible, being based, in some cases, on kinship and community.
  • The institutional framework should be studied further. As Milimo, Norton, and Owen (1998) add, “The PPA was much more effective at eliciting priorities at the local level than on outlining the institutional mechanisms by which identified needs and problems could be resolved—a stronger focus on institutional issues would have increased policy impact” (p. 110).
  • The manager of the poverty assessment stressed the importance of combining the PPA data with other methodologies such as longitudinal sociological studies, survey data, econometric modeling, and household behavior models.


1.For example, life expectancy is 75 years; the infant mortality rate is 15 per 1,000 live births.
2.This section is based on a summary of a workshop by D. Owen carried out for this study.
4.CEP-UEM did provide Kulima with technical assistance for PRA training in Inhambane.
6.See especially World Bank (1996k) for a preliminary discussion on relative isolation.
7.Problem ranking and priority lists are dependent on context and are vulnerable to misinterpretation, indirect influence, and poor facilitation. Generalizing on the basis of local ranking exercises should be done with utmost caution and the results treated as indicative only,
8.This section was adapted from Bird and Kakande (2001).
9.This is most evident in the area of economic management, for which the government of Uganda has received much praise in recent years and which has resulted in significantly increased flows of finance toward priority areas for tackling poverty.
10.Examples include the sector working groups on the budget process, which cover the traditional sectors of health, education, and water, as well as accountability and law and order. These working groups bring together key institutions in the sectors for the purpose of establishing clear strategies and outputs, against which the effective utilization of inputs will be measured.
11.The findings from the set of household surveys 1992–97 became available in 1998, and a National Integrity Survey was also undertaken in 1998.
12.Individuals with donor agencies such as the World Bank, IMF, and DFID have played an important role in identifying opportunities and making suggestions for dissemination of both the UPPAP findings and the process.
13.Districts are funded through a combination of central government finance and locally generated revenue.
14.Personal communication. 1996. Lusaka, Zambia.
15.The PAG team. Personal communication. 1996. Lusaka, Zambia.
Appendix F. Social Aspects of the East Asian Financial Crisis: Perceptions of Poor Communities

In a radically changing economic environment, the impacts of the crisis on people and their livelihoods are difficult to capture.1 However, what is beginning to emerge is that the impacts are heterogeneous in nature, people have a growing fear that in such a volatile environment these impacts will deepen, and, in order to survive, people are adopting a great variety of coping strategies. These strategies have both social and economic consequences on individuals, their communities, and society as a whole.


To begin to understand this process of change, a quick analysis of social conditions was undertaken in Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Malaysia between January and April 1998. The objective was to consult with a cross-section of community groups, NGO networks (local and international), academic institutions, labor unions, professional associations, donors, and government departments to determine shifting patterns of vulnerability. Focus groups, rapid assessment techniques, and participatory exercises were used. These initial assessments contributed to creating the framework to begin a dialogue with governments and jointly formulate a strategy for action.

There was often a time lag in obtaining data from official sources. The advantage of the initial rapid assessments was to quickly produce a series of hypotheses about the potential impacts of the financial crisis on the poor. It must be stressed, however, that the data from such rapid assessments have limitations and the hypotheses now need to be rigorously and systematically tested. The next step is to use the preliminary data for further ongoing problem identification with the objectives of (a) providing a baseline and (b) defining the next steps of a more detailed, systematic, and representative participatory survey (see box A1). The resultant participatory data should then be combined with future statistical data and data from ongoing monitoring by other institutions (see Walton and Manuelyan 1998). The longer-term objective is to establish capacity in country to undertake more systematic monitoring that integrates the results of both participatory and traditional surveys. Such data can serve as a basis for a social early warning system. The challenge is then to link this diagnosis to operations.

In the focus groups throughout all five countries, three key points emerged:

  • The high quality of people’s analysis of the crisis
  • The anger they felt about not fairly benefiting from the past 10 years of growth and now having to pay the price for the debts accumulated by those who did benefit
  • Their capacity to propose solutions and implement projects.

