This concerns the problems of wealth ranking, a method used mainly to describe the relative wealth of people in one discrete area, comparing like with like, and its application to more than one community. A problem arises when there is a need to stratify a number of communities which may, as a whole, vary in terms of their wealth. Different types of community, in terms of wealth, may well fall within the boundary of a single project area, thus it is important to deal with such issues. Attached to the letter are three descriptions of adaptations made to the standard wealth ranking technique. Generally in all three cases, wealth ranking was based on predefined criteria, except in the third, where criteria were developed after the initial comparative ranking was undertaken.
A multi-disciplinery team researching the food system linkages of sweet potatoes carried out four week-long rapid rural appraisals (RRAs) in the uplands of northern Philippines. The aim was to involve farmers in identifying needs and opportunities for research and development. It was found that sweet potato is grown mainly for subsistence and/or as feed for swine, and that all the work except for the fencing of plots is carried out by women. Sweet potato is an important substitute for rice, especially in times of food shortage. The information was then verified in a dialogue forum involving equal numbers of men and women farmers, extensionists, researchers and policymakers. During the dialogue forum all those involved identified the most suitable areas for sweet potato research, which were then ranked according to various criteria to establish priorities.
This study focuses on sustainability in relation to people's visions of the future in Tamil Nadu, South India. The farmers' environmental awareness and ideas about resource use, as well as their visions for the future were analyzed. Information was gathered using various methods including transect walks, semi-structured group and individual interviews, and mapping. The methods used and the findings of the study are presented and discussed. The villagers perceived that the present system of land use was neither environmentally nor socially sustainable. Suggestions are made of ways to encourage local people to integrate environmental concerns into their agricultural and social planning.
The first section is a daily diary of the second part of the South South exchange held in India, which details the methods by which participation were acheived, the topics discussed and the individuals and organisations met. The second section focuses on the content of the exchange, focussing on specific issues such as credit, community organisation, livestock and watershed planning. Specific cases are discussed and there is an emphasis on "learnings" and "issues". The report winds up with a discussion of the context of PRA - including strengths and dangers - and the identification of a number of key issues. Thes include process, quality control, training, institutional aspects/ networking and policy interventions.
This paper documents the Philippines' National Irrigation approaches in organizing farmers to undertake management in the operation and maintenance of irrigation systems. The experience of turnover in this country is particularly unique in that the approach involved employment of farmers, as opposed to professional community organizers, in organizing co-farmers into irrigator associations. The farmers employed were well trained, and positive results were achieved in the following areas: active irrigators' associations at field and distributary levels; reduced operation and maintenance costs; increased fee collection rates; greater equity in water distribution. This case highlights that organizing farmer activities in this way shorten the turnover process, make it less expensive and, most importantly, be effective.
This paper discusses the importance of indigenous irrigation systems that have operated sustainably on indigenous technical knowledge that has ensured their longevity. Modern techniques have often ignored the importance of this knowledge and the role of such knowledge needs to be enhanced in the future.
The Myrada Experience: The interventions of a voluntary agency in the emergence and growth of peoples' institutions for sustained and equitable management of micro-watersheds.
In 1984, MYRADA and the Government of Karnataka, with backing from the Swiss Development Co-operation, started working together in Gulbarga on a project focusing on watershed management. This booklet discusses invaluable practical lessons learnt so far in the PIDOW project about supporting people to better manage their natural resources. The first part discusses general lessons: critical indicators of success (sustainability and equity), people's priorities, the role of people's institutions, and why focus on people's participation in watershed management. The next three sections discuss strategies used in the intervention. They are applicable to projects in which Government and NGO are co-intervenors and operational partners; parts can certainly be adopted by an NGO-only project. The three sections deal with the entry phase, planning phase and implementation phase. The emphasis throughout is on the role of the NGO. The booklet ends with a case study of a situation which differs from the Gulbarga experience and the consequences of such differences in the process which takes place.
