Participatory Assessments: Listening to people – the cutting edge in research ? :)

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We forgot to listen to people when we began to value more what experts think than what the average folk think.

This hierarchical separation of knowledge from its roots in the ground leads to the rotting of knowledge. Why? because it is out of touch with the folks on the ground floor. To solve problems we need knowledge and information that is “alive” “connected” with the users.
We are learning to listening once again to understand and re-understand our problems today. The experts are learning to keep quiet and listen to the users of the system.

Read the following quoted material (from Earth Trends), to see how there was a cycle of re-understanding in the topic of poverty. Those participating sub-divided the term of poverty and then included the voice of the poor.

What is Poverty?

Defining and measuring poverty are essential to any discussion of poverty reduction. Definitions of poverty have traditionally focused only on material—and specifically monetary—measures of well-being. But key concepts behind poverty have evolved considerably in recent years. Today, a more holistic, multi-dimensional perception of poverty has emerged, drawn from interviews with the poor themselves.

Definitions of poverty have expanded to include the social and psychological burdens of daily survival on the bottom rungs of society. This broader conception is described by Amartya Sen as a lack of capabilities that enable a person to live a life he or she values, encompassing such domains as income, health, education, empowerment, and human rights (Sen 1999:87-98).

As researchers and policymakers struggle to understand these complexities, they have begun to use “participatory assessments” to let the poor speak in their own voice and identify their own priorities.

Moral of the story:
Systems need full assessment of all their cells that make up the organism. To do this effectively you need multispecitive assessments and analysis that include the feedback from the cell itself. This multispective assessment adds to a level of self-awareness that spans beyond the immediate area of the “larger organism” (our global macro-system and our planetary ecosystems).

Humane systems design requires participation by the system users. This is autopoeisis and self-organization.

Humane systems design is a type of multi-system level user-centered design, a collective intelligence and swarm intelligence that is interpreted by the experts who (should) have a multi-systems awareness.

I propose that the moment that we remove people from the full and equal participation in the design and shaping of their systems is the moment that the systems, in their disconnection and lack of self-awareness become the oroborous that eats its own tail in an act of self-destruction and self-cannibalism.

Source:
Quoted material is from Earth Trends. Go there to read more >>

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