Box A1.Creeping Crisis in Vietnam

Vietnam has so far avoided the most dramatic aspects of the crisis, but now significant impacts are beginning to emerge. The World Bank expects Vietnam’s growth rate, in 1998, to drop from 8 to 4 percent. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) approvals for 1998 are likely to fall by 60 percent, and export growth is down by more than half. Because of the fall in FDI and the labor shedding from state-owned enterprises, urban unemployment is expected to rise sharply. The growth of urban wage employment may fall to zero, making it even more difficult for Vietnam to absorb the 1.3 million new entrants into the labor force each year.

The World Bank, in conjunction with NGOs and other donors such as DFID, is embarking on a major exercise to deepen the understanding of poverty and social issues by combining the new quantitative data emerging from the previous household expenditure survey (undertaken five years ago) with participatory poverty assessments in each of Vietnam’s seven major regions. It is expected that over the next nine months a more informed understanding of poverty will emerge. This work, in turn, is expected to lead to a major set of new projects that will target the country’s poorest communes and generate employment in rural infrastructure and social programs.

DFID’s new higher-profile engagement in Vietnam is coming at an ideal time. The Government of Vietnam remains deeply concerned about the impact of the slowdown on rural employment and social conditions. It is seeking support from donors to help address this problem. At the same time, the concern for poverty has not been matched with increased understanding of how to diagnose poverty and target programs. The Bank, in partnership with DFID, will be working with government to sharpen these diagnostic targeting tools.

Emerging Social Consequences of the Crisis

In all countries, the causes (economic, political, and drought induced) and impacts of the crisis have varied in character and degree. To assess the impacts, this section is divided into three major parts: income loss and increasing poverty, household coping strategies, and erosion of social capital (see figure A1). At times it is difficult to differentiate the impact of the crisis from outcomes of rapid economic growth. For example, migration and family breakdown have been occurring for many years. The crisis, however, does seem to have exacerbated such trends.

Figure A1.Social Impacts of the East Asian Crisis in Thailand

Income Loss and Increasing Poverty

Increasing unemployment

In Thailand, the latest government estimate (February 1998) for unemployment is 8.8 percent of the work force, or 2.8 million people (1.5 million permanent and 1.3 million seasonal), as compared to the previous year’s figure of 1.7 million (0.7 million permanent and 1.0 million seasonal). In Indonesia, unemployment may increase by 6 million by the end of the year. Those initially affected are laboring families whose livelihoods depend entirely on daily wages, such as factory workers, construction workers, taxi drivers, and casual laborers. In Indonesia, even export-oriented businesses are cutting back on workers because of no access to credit due to the collapse of the banking sector. According to statistics from the International Labour Organisation, 240,000 women in Indonesia will lose their jobs during 1998, just in textiles and garment industries, and a survey from an independent Indonesian NGO2 indicates that women are prime targets for redundancy.

The Philippines has yet to experience such massive business closures and layoffs (although, based on National Statistics Office’s latest Labor Force Survey, the unemployment rate rose to 13.3 percent in April 1998 from 10.4 percent a year age—the highest since it reached 14.4 percent in 1991). However, labor unions have expressed concern over the increased “flexibilization” of the labor market, as well as a likely decrease in union membership and further erosion of workers’ rights if employers view the crisis as an opportunity to push their advantage. At the same time, labor NGOs in Thailand have been concerned about the increased numbers of contract workers, low working standards, safety in the workplace, and human rights in general.

Cambodia appears to be in the grips of a creeping crisis with no national-level impacts yet apparent. However, local markets linked to neighboring countries have already been affected, leading to small business closures. In the Philippines and Thailand, rural NGOs have been concerned that urban unemployment would decrease remittances to rural areas. It is not clear to what extent this is beginning to affect rural households. Many workers have been given three months’ severance pay; when this runs out, others in rural areas may also feel the impact. Discussions with a group of elderly women in Kanplalai, in Northeast Province, Thailand, revealed that they depend almost entirely on remittances from their children in Bangkok. Without this source of income they would have to look for work, but fear that their labor would be in demand for less than four months a year, and even then intermittently.

