One of the first papers to outline the suitability and merits of rapid assessment techniques in measuring the performance of existing canal irrigation systems. This was a response to the growing need to find cost effective methods to make manageable demands on staff, and to identify implementable actions with early benefit. The experience of irrigation systems assessment using traditional and more innovative techniques are outlined. Conclusions are drawn from these experiences and four key factors to success are put forward: standard programs traditionally have 'bad fit'; appraisal on the whole system; an operational plan, continuity