Conserving resources and increasing production : using participatory tools to monitor and evaluate community-based resource management practices.
This case study presents examples of field uses of participatory tools for monitoring and evaluations of community-based resource management. The study is based on the premise that analytical tools developed through the rapid and participatory appraisal process (PRA) have applicability for monitoring and evaluation. It further builds from the assumption that by helping local communities select and monitor indicators, devise and record baseline data systems, there is a greater likelihood that local projects will increase sustainability, productivity, and transparency. Data is derived from field work carried out in 1996 in three communities in Kenya. Findings of the study concluded that participatory methods can help identify community-based indicators to measure impacts of resource management effectively and at low cost, which can have meaning both for the local community as well as for regional/national policy and decision makers (such as NGOs or government units). A summary of indicators used in all three communities is provided, including the tools used, where and how they were applied, and their effectiveness. The study further concluded that participatory methods were useful in developing effective baseline data which may be used by the community to inform district and regional policy and planning staff about more effective ways of implementing local development. The study highlights the need for building and strengthening two way linkages of information based on partnerships between local and national institutions, viewed as essential for achieving sustainability in livelihood production and resource conservation. Final sections discuss the factors that seem most influential in the adoption of resource management practices, and identify key areas for future research.