Participatory impact monitoring of a soil and water conservation programme by farmers, extension volunteers and AKRSP
The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme supports soil and water conservation work on private land, a priority identified by villagers, as part of a watershed management project. Villagers suggested that monitoring should look at: erosion controlled; land reclaimed; moisture retention in soil (as inferred from crop growth); and productivity and income generation. The article goes through the process of participatory impact monitoring, illustrated by real results. The benefits of such monitoring are listed, most of them related to increased farmer understanding of processes and control over further experimentation.
The paper outlines how the Uttar Pradesh Watershed Management Directorate has been undergoing a programmatic and organisational transformation, from a standard Indian public sector approach to rural development and environmental management to a new participatory approach. It discusses the issues involved in transforming the organisation's approach to initiating a participatory method of village level planning during the first phase of the Doon Valley Project in the Himalayan foothills. Some of the problems encountered in implementing the new approach are discussed. The constraints derive partly from the Government's monolithic traditions in rural development, and from its advocacy of particular technology packages, many of which have hardly changed since the 1970s. Comparisons with two other experiences in the Philippines and Sri Lanka illustrate the need for patience and perseverence.
This dvd looks at the process of using PRA methods to analyse and devise solutions to the environmental problems facing a hill village in rural Gujerat. Denuded hillsides, erosion of topsoil and dying forests and streams were identified as the main problems. The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) worked with the villagers to create an action plan to change the future of the village. The process began with social and resource mapping to assess the resources of the village (02). A transect walk of the area surrounding the village where the forests have disappeared suggested sites for afforestation (05). A species inventory was compiled to list the properties and uses of different types of trees, grasses and plants (08). Matrix scoring of trees by groups of women reflected their responsibilities for providing food and fodder (10). Tree matrix scoring by men, on the other hand, demonstrated the men's greater interest in the commercial properties of trees (15). During the ensuing negotiations agreement was reached by men and women on the tree species to be planted (16). In the next stage a rootstock analysis was carried out to identify what already existed in the forest and what needed to be planted (18). Wealth ranking was used to identify the poorest households, to whom the opportunity of paid work in the seedling nursery was offered (21). The nursery was then established, with the agreement of all the villagers, on common land. In the final stage, a treatment map was drawn to determine what should be planted where and why (23), and the site was prepared for planting (25). The seedlings were planted by the whole village during the monsoon (26). The villagers then took responsibility for guarding the site (28). The process demonstrates how rights and responsibility for the forest can be handed back from the forest department to the people (32).
The video documents a three-day PRA exercise which was carried out by Activists for Social Allternatives (ASA) with village women in Tamil Nadu, India. The PRA focused specifically on issues relating to women, and also acted as a training exercise for NGO representatives. The exercise began with a discussion of the participant's expectations of the workshop (02). They then divided into four groups to do family profiles, village mapping, village modelling and time-lines, each with a focus on women (03). In the family profiles the status of different generations of women in individual families were investigated. It was found that accross all castes and generations women lacked education and were excluded from decision-making and participation in common issues (05). Maps and models were made of the village and details about the marital, health and family status of women were then added before being transferred onto charts (06). The time-line showed the main events which had occurred in the village during the last 30 years, with a particular focus on the status of women (09). The day ended with group presentation and evaluation of the day's activities (10). On the second day the groups did wealth ranking (12), seasonality diagrams (14), and livelihoods (15). During the final day the women produced venn (or chapati) diagrams and a linkage chart (17). In their discussions the different groups identified similar problems, solutions and opportunities. The women realised their problems were not unique and recognised the importance of solidarity and working together (18).
This film addresses issues of community management in the context of a government-funded irrigation project in Andhra Pradesh, India. It looks at the problems farmers faced as a result of uneven water distribution, and how their greater participation in managing the scheme provided viable solutions. Irrigation was seen as the key to responding to growing pressure to increase food production (01). Yet with the construction of large-scale irrigation systems farmers became recipients and were no longer the planners and operators of their own systems (03). The loss of control over water distribution, combined with poor maintenance of the canal network, meant that those at the head of the system had too much water while those at the tail received too little (10). A meeting was held for farmers from all the villages concerned to discuss the problems and ways of resolving them (24). A map was drawn showing the water outlets and cropping patterns in the irrigated area. After much discussion a consensus was reached regarding water distribution, canal maintenance, and cropping patterns. Penalties for violation were also agreed (28). Having conducted their own analysis of the problems and devised their own solutions the commitment of the farmers was assured (29).
The DVD documents a PRA exercise which was carried out in a village in Karnataka in south India, facilitated by the NGO group MYRADA. The PRA started the process of developing an integrated plan for the watershed with the village community. The film focuses on the sequence and methods used during the PRA. The first activity was an ice-breaker and equaliser, where the outside participants attempted to perform routine village tasks (02). Next, seasonality diagramming provided information on rainfall, employment patterns for men and women, and patterns of income and expenditure (04). Watershed resource mapping and modelling (06) and transects then gave more detailed information about the watershed (07). At an evening group meeting the information which had been gathered was presented and discussed, with a focus on the major issues and how they were to be dealt with. The villagers decided that it was important to reforest the upper catchment to minimise erosion (12). A matrix ranking of local trees was then carried out to determine the use and importance of different species to the villagers (13). This provided the basis for deciding the mix of species for the reforestation plan. Time lines and venn (or 'chapati') diagrams of village institutions depicted the social environment of the village (16). Wealth ranking information was added to a social map (17). The PRA concluded with an evening social event for all the participants (20).
This DVD shows a PRA field training carried out in two remote rural villages in Sri Lanka. It challenges development workers to change their habits and attitudes and to develop new capabilities in a partnership approach. PRA is described as "an approach and a set of methods and techniques for learning about rural life and conditions from, with and by the rural people" (01). The main economic activities of the villagers are agriculture and animal husbandry (03). The villagers taught the trainees how to plough and transplant paddy - in the process the trainees realised how little they knew and how much the villagers knew (04). A number of PRA methods were learned, including time trends (05); village mapping (06); social mapping (07) and transects (08); diagrams of changing land use patterns (13); seasonal calendars (14); medicinal herb sorting and identification of common diseases for which they are used as remedies (17); matrix ranking (18) and wealth ranking (19). The wealth ranking led on to a semi-structured interview with one of the poorest village women (20). The training concluded with a reflection on the exercise with the villagers (22). The villagers as well as the trainees had benefited from the experience. Finally, village volunteers went to Colombo to present their work to a one-day seminar for government and NGO officers (23).
This film records a week-end PRA training workshop run in the village of Kabripathar in Gujerat. It was hosted by the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) as part of a series of international training workshops. The main economic activities in the village are agriculture and migrant labour, and the villagers are mostly poor and illiterate. The surrounding area has been deforested as a result of intensive cutting for industry and other population pressures (00). A reforestation programme was implemented by the state government but, because the villagers were not consulted, and anyway had different priorities, the scheme was unsuccessful (01). The PRA began with mapping and modelling to provide information about the village and its environment which would form the basis for other exercises (03). During a transect walk the trainees learned about the physical features and natural resources and how these are used by the villagers (04). A special feature of the AKRSP approach is the use of extension volunteers and master extension volunteers. These are local experts chosen by the village organisation for their ability to communicate and specialist skills, such as a knowledge of forestry (04). With their help AKRSP is able to work more effectively over a wider area. A village census was conducted with the women to give a social snapshot of the village (07). A rootstock assessment was carried out to count and record the number of trees according to species, and the results mapped out (09). The extension volunteers facilitated a dialogue to enable the villagers to assess needs, identify problems and set priorities (10) AKRSP was then able to extend financial, technical and managerial support (12). A planning stage was added to the PRA to assess the financial aspects and impact of the project (13). On the second day the results of the tree ranking were presented and a wealth ranking was carried out (14). The PRA training concluded with a seasonality analysis of household livelihoods and illness (14).