Price changes

In Indonesia, the consumer price index for food increased by more than 50 percent between June 1997 and March 1998. Households in Sap poo pan (Northeast Province, Thailand) reported that the price of rice had increased from 12 to 20 baht per kilo, cooking oil from 25 to 40 baht per liter, sugar from 12 to 16 baht per kilo, and fuel from 9 to 13 baht per liter, compared to last year. According to the Department of Agriculture, Thai farmers have not benefited from the price rises of rice exports for two reasons: price gains had been expropriated by traders, and the cost of inputs has increased. In northwest Cambodia, focus groups reported that rice had increased from 1,100 to 1,700 riel per kilo and cooking oil from 3,200 to 4,300 riel per bottle as compared to last year.

Access to and quality of social services

In all countries, NGO networks expressed concern that government budget cuts would reduce the access of the poor households to basic social services. For example, in the Philippines, a combination of devaluation-linked price increases, increased domestic and foreign debt service, and reduced revenues (accounting for up to US$1 billion) have compelled the government to instruct departments to reduce their budgets by 25 percent of nonpersonnel expenditures in order to create a mandatory reserve equivalent. This has impacted both health services (cut in immunization programs) and education (cut in the budget for textbooks). In Indonesia, public funds have remained fixed but prices have increased, leading to difficulties, for example, in printing exams and tests.3

In Thailand, many important public health programs may be affected, such as the treatment of HIV/AIDS patients with imported drugs. The AIDS NGO network expressed great concern that the economic crisis may further marginalize vulnerable HIV/AIDS patients. They stated that HIV infection rates would inevitably increase due to increasing prostitution and poor-quality care. The vulnerable groups of women and children (some of whom may be forced into prostitution) would be the most affected.

In all countries, private health services have been affected by the increased cost of drugs and higher cost of servicing loans from abroad. Many private clinics may either go bankrupt or increase their prices. As a result, more people would turn to an already strained and unequally distributed public health system. Quality of care would drop substantially. The NGOs feel that their capacity to provide services to the poor is already being affected by decreased support from government and major reductions in private sector donations.

Availability and access to credit

In the Philippines, high interest rates have significant negative effects on a wide array of social groups, including employers, middle-income families, farmers, the informal sector, and the poor. High rates could be one of the factors driving rising retrenchment rates and foreclosures on household loans, although the evidence for this is inconclusive at present. Teachers in Davao stated that many low-middle-income workers are now taking advances on their salaries to maintain their mortgage and school fee payments, but at a significant loss. The nonfarming poor also have few alternatives when faced with an increased need for credit. Many informal sector workers, such as street hawkers, borrow money on the “5:6 arrangement,” whereby they take 5 pesos in the morning to buy their wares and have to repay 6 in the evening. In focus groups in Mindanao, people reported that the poor are increasingly turning to pawnshops and traditional village moneylenders for credit. Informal moneylenders are often preferred over banks because gaining access to a bank loan is often too complicated and time-consuming to meet the demands of the poor.

In Thailand, some NGOs added that farmers would soon be under even more financial pressure with high rural debt and limited liquidity resulting from the crisis. In Bangkok, the group reported that moneylenders were exploiting this situation by charging an increased interest rate of 3 percent per day.

Coping Strategies

Family members are forced to enter the informal labor market

Reduced household income in all countries has already forced many families—particularly the poor—to tap into their available labor resources, that is, women, children, and the elderly. In Thailand, children’s NGOs have noticed an increase in child labor and child prostitution, and NGOs from the Handicapped Network added that the number of child beggars has increased.

