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.
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.
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).
This video looks at some of problems associated with questionnaire surveys and suggests that PRA methods provide an alternative way of understanding the situation and needs of a community. It documents the process of carrying out a one-day PRA with a rural community in Bangladesh. Questionnaire surveys do not always yield accurate information and are often time-consuming for respondents (03). Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) is an alternative approach which attempts to overcome these problems (05). Being taught new activities by the villagers is one way of establishing a rapport between the outsiders and the community (06). The methods used during the PRA include transect walks to record the physical features of the village (08), mapping (10), modelling (13), mobility mapping (16), seasonality calendars (16), venn (or chapati) diagrams (17), group discussions about the changes which have taken place in the village in the last 20 years (17), matrix ranking (18), and sharing and observing indigenous practices eg the multi-cropping system (22). The maps, matrices and graphs were presented to the rest of the village to get feedback and cross-check for accuracy (23). Finally, the day's findings were discussed by the team (24).
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).
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.
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.
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 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).
Activists for Social Alternatives (ASA) is an NGO working in the rural areas of Tamil Nadu in south India (01). This video records a four-day PRA run by ASA which focused on the watershed in two villages, and also acted as a training workshop for NGO activists (03). During the first day of the workshop time lines and maps were drawn to illustrate the social composition and health aspects of the village (05). The findings of each group were presented to the other villagers at the end of the day so the accuracy of the information could be cross-checked (09). The second day focused on seasonal calendars (11), matrix ranking (15), wealth ranking (16), venn (or chapati) diagrams (18) and trend analysis (19). On the third day the physical features of the village were investigated through transects and models of the watershed (20). A land use capability map was then prepared which proposed land use options and land and water management practices (21). The last day focused on identifying problems and solutions. Steep slopes, lack of rainwater percolation, landslides and soil erosion emerged as some of the problems. Solutions included tree planting and water and soil conservation (22). A budget was then worked out with local, government and donor agency contributions. The exercise generated information and ideas with the villagers as resource persons, and demonstrated their capacity to plan and budget for themselves (23).