Promoting Participation of Stakeholders in Community-Based Rehabilitation in Sri Lanka: Process of Action Research in Anuradhapura

Masateru Higashida, M.R. Shantha Kumara, Menikralage Gamini Illangasingha


This study examines the participation of stakeholders, including disabled people, in disability and community issues in rural areas in Sri Lanka. As a conceptual framework, four dimensions of participation in community-based rehabilitation (CBR) are summarised from previous research. This research was mainly conducted in the model administrative division of the national CBR programme in Anuradhapura district. An action research approach was applied in March 2013, which consisted of eight steps. The study used data from the hearing survey on disabled children under 18 years old (n=103), semi-structured interviews with disabled people (n=20), focus group discussions with participants of community workshops (n=34) and social services officers (n=5) separately, and the authors’ field notes, amongst others. Data were analysed with a qualitative procedure, except for quantitative data. Showing the four dimensions of participation in each step, we found promoting participation of various stakeholders improved disabled people’s living conditions and enhanced their empowerment. The study also revealed elements that were significant in promoting participation through the action research process: key persons, information and network, utilising existing local resources, dialogue in meetings, and multisectional practice. Finally, we discuss the theoretical implications of this research.

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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