It draws on the experience of the author with regard to socio-economic surveys carried out in Kenya and elsewhere in East Africa. It considers problems in sampling, farmers' responses, the interview situation, survey staff, and various problems with regard to recording accuracy and data processing. The paper concludes by noting 20 key aspects that should be taken into account when designing surveys. These include: (1) careful selection and training of staff; (2) the importance of learning the farming systems in advance; (3) where possible to choose farmers for whom the key parameters are known from other sources; (4) utilize at least one full time supervisor resident in the survey area with independent transport; and (5) allow two thirds of the total period for activities other than the field survey, ie. data processing.
Appropriate methodology: an example using a traditional African board game to measure farmers' attitude and environmental images.
The recent growth in interest in the utility of indigenous environmental knowledge in Africa has brought more sharply into focus the cross-cultural limitations of many conventional geographical methods for collecting perceptual and behavioural data. There is a danger in uncritical reliance on transferred social science methodologies which often embody cultural assumptions exterior to the local culture. This paper explains the use of local traditional cultural forms, in particular the use of a Nigerian board game derived from Mancala. This type of multi-method approach, given carefully designed research programmes, could provide a variety of different learning formats and experiences for both research worker and farmer, and encourage mutual understanding and co-operation in agricultural research in developing countries.
It looks at the principles and the methodology employed on a research project in northern Nigeria, which involved the collection of both farm management and nutritional data. The study was a wide ranging one; as such clear decisions about the type of data to be collected was made on the basis of time costs. The use of registered-non registered, continuous - one point and data cores are described and discussed. From these follow the means of sample stratification using these principles. Some ideas for improving RRA are suggested.
The paper discusses a project which aimed to acheive agricultural diversification by encouraging the production of cotton in the Gambia. An evaluation was carried out by the ODA's food strategy group in association with the Ministry of Agriculture. The object of the rapid appraisal was to identity constraints in its expansion, to examine the distribution of its benefits between and within households and to assess its potential as a cash crop alternative to groundnuts. The methodology of the appraisal is decribed, which involved investigating the organization of farm labour and technical aspects of cultivation.
Experience of living and working in Zambia led the author to reflect on the differences in understanding and communication. This wide-ranging account looks at concepts such as "time" as expressed in Swahili and English, and how a "magic" world view affects the concept of causal relations. Concerned particularly with pictures as "the link between written and oral lifestyles", the author goes on to analyse his Zambian friends' perspective. Though he draws on studies of visual literacy, such as George McBean's, and lists the visual "cues" (eg perspective, superimposition) which people lack, his starting point is less ethnocentric. When a woman states that there is more Fanta in a high glass than a short glass (though it has been shown to be the same quantity), he questions "why should we consider it 'less logical' to attribute 'moreness' to something visually dominant like width or height than to attribute 'sameness' to something invisible like weight?" In oral societies people appear to be more used to verbalising "what they do not what they see" and they expect pictures to "contain what they know about objects, not just what they see". "Memory pictures" which, for example, show all four wheels of a car through twisting the picture in space, are one way of meeting peoples' visual expectations. There are many observations in this book besides those on visual literacy (eg on "greetings" in different cultures and ways of learning) which would interest PRA practitioners.
Underutilisation of Public Sector Health Facilities in IMO State Nigeria, A Study with Focus Groups: Final Report
Ten focus group sessions were held in Imo State Nigeria to explain the under-utilization of public sector health services. Groups consisted of village women, village men, elementary school teachers, traditional medical practitioners, male civil servants, female civil servants and nursing staff. Rural and urban sites were selected in major sub-cultural zones. Focus groups revealed under-utilization had several causes: limited accessibility of services; high user costs; lack of supplies; uncaring attitudes of staff; nepotism and financial misappropriation. Implications for government action are suggested: strategies for reducing costs; making health care more accessible; improving the quality of services and educating the consumer. The role of the state in health care may need clarification to ensure it complements non-state health care provision. Suggestions are made for further research in which focus group studies can be used throughout.
This paper follows from the recognition that meeting food needs requires that women's roles in production and food systems are taken into account. International agricultural research centres have paid little attention to the demands of domestic post-harvest technologies, being given a low priority in the determination of research agenda. Gender-specific varietal preferences for seed or stock selection have also been ignored. In addition to methodological weaknesses built into current research programming, insufficient attention has been paid to the institutional barriers which inhibit the exchange of experience and information between women and agricultural researchers and extension agents. The paper begins by suggesting why gender matters. The second section discusses seed technology and gender issues. The third section raises questions of methodology (discussing socio-economic research, farming systems research and policy research). [This section may be of particular interest to PRA collection users]. Further sections discuss research-extension linkages, and the measurement of inputs. The final three sections are case studies of the impact of technical change in agriculture on women in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Contains sections on the following: what is wealth ranking; why is wealth ranking needed; background work needed before carrying out wealth ranking; actual informant ranking; computing the actual score and grouping; an example of wealth ranking from Maasailand, Kenya, and from Meru district, Kenya; and finally, gives some suggested further reading. An appendix contains a check-list to help those wishing to carry out a wealth ranking exercise.
This paper describes experiences in applying RRA techniques and principles to identify rehabilitation requirements of small irrigation systems in Zimbabwe. The authors conclude that the methodology was appropiate given that the schemes were small. Valuable aspects of using a RRA methodology were judged to be self-imposed discipline, the use of checklists, careful organisation and the use of existing information before visiting the schemes.
The paper discusses an experiment with a method of participatory research which was carried out during two research projects in Kenya Maasailand in the period 1976-1979. One project concerned the impact of drought on the people of Kajiado District; the other was an evaluation of Kenya's Foot and Mouth Disease Control Programme. The study shows that under a particularly favourable set of circumstances, significant interaction between the research team and the rural community was possible. However, an attempt to replicate the research approach in a different area under different circumstances proved an abject failure.
The Agro-Forestry Project in Burkina Faso: An Analysis of Popular Participation in Soil and Water Conservation
This is a brief summary of the well-known Projet Agro-Forestier (PAF) in Burkina Faso, which has had much success promoting rock bunds as a soil and water conservation and harvesting method. One reason for success is considered to be the strong involvement of farmers in the design and building of the bunds, which are basically an improvement of a traditional technique. Another factor is the strength of the bunds. The fact that a few women have also been trained is mentioned, but also that more attention should be given to them considering their important role in agriculture.
The report, written for an Arid Lands Workshop, very briefly discusses the main issues in SWC in sub-Saharan Africa. A list of "do's" for participatory soil and water conservation are then briefly discussed, which are mostly to do with the organisational side of SWC, rather than the technical. A short analysis is made of the character of Oxfam-funded SWC projects which concludes that the Oxfam projects are innovative and successful at getting the local population involved when compared to other such projects in the area. Four short case studies, from Burkina Faso, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, end the report.
This book concerns wealth ranking and is useful because it considers the process in detail from questions about why wealth ranking is needed and what it can be used for, to an excellent section on preparatory work needed before wealth ranking can be carried out, informant ranking and converting qualitative to quantitative data by using computer scoring. It concludes with a case study of a wealth ranking exercise with Masaai people in Kenya. There is a list of further suggested reading and an excellent checklist of issues that need to be considered when a wealth ranking exercise is carried out.