Building social movements through Feminist Participatory Action Research: June update

Topics Ethical research and evaluation | Climate and the Environment | Gender | Case studies

Dr Naomi Godden_contentDr Naomi Godden, Research Fellow at the Gender, Leadership and Social Sustainability Research Unit, Monash University, is conducting a participatory evaluation of the Climate Justice-Feminist Participatory Action Research (CJ-FPAR) program of the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD). The Research for Development Impact Network is supporting Dr Godden in 2017-2018 to undertake this evaluation and disseminate the findings across the sector.

Feminist Participatory Action Research (FPAR) is a methodology for supporting marginalised women to demand their rights and bring about structural change. FPAR combines research, gender justice and activism through a cyclical process that is led by community members affected by a social problem. The CJ-FPAR programme at APWLD is a cutting-edge feminist climate justice program that uses FPAR to enhance women’s engagement and influence in climate decision-making and policy.

The overall objective of CJ-FPAR is to advance rural, indigenous, migrant and urban poor women’s human rights by increasing their capacity in the Asia Pacific to author evidence-based community research, and to be vocal and effective policy advocates for climate justice, human rights and just development. The two-year programme involves women and their organisations in 8-10 communities, researching and documenting evidence for use in engaging decision-making processes on climate change. The programme intends to strengthen institutional development of partner organisations through leadership development and movement building.

Dr Godden is working in partnership with APWLD, program participants and communities to examine and evaluate the impact of APWLD’s CJ-FPAR programme, and identify how this methodology can provide a transformative model for feminist activism. The FPAR methodology will be documented and shared with development and research practitioners in the region.

The evaluation has the following aims:

  • To strengthen the international knowledge base regarding FPAR and women’s climate justice activism.
  • To examine the effectiveness of FPAR as a methodology for building women’s activist movements.
  • To identify the strengths, challenges and learnings of CJ-FPAR to inform movement-building development programming in Asia Pacific.

In 2018, Dr Godden will facilitate a half-day workshop with RDI Network members about FPAR as a methodology for building grassroots women’s movements to demand structural change.

June update

In May, Naomi attended the First Regional Training Workshop for APWLD’s CJ-FPAR Project. One young woman researcher and a mentor attended from each of the 10 participating women’s organisations (organisations were from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, PNG, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam).

The 5-day training was held in Nepal, and covered topics such as FPAR principles, tools, strategising and ethics; climate change causes and impacts and climate change and women’s human rights; digital story-telling; and FPAR project planning. Using tools such as power mapping and team interviews about the CJ-FPAR Theory of Change, the first round of baseline evaluation data was collected to understand participants’ perspectives of the current status of women’s climate justice movements in their communities. CJ-FPAR participants are now working with community members to undertake a ‘pre-research consultation’, collectively identifying the women’s Impact Objectives for the FPAR, drawing power maps to identify influential and supportive stakeholders, and developing a critical pathway for women to build their movement and bring about the changes the women want to achieve in their communities. This data will also contribute to the baseline for the program evaluation.

The next regional training will be held in September in Thailand, and will train program participants in participatory research methods.

If you are interested to know more about this piece of work, or have expertise in this area to contribute, please contact us.