The course aims at gaining a deeper understanding of the local communities including women, men, the old and the young by gaining more knowledge about their interests, capacities and resources. Understanding the real needs of these people is paramount to serve them with the right intervention. PNA is an academic activity to develop and propose interventions – social, economic or physical interventions based on the needs assessment. A verification of the proposals can be achieved by the community. They have to check their resources and capacities available to go through the planning; the designing and the implementation of interventions.
The model of PNA provides the methodology to define the real needs and the challenges for projects that serve these needs. PNA brings together the locals and builds groups of interest based on the knowledge and skills that the community can provide for the project to get implemented. Through the participatory needs assessment, also the structure of the community network can be clearly present. Roles and responsibilities can be easily defined together with the academia and all other interested partners in the project.
DEVELOPMENT BASED ON BOTTOM-UP (FROM BELOW) APPROACH
The participatory model that the EZBET Project is developing and establishing can be described as a bottom-up approach development. This can be happen through empowerment. The PNA model helps and supports activating, mobilizing and empowering the community. Then the entire process and project will be controlled and managed by the community members themselves. By achieving this, the development process is ensured to move from one step to the other starting from:
having an active community,
being able to assess and analyze their needs and identify their problems,
being able to put and draw their vision and envision of possible projects and interventions,
being able to put a plan for the process with all its details to
being able to implement and proceed with the realization of the project.
As a model of a successful bottom-up approach, Abudho (1983) stresses that development from below strategies are basic-needs oriented, labor intensive, small scale, regional-resource-based, often rural-centered and argues for the use of “appropriate” rather than “highest” technology. An important driver for the EZBET Project’s institutionalization is the PNA Seminar which have been held at parallel both, the University of Stuttgart and Ain Shams University.
PHASE 1 – Preparatory and theoretical Background
The course starts with an introductory session about the EZBET Project and its diverse activities. This phase also includes theoretical sessions to the topics related to informal settlements development in Egypt, participatory planning, and participatory needs assessment. Students gain better understanding of the different terminologies about informality and participatory planning, and the bottom-up approach.
PHASE 2 – Interdisciplinary and Intensive Workshops
This part of the seminar program is considered as the core of the course. Students are divided into mixed groups. They work together intensively throughout the several workshops which provide the participants with theoretical and methodological tools to process the participatory needs assessment data.
PHASE 3 – Interdisciplinary and Intensive Workshops
Students are expected to develop basics for participatory planning relevant to future urban interventions. Students are invited to join the EZBET team in Egypt during the implementation.