In all countries, there are indications that school dropout rates are increasing, as poor households now can no longer afford to send their children to school, but expect them to work to supplement household income; some children are already working long hours after school. In Teparak, Thailand, there was anger from the women who could see no justice in having to send their children to the garbage site every day to support the family. The elder woman of the group stated that she felt very anxious about the future of her grandchildren, who would not receive a good education or adequate health care. In Indonesia, there are reports of children leaving school to join padat karya programs (labor-intensive projects). To date, these programs employ mostly men.

Family cohesion is weakening as migration increases

The figures and flow of migration are not clear. All focus groups were certain that people had already begun to migrate because of economic pressures. Four possible flows of migration were identified:

  • Urban to rural. In Thailand, as the majority of the labor force in the industrial areas are from the rural areas, it is expected that increased unemployment will force many rural laborers to migrate back to the rural areas. Estimates vary widely. A Tambon representative in Sap poo pan estimated that out of the village population of 260,40 people had already returned because of the crisis. Another 70 were still working outside the village, mainly in Bangkok. The returned labor force will significantly increase the competition for jobs in both rural and urban areas in the north and northeast. This will further marginalize farm laborers, who are less educated and have fewer skills and therefore face great competition in the labor market. However, in Indonesia, this flow was less strong, as many urban dwellers were reluctant to return to the drought areas where jobs were no longer available.
  • Rural to urban. The combination of economic crisis and drought has forced a change in behavior on the part of the inhabitants of Kalianyar, Jakarta, Indonesia, and their counterparts in the countryside. In a focus group it was reported that this year, at the end of Idul Fitri, only about 1,500 rural inhabitants returned to the urban area for work, which is only about 40 percent of the normal level of about 4,000, So few returned because of the crisis and its effects on labor demand in the urban area,
  • Urban to rural to urban. Some groups in Thailand feel that migration may become triangular, that is, urban-rural-urban (from Bangkok to provincial towns and eventually back to Bangkok). In Khon Kaen in northeast Thailand, the group reported that with the increased flow of migrants there was a lack of room in slum areas, whereas in Bangkok the slum dwellers noted an increase in vacant rental rooms during the past six months.
  • Cross-border. The impact of migration from neighboring countries is, at this stage, difficult to define and will need monitoring. In Cambodia’s northwest province, entire communities often relied on jobs in Thailand, many working as illegal laborers. They often put themselves into great debt to get over the border illegally. Focus groups reported that within the last three months, a majority of these workers (especially the men) have been forced to return, having lost their jobs and still in debt In the Philippines, there has not been a high rate of return of overseas contract workers, as was expected.

The focus group in Jakarta explained that normally a period of drought can be compensated by a seasonal migration of labor to urban areas, which leads to reduced labor demand in rural areas. In the same way, an economic slowdown that leads to some layoffs in trades in urban areas can be compensated through a reverse migration to rural areas, where people are able to grow enough to survive until employment prospects in the urban areas improve. This year, however, the combination of economic crisis and drought meant there was no recourse for those who could not find employment or earn income in either the rural or urban setting. Both rural and urban areas are experiencing a contraction of labor demand, and neither has a safety valve available to absorb the excess labor supply. The focus group further explained that there are complex connections between rural and urban areas and that information concerning circumstances in each area is transmitted to the other as the basis for behavioral decisions. This had resulted in fewer people migrating than was anticipated.

Women and children suffer as households cut down expenditure

There is increasing pressure on the poor to cut their household expenditure. In the slum areas in all countries, people reported that they already had to cut down from three to two meals per day and in some cases only one. This has a greater impact on vulnerable groups, such as women and children, who are, as a result, more likely to suffer inadequate nutrition. In Indonesia, (Maluku and South Sulawesi), school principals complained that parents were having difficulty paying parent association fees on time or at all. In both Indonesia and the Philippines (Mindanao), teachers reported that children were eating less before coming to school in the mornings and buying less from vendors. This affected some children’s ability to concentrate.

Young men are turning to illegal activities

The focus groups noted that crime had increased in slum areas in the Philippines and Thailand. The slum dwellers in Bangkok added that unemployed youth were already turning to selling drugs as a means of supporting their families. In Cambodia, there were reports of increased trafficking in women and children.

Erosion in Social Capital: the Downward Spiral

In terms of social capital (defined here as trust, reciprocity, and networks of support), the impact of the crisis on households and communities can be both positive and negative. In some communities, a time of crisis may result in strengthened social cohesion and may even generate new relations that improve overall social capital as poor communities find resourceful ways of overcoming their problems. For example, in Davao, a community savings scheme called a bubuwai, where everyone contributes to cover the cost of festivals, was introduced; and community self-policing programs (ronda) were introduced in another community in response to increased crime. But at this stage, the discussions were overwhelmingly focused on how, during the past six months, the crisis had eroded certain elements of community cooperation and trust quite suddenly. Figure A2 illustrates the results of a focus group in the Philippines, where community leaders discussed their perceptions of the impact of the crisis.

Figure A2.Perceptions of the Impact of the East Asian Financial Crisis: Results of a Focus Group in the Philippines

(Drawn by a group of Community Board Organization Leaders in Davao, Mindanao, February 12, 1998. Facilitator: Billy de la Rosa, AFRIM)


In all countries, NGOs identified three levels of increased conflict: (a) within the household, increased pressure led to increased domestic conflict, which sometimes involved children; (b) in the community, the focus group (in Bangkok) reported that many people were unable to pay back their loans to moneylenders, who had begun to attack those who could not pay contributing to community violence and increased feelings of insecurity, which the local police did little to allay; and (c) in society, NGOs expressed concern over potential social unrest, a concern that became a reality in Indonesia, where there has been extensive ethnic violence against the Chinese population.

Vulnerability and insecurity

In Teparak, in Thailand, the focus group identified a breakdown in community trust within the last six months. Increased competition for survival, frustration, and psychological stress had all led to increased household and community tension. With increased competition for jobs, neighbors who once cooperated were now competing. Stealing, crime, and violence, they stated, were on the rise. People were feeling unsafe and insecure. They expressed great concern for their children’s future. Some had been forced by their parents to drop out of school. Surprisingly, this strategy was not to enable children to go to work but to guard the home, as both parents were now working and break-ins had increased. The group added that it was well known that their own neighbors had been the thieves. Within this environment of declining trust and increasing competition, Teparak was witnessing the weakening of community ties that had evolved over a long period of time. This has implications for social cohesion and longer-term stability.

In the Philippines, the Social Weather Station has been conducting a nationally representative quarterly survey for more than 15 years. The survey includes a question that explores “self-reported” poverty (that is, whether people think they are poor). The proportion of the population that reported itself as poor had declined slowly but steadily for almost five years, until the September 1997 survey. In that survey, there was, for the first time in five years, a rise in self-reported poverty. Moreover, the survey of December 1997 showed that this rate of increase had accelerated.


In rural areas, NGO representatives expressed concern about returning migrants. Some said that migrants who were forced to return to their family homes may find it difficult to assimilate again into the rural way of life. This may lead to a sense of alienation. All groups emphasized the impact of returning on the migrant’s mental health, including the increased risk of suicide. They also said that although families had been under stress before the crisis, the sharp increase in the need to migrate to find work would further contribute to the breakdown of family ties.

All focus groups noted the general feeling of uncertainty, insecurity, and isolation. Many participants said that although the poor had benefited from improved social welfare in the past, they still felt excluded. There was also a feeling that the poor had not received their fair share of economic growth. Many blamed the rich for the current crisis and were unable to understand why the poor should carry the burden. Even their newly gained (but still limited) access to social welfare was beginning to disappear. In Teparak, Khon Kaen, Thailand, a community leader added, “The crisis has happened too quickly and has left us confused, puzzled, and let down. We have been laid off but given no explanation” (see box A2). Many discussions with groups focused on the declining emphasis on traditional values and spiritual well-being. They blamed that “drive for consumerism” for this erosion.

Box A2.How People Are Coping in Khon Kaen

“It was the rich who benefited from the boom…but we, the poor, pay the price of the crisis,” explained Khun Bunjan, a community leader from the slums of Khon Kaen, Northeast Thailand. “The crisis has happened so quickly it has left us confused, puzzled and let down. We have lost our jobs but given no explanation.” Within Khun Bunjan’s community there is a feeling of uncertainty, insecurity, and isolation. “Even our limited access to schools and health is now beginning to disappear. We fear for our children’s future,” added her husband, Khun Wichai.

In this chaotic and unpredictable environment of increasing unemployment, pay cuts, higher prices, and reduced access to social services, Khun Wichai and Khun Bunjan are having to adjust rapidly. Khun Wichai recently lost his job at the local factory and his wife is selling less at the local market, where competition has rapidly increased. As a result, they took both their son and daughter out of school to work. “What is the justice in having to send our children to the garbage site every day to support the family?” questions Khun Bunjan. But Khun Wichai thinks he is lucky. His neighbors are sending their children to beg and there are a few reports of girls becoming prostitutes. Among the older male youths, drug dealing has become an increasingly attractive source of income.

“Many private health centers have closed down because they are no longer able to pay the loans they borrowed from abroad and imported drugs have rocketed in price. People are forced to rely on the strained public health system. Our fear is for the children, elderly, and HIV/AIDS patients,” explained Khun Somjit, a health worker. Khun Bunjan added that they had already seen a rapid inflow of migrants from Bangkok and the rural areas. “Migration has brought increased competition for living space and jobs, and we are worried that migrants will bring more HIV to our community.”

Within an environment of declining trust and increasing competition, along with decreased time, the slum was witnessing the weakening of essential community groups and networks that had evolved over a long period of time. “This breakdown of our community’s networks will affect stability,” added Khun Bunjan. Khun Wichai blames the “drive for consumerism” during the boom years for the decline in traditional values and spiritual well-being. “This decline will make it even more difficult for us to recover from this shock,” he concludes.


1.This appendix is based on a paper prepared for the East Asian Crisis Workshop (Institute of Development Studies, United Kingdom, July 13–14, 1998), and for a seminar on the Implications of the East Asian Crisis for Poverty Elimination (DFID, July 15, 1998).
2.APIK (Indonesian Women’s Association for Justice), Indonesia.
3.Information in this book on Indonesia’s education sector is taken from initial rapid research (April 1998) undertaken by Haneen Ismail Sayed and Deon Filmer, World Bank, Washington, D.C. Interviews and focus groups were conducted in 14 schools in Maluku and South Sulawesi.
Appendix G. Methodology of This Review

The first phase of the participatory poverty assessment (PPA) review was a desk study based upon existing PPAs, poverty assessments, and related documents, both within and outside the Bank. In addition, semistructured interviews were held with a wide cross-section of people in the Bank who undertook the PPA and/or the poverty assessment. This first phase resulted in the formulation of a number of hypotheses. A World Bank in-house workshop was convened in January 1996 to discuss the results of the desk study and interviews. The results of the first phase and the PPA in-house workshop were then discussed at a workshop at the Institute of Development Studies in Sussex, United Kingdom, in May 1996. Many of the PPA practitioners, from a cross-section of countries, presented their experiences.1 The hypotheses were then tested in the following countries during a second phase of fieldwork from 1996 to 1997: Zambia, Costa Rica, Pakistan, Mozambique, and Swaziland. A variety of approaches were used, including semistructured interviews, focus groups, and workshops with communities, government officials, donors, NGOs, and civil society organizations.

In presenting good-practice situations, it has been difficult to represent the perception of all participants in this limited study. Personal interpretation has been inevitable, although an attempt has been made to present multiple perspectives. Much of the work of the PPAs has been innovative and new. The main objective of this study has been to identify examples from which to learn. It is hoped that this study will also be useful to practitioners. The analysis has relied heavily on many ideas from people both within and outside the Bank.


1.The outcome of this workshop is summarized by Holland and Blackburn (1998).

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