Farmers are seen as informants in most development projects, despite their detailed knowledge and understanding of processes. In the work of the Aga Khan Rural Support Project, the farmers not only gather the information themselves, but they analyse it and make decisions based on their own analysis. The article gives a number of ways in which farmers are encouraged to develop their information gathering and analytical skills. It also discusses farmers' abilities as facilitators and presenters. Six types of farmer generated maps are described in detail, including resource, watershed, thematic, social, base line and monitoring/impact maps.
This article is useful for fieldworkers who want to encourage farmer analysis and visual data gathering techniques.