The effects of Hurricane Mitch in 1998 and the subsequent 10 years' worth of rain which fell in five days brought environmental and agricultural devastation to Central America. World Neighbors (WN) had worked for many years on the promotion of soil and water conservation; the hurricane provided an opportunity for WN to study the effectiveness of this work in combating the disastrous effects of a potentially destructive climate and this newsletter gives details their work. They decided to carry out Participatory Action Research (PAR), a level of study which not only allowed the involvement of those most greatly affected by the climate - the local people - but other participants who expanded their own knowledge through the research methods and results. The system used was a pairing of plots with similar characteristics such as location and vegetation, but which provided a sharing of data through a direct comparison of agro-ecological and conventional cultivation. Other organizations were invited to participate in the study and form teams with the farmers, and all participants attended a workshop to learn methodologies. The methods used to analyse different variables such as slope, top soil thickness, texture, organic matter, insect and animal life, vegetation, erosion, landslides, and conservation practices are detailed along with the findings and lessons learned.
This document includes, details of the process used to review ActionAids programme in Somaliland and provides both a summary and details of the findings. The review was carried out by a group of both men and women composed of community based organisation members, village elders, staff from government institutions and other professionals. Mapping, interviews and small group discussions were used to elicit data on availability, relevance, accessibility, utilisation, coverage, quality, effort, efficiency and impact indicators.
The authors recount the breakthrough achieved through PAR in the conflict between two clans in Kenya over water resources. The article is built around one meeting and describes the dynamics of power at the meeting and the way in which the problem was resolved with the help of the PAR team who had been working in the affected villages. Details are provided on the PAR outcomes.
This case study reports on a investigation into the effects of thee National Development Foundation's (NDF) small tank renovation activities in Kurunegala on poverty levels, gender relations and grass roots institutional development. The study was carried out in three villages: a low caste village and a mixed caste village where a participatory approach was facilitated by the Intercooperation Self-Help Support Programme and a high caste community where a more conventional approach was used.
Data was collected using information available from project files and the knowledge and recollections of field staff before conducting a series of exercises using PRA techniques.
The Mahaweli Project: a quarter century retrospect and prospect. Dependency vs empowerment : developing a sustainable management system based on farmer participation.
The Mahaweli Authority Sri Lanka was established to implement the largest multi-purpose Integrated Development Programme ever launched in the country. It is responsible for engineering construction work as well as the establishment of human settlements providing irrigation facilities, social infrastructure, post settlement services, maintenance and management of the settlements and their infrastructure. The MASL system has traditionally had a topdown approach which has contributed to dependancy as well as incurring a high financial cost. Since 1994 the MASL strategy has aimed at a gradual transfer of management of settlements to farmer organisations, thereby overcoming dependancy through empowerment of the farmers, using participatory methods. This has required time, and attitude and behavioral changes at all levels of MASL. This seminar paper details the MASL system and the move towards a sustainable management system based on farmer participation.
Irrigation management transfer in Turkey : early experience with a national program under rapid implementation.
Presents the case study of the Accelerated Irrigation Transfer Program in Turkey whereby transfer of government built and operated systems has taken place. The case study is of particular interest because of the speed of the process and also because the transfer of responsibility has been to local village or municipal governments or representative federations of villages or municipalities rather than to farmer associations which has been the norm in other countries.
The process adopted for transferring management responsibility is documented and reveals that there has been little participation by water users. Factors facilitating the process are identified and an initial assessment of impacts, benefits and costs is made and potential future problems and challenges suggested.
This paper describes a game and a story that were presented during the workshop to show how PRA can "help people to address and resolve conflict". The TASO game (described in the appendix) was used to illustrate current HIV transmission rates in Uganda. The story showed how PRA exercises conducted by Redd Barna in Zimbabwe brought out women's and men's different views of a proposed irrigation scheme. The potential for PRA to help resolve such conflicts is the emphasis placed on "the value of good communication skills". Development workers need to learn "facilitation and arbitration skills" in order to deal with, rather than "glossing over" conflict and "failing to acknowledge the political dimensions to all our interventions". Psychological stress (particularly in relation to HIV and AIDS) also needs to be recognised as "a valid development issue".
This book presents a participative action model to assist groups in developing the organisational, analytical and management skills required for community action to achieve sustainable use of land and water resources at the local level. Groups using this book are expected to develop participatory mechanisms for planning and implementing land and water management projects. It is aimed at developing self-learning skills by community leaders, extension officers and students in Australia. The contents are divided into short learning units in which outlines of theories, concepts and principles are followed by personal and group activities. The organisation of chapters follows the pattern of group development. It explains the philosophy of participative action in land care (Ch. 2); and discusses learning to work together, development of leadership skills and defining of roles and responsibilities (Chs. 3-5). The next eight chapters are on 'how to' aspects of group functioning: running a meeting, organising activities, planning, motivating oneself and others, effective communication, finding human and financial resources for projects. The last two chapters discuss how to keep momentum going and how to manage conflicts that accompany change.
Resource Management, Population, and Local Institutions in Katheka: A Case Study of Effective Natural Resources Management in Machakos, Kenya
This report describes in detail the structure and operation of village institutions in Katheka Sublocation in Machakos, Kenya, with regard to natural resources management. It concludes that the village is an effective organisational unit to foster participation in project planning and implementation. villagers understand the relation between improved natural resource management and sustainable food production, and institutional structures are already in place in many countries. What is needed is organising and mobilising village institutions. This can be done through training of village leaders, for example by using 'exemplar' villages, carrying out PRAs and developing village resource management plans.