This study explores the method of wheat production among the Mapuche of Repocura, a poor indigenous area in the south of Chile, and how this can be successfully combined with the capacity and understanding of formal researchers. Six typical properties were selected after examining the land of 115 smallholdings, and a survey was done of those in charge of wheat technology in the main productive areas of the region. The authors concluded that for Mapuche knowledge to be successfully combined with the capacity and understanding of formal researchers, the latter must first change their values and recognise the worth of forming partnerships with peasants. Secondly, high quality interfaces between the producer and apparatus for the production of agricultural technology are required. The most immediate obstacle to achieving such an interface is identified as the isolation of peasant knowledge from its social and ecological context, which leads to significant errors of interpretation, assimilation, and application. The authors argue that such a creative interface is unlikely to occur for some time to come unless state and NGO decisionmakers working in peasant farming take the necessary political decisions to change the nature of agricultural research and extension intervention.
The author identifies the key problem of agricultural research and extension in the Peruvian Andes as the result of a clash of two incompatible knowlege systems: one based on Western science, hegemonic in Peru since the Conquest and actively propagated in the practices of top-down agricultural research institutions, the other based on an Andean world-view in which cosmology, metaphor, and ritual still largely determine the semantic categories used by Andean peasants to explain their agricultural practises. Taking the potato as an example, she contrasts peasant discourse with the Greeen Revolution approach still dominant in potato research and advocated by the International Potato Centre (CIP). Improving the communication skills of researchers by understanding the Andean world-view is posited as the only way agricultural and extension in the Andean region can begin better to address the real needs of Andean peasants. She registers some positive developments in this direction: the emergence of bilingual education programmes, the workshopping boom in which peasant and other experts are increasingly sharing and exchanging knowledge, and the postgraduate course in Andean peasant agriculture at the University of Ayacucho in which professionals learn how to perceive reality in Andean categories with courses such as : Holistic conceptions in Andean agriculture, agrocentric culture, the endogenous vision of Andean culture, the organisation of the peasant community, Andean agro -astronomy, and Andean cosmology and religion.
Field observations have led many people to believe that beneficiary participation in decision making can contribute greatly to the success of development projects. When people influence or control the decisions that affect them, they have a greater stake in the outcome and will work harder to ensure success. But the evidence supporting this reasoning is qualitative so that many practictioners remain skeptical. Three questions need to be addressed: to what degree does participation contribute to project effectiveness? which beneficiary and agency characteristics foster the process? and, if participation does benefit project outcomes, how can it be encouraged through policy and project design? To answer these questions, researchers studied evaluations of 121 completed rural water supply projects in forty-nine developing countries around the world. The results show that beneficiary participation contributes significantly to project effectiveness, even after statistically controlling for the effects of 17 other factors. The basic conclusion of this study is that rural water projects must be fundamentally redesigned in order to reach the one billion rural poor who lack a sustainable water supply. Redesign must encompass a shift from supply-driven planning to demand-responsive, participatory approaches to ensure beneficiary participation, control, and ownership.
Contribución a una metodologÝa participativa para evaluar amenazas en áreas protegidas en conjunto con comunidades ruralese y/o indigenas.
Spanish language conference paper on use of PRA for evaluating different aspects of pressure on and conflict about communal national park resources.
Conference paper on use of PRA in conflict resolution in National Parks in Venzuela.
This paper discusses the use and facilitation of PRA approaches in working with internally displaced peoples. It uses the specific case study of certain resettled communities in Colombia, highlights the resettlement experience, discusses methodological issues, and provides examples of participatory exercises in the field.
Concerted social policies in the field of HABITAT : the case of Social Policy Concerted Action Board in Cordoba, Republic of Argentina
This paper discusses the experience of concerted social policies, with a focus on Argentina. It outlines the various impacts of social policies, the meaning of concerted social policies, and insights and conclusions regarding the issue, drawing on the experience of the Social Policy Concerted Action Board in Cordoba, Argentina. The role of civil society in particular is highlighted.
Compas (Comparing and Supporting Endogenous Development) is an international programme whose aim is to understand and encourage the diversity of rural people's knowledge and expand inter-cultural dialogues on farmer's knowledge and indigenous learning. The March 2001 issue of Compas Magazine focuses on indigenous traditional knowledge and the challenges these traditions face in the modern world. It includes articles on perceptions of traditions, positive and negative aspects of tradition, Mayan concepts of health, participatory rapid assessment of local Indian health traditions, and eco-cultural villages in Zimbabwe. (full text of this is available on their website)
The amount of aid that flows to Middle Income Countries (MICs) has recently been challenged and some donors are shifting the balance of their aid so that more goes to poorer countries. Is there still a role for aid to MICs and what should that role be? Drawing on cases from the Andean region and Jamaica, this paper seeks to contribute to that debate within the current context of the Millennium Aid Consensus and the new ways of working that include greater emphasis on country ownership and programmatic and budget support. It concludes that, as aid as a proportion of GDP is usually modest in MICs, donors have little direct leverage. Necessarily the role of aid must be to support the agenda of those local actors, government or otherwise, who are working for the kind of change that a donor judges worthwhile. If a Middle Income Country has a track record of rapid improvement in the welfare of its population, aid may primarily be justified to speed things up. Conversely, if no or little progress is being made, aid may be justified because of the very lack of progress in poverty reduction that may be due to deep structural inequalities and exclusion of much of the population. In this latter case it is suggested that great care should be taken to ensure that commercial and political interests of the donor government do not undermine the aid effort. Good aid practice also needs to take account of the diversity among MICs, bearing in mind that the classification system is very arbitrary, not locally owned and not integrated into regional or sub-regional considerations and history. The paper concludes by questioning some of the current conventional assumptions about the cost and benefits of donor coherence and coordination.|Authors' summary