Listen to the People: Participant-observer Evaluation of Development Projects

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Oxford University Press, 1989 - Deltagerobservation - 149 pages
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This is an account of the author's experience living among the poor inhabitants of the World Bank urban development projects in La Paz, Bolivia, and Guayaquil, Ecuador. By viewing slum upgrading and new housing through the eyes of the people who lived there, the author is able to explain some of the projects' failings and to identify some of their unexpected benefits. By sharing the lives of slum dwellers he came to understand the frustrations and hard economic reality of their existence and gained insight into needs that were not apparent to an outsider. The book testifies to the effectiveness with which anthropological techniques of participant observation can be applied in the context of economic development. It demonstrates how the evaluations of participant observers have enabled project managers to solve some problems they encountered and to adapt projects to the values and needs of the poor. The people thus become a guiding force in their own development - as they must for lasting change to occur. In addition, the book describes the application of the methodology elsewhere - housing projects in Thailand, fishing and artisanal ccoperatives in Brazil, and agricultural endeavors in Bolivia - using observers from the developing countries themselves. It also reports on the participant-observer evaluation method, its advantages and pitfalls, and its uses in the design and management of development projects.

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Of Course We Communicate
Catalytic Effects of Development
When Where Who

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About the author (1989)

Lawrence F. Salmen is at The World Bank.

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