PARTICIPATORY ACTION RESEARCH (PAR)
Participatory action research (PAR) is an approach to research in communities that emphasizes participation and action. It seeks to understand the world by trying to change it, collaboratively and following reflection. PAR emphasizes collective inquiry and experimentation grounded in experience and social history. Within a PAR process, "communities of inquiry and action evolve and address questions and issues that are significant for those who participate as co-researchers". PAR contrasts with many research methods, which emphasize disinterested researchers and reproducibility of findings.
PAR practitioners make a concerted effort to integrate three basic aspects of their work: participation (life in society and democracy), action (engagement with experience and history), and research (soundness in thought and the growth of knowledge). "Action unites, organically, with research" and collective processes of self-investigation. The way each component is actually understood and the relative emphasis it receives varies nonetheless from one PAR theory and practice to another. This means that PAR is not a monolithic body of ideas and methods but rather a pluralistic orientation to knowledge making and social change.
INFORMATION COMMUNICATION AND TECHNOLOGY (ICT)
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is an extended term for information technology (IT) which stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications (telephone lines and wireless signals), computers as well as necessary enterprise software, middleware, storage, and audio-visual systems, which enable users to access, store, transmit, and manipulate information.
The term ICT is also used to refer to the convergence of audio-visual and telephone networks with computer networks through a single cabling or link system. There are large economic incentives (huge cost savings due to elimination of the telephone network) to merge the telephone network with the computer network system using a single unified system of cabling, signal distribution and management.
However, ICT has no universal definition, as "the concepts, methods and applications involved in ICT are constantly evolving on an almost daily basis." The broadness of ICT covers any product that will store, retrieve, manipulate, transmit or receive information electronically in a digital form, e.g. personal computers, digital television, email, robots. For clarity, Zuppo provided an ICT hierarchy where all levels of the hierarchy "contain some degree of commonality in that they are related to technologies that facilitate the transfer of information and various types of electronically mediated communications". Skills Framework for the Information Age is one of many models for describing and managing competencies for ICT professionals for the 21st century.
PARTICIPATORY RESEARCH AND OWNERSHIP WITH TECHNOLOGY, INFORMATION AND CHANGE (PROTIC)
Through the Participatory Action Research (PAR) approach, PROTIC aims to enhance the economic situation of poor and marginalized climate change vulnerable community by developing relevant, trusted, reliable, comprehensive and accurate interactive and timely information. Within the Pilot Phase, the project aims to increase women’s participation, helping to strengthen their leadership role, and to enhance their economic situation by developing trusted information systems for agricultural information including crop farming, fisheries, livestock and poultry. It is expected that other areas of need will be prioritised and implemented during the main phase of the project.
In pilot the project will be implemented in Baro kuput village, Satkhira coast and Daskhin Kharibari village, Dimla Charland; there are controlled villages near by the two villages to compare the progress and effectiveness of the intervention. The controlled village in this action research definition is only without PROTIC direct support but all others including regular and progressive government and NGOs interventions are as usual. Oxfam’s development partners Prollisree and Shushilan will implement the project activities as component of REE-CALL in charland and coast respectively. In the pilot 200 female farmers from the two areas (100 from each area) along with stakeholders in information ecology will be equipped with smart-phone from which they will get both on-demand and promotional information via text or voice messages related to resilient agriculture. The PAR is to assess the effectiveness of the communication, state and form of right communication and information sharing way, action in resilience, etc. Oxfam’s ICT partner will generate the content of the messages and will share out. Academic partners from Bangladesh, University of Dhaka, Bangbandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University, Khulna University and Hajee Mohammad Danesh Science and Technology University will have demand based researches to generate information on agriculture and community resilience. Monash University will engage PhD Researchers in academic researches on the PAR queries. Along with the mobile phone the community radio, TV, and other traditional communication tools will also be studies in PAR for an appropriate knowledge management pathway.
The project participants are equipped with smart phones and are trained on the use of the device along with internet use. Information regarding agriculture and agro metrological are being provided to them through SMS, Out Bound Dialler (OBD), Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and Call Centre support. Communities are also being acquainted with social media platforms like Facebook, Youtube, hardware and software like camera, internet, games and different modes of mobile apps (both in online and offline) through continuous training, consultation meetings, workshops and seminars. The project is closely working with the local government including the Union Digital Centre (UDC) as well as sub-district and district administration. The project has been appreciated by the national government for its contribution towards building a Digital Bangladesh in line with Vision 2021.
The expected outcome of this project is:
- To engage targeted stakeholders to hear the voice of the community in a localized PAR and build their capacity towards resilience with information and knowledge on agriculture through technology that established to support meaningful change in the lives of marginalized female farmers
- To develop and implement an interactive knowledge management system using mobile phone information system and responsive hub (Community Information and Advice Service) capable of providing reliable, expert information on agriculture
- To build up an information technology respond to and contribute to the empowerment of women farmers in Bangladesh for positive change in the lives of their households, and broader community
- To extend significant practical and theoretical insights to share with the development and academic communities
This project will empower the community through:
- Accessing lots of different information regarding agriculture, early warning system, weather forecasting, market as well as various government schemes
- Participating various training on technology, device, rights to information, agricultural knowledge and information, demo plot and different user friendly software
- Developing a strong linkage and network with the local government, Union Digital Centre (UDC) and different Non Government Organizations (NGOs) as well as market
- Disseminating the information through learning sharing, exposure visit, group meeting, men engagement activities along with different form of capacity building initiatives
- Exercising local knowledge and skills through Participatory Action Research (PAR) approach and scale up their confidence, decision making as well as communication skill by hearing their voice and executing Community Action Plan (CAP).