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 United Mission to Nepal (UMN) Animal Health Improvement Project (AHIP) has been training Village Animal Health Workers (VAHW) in Pokhara, Nepal for the last decade. During this time approximately 350 VAHWs have been trained. This article outlines some of the techniques that were used to evaluate the subsequent progress of the trainees. General village-level information was gathered using various participatory methods, including mapping, wealth ranking, production information, labour diagrams, proportional piling and annual disease calendars, transect walks and progeny histories. Semi-structured interviews were also carried out individually with male and female farmers and VAHWs to find out how the VAHWs assessed their own work and how the farmers viewed the service they received.
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 10 minute film looks at the use of video in raising awareness of environmental and health issues in the remote Ladakh region in north-east India. It suggests that video is a powerful tool which can be used to enable people to participate in the development process. In 1993 the Ethnographic Audio Visual Archive (EAVA) ran a two-day participatory educational workshop using video with representatives of the six villages in the Markhor valley. The workshop aimed to increase local people's awareness of the fragility of the Ladakhi environment, which is threatened by planned road construction schemes, and to develop measures for its protection (03). The villagers mapped out their locality and made a detailed model of the valley which clearly showed the impact of the road (04). It also highlighted the deforestation that had taken place over time (05). Role-plays were facilitated to enact traditional stories and the video footage was played back in the evenings (06). After the workshops policing committees were formed to prevent further deforestation. The second part of the film focuses on East Ladakh, nomadic herders among whom vitamin deficiency is common (07). A matrix ranking was carried out to identify local ideas on health problems. A simple method was devised of making berry juice rich in vitamin C from a local plant (08). The group discussions about the berries were recorded and played back to those who had not attended the workshops (09). The final part of the video looks at a student video project which investigated the pollution of local streams and the resulting conflict between women and men (09).
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 demonstrates a participatory approach to crop research which has been developed by the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in India. It aims to bring researchers closer to farmers through on-farm evaluation of pest-resistant varieties. The approach was developed to overcome the limitations of the transfer of technology approach, which is often innappropriate to the complex, risk-prone agriculture of the semi-arid tropics (07). It recognises that farmers and scientists perform complementary activities, and advocates a decentralised and participatory approach in which scientists perform a facilitating and support role (08). The research was carried out in collaboration with women farmers, who play an important role in maintaining biological diversity. First, the pest problem was diagnosed and the different varieties grown by farmers were analysed (09). In the second stage the characteristics of the farmer's varieties were matched with those of the scientist's pre-release lines. On-farm trials were then conducted in different villages (11). After harvesting the farmers carried out their own evaluation of the genetic material (14). The different varieties were ranked to elicit the farmer's preferences, according to their own criteria (16). The scientists learned that a mosaic of varieties better suit the diverse situations faced by farmers in these complex dryland environments than the uniform introduction of a standard seed (23).