The Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) promotes community participation in natural resource management. Here the monitoring process that comprised part of the general 'Participatory Rural Appraisal, Planning and Evaluation' (PRAPE) used in watershed management programs by the AKRSP in rural Gujarat is described. The participatory monitoring sequence involved: 1. Discussion with each farmer in his field. 2. Decisions as to the variables to be monitored with the farmer groups. 3. Ground mapping of base line and impact maps. 4. Paper mapping, mainly through symbols. 5. Presentation of these findings to the watershed outlet groups. 6. Aggregation of the information collected, followed by preparation of aggregate maps. 7. Presentation of the findings to the village community. 8. And finally, the "generation of technology domains and adaptation to village circumstances" The major strengths and advantages of the "dynamic process" of participatory monitoring in projects concerned with natural resource management include; greater clarification of indicators which might otherwise be difficult to measure; the lowering of costs of development programmes in the villages; and eventually (it is hoped) the full internalisation of these methodologies within the village communities. A valuable, but brief, summary of an effective participatory monitoring process using PRA techniques in the field.
This article may be of interest to NGO policy makers and planners, as well as fieldworkers and practitioners - especially those concerned with the development of village level participatory monitoring techniques.