A major component of This Life Cambodia’s approach to development is the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA). As a tool for conducting community consultations, the PRA encourages active participation from a diverse group of community members. While This Life Cambodia staff lead and facilitate the PRA, it is the participants who together identify problems in their community and their root causes. It is an opportunity for community residents to come together and be heard and to listen to others. The activities encourage engagement and use largely visual techniques to capture and record what people are saying. Participants then map and prioritise problems and devise solution-focused strategies. (see photos below)
We recently led a series of PRAs in 7 villages in Beng Melea commune as part of our program to address the problem of domestic violence. There were 252 participants including 209 women and 17 students. We wanted to:
- Understand the community’s prioritisation of domestic violence in comparison to other social issues
- Unearth the root causes and impact of domestic violence
- Establish the problems families face when dealing with domestic violence and to discuss potential solutions
- Unravel the history of domestic violence and safety in the community including changes over time
- Identify the most influential community members
As one outcome, our This Life Without Violence team, has organised female support groups in each of the 7 villages in Beng Melea commune. The women are happy to have space to talk about their problems with one another. Each group is lead by a woman volunteer from the local community. The groups will meet monthly around specific topics related to understanding, responding to and preventing domestic violence with an emphasis on building a community self help network for at risk families.