This is a collection of newsletters from ActionAid Kenya, Western region. The newsletters are designed to share learning tools and ideas to increase learning, sharing and documentation within the region, and to provide an avenue for sharing experiences with the rest of ActionAid Kenya. Mwangaza is Kiswahili for illumination. Some regular features of the newsletter include: working with community-based organisations; gender perspectives; HIV/AIDS perspectives; transparency, accountability and effective management; research perspectives; and news and updates.
This short paper looks at behaviour and attitudes in the context of teaching and training. The top down transfer of knowledge is embedded in most education systems, and top-down cultures, behaviours and attitudes reinforce this. This paper looks at the scope for using participatory learning instead. Despite some participatory trainings never referring to behaviour and attitudes, self-awareness is increasing and practices are changing. Individual practitioners are shifting their style from teaching to facilitating, from treating people as students to recognising them as colleagues, contributors and co-learners, and to modelling changes in behaviour and attitudes themselves. The paper goes on to give examples and introduces the concept of participatory curriculum development.
Since coming to power in 1994, the African National Congress (ANC) has been implementing a land reform programme, which includes land tenure reform, land restitution and land redistribution. The Department of Agriculture however, has no methodology for supporting land reform groups in the process of developing and implementing land management plans. To address this FARM-Africa has developed and piloted a participatory land use planning methodology with eight land reform groups: this paper describes the experiences of implementing this new approach with these groups, many of whom had little experience of farming. With the help of diagrams and examples it runs through the steps of developing a participatory land use plan which are: identifying project stakeholders; understanding the situation; sharing and making use of the information; training the planning sub-committee and approving the plan, and implementing the management plan. Finally it concludes that the participatory process offers the chance to learn new skills, to understand the institutional and organisational environment and to improve day-to-day effectiveness. Access to agricultural knowledge is important but must be inclusive, and importantly this planning method should be initiated much earlier the land reform process.
In this short paper the author looks at the importance of development institutions providing staff with opportunities for experiential learning and reflection. The prevailing culture tends to be long hours, over-commitment and intensive activity. Even annual retreats are often overloaded, with little or no time allowed for genuine reflection. The focus is alway action-orientated, with no space for learning. The author argues that self critical reflection and respecting the self are a starting point for transforming practice and performance and cites a report from a South African NGO that states not to allow time for this may result in ôdoing things to the poor that are inappropriate, even destructiveö. The paper ends with a note of caution not to swing too far the other way: time spent on reflection and learning should be optimised, not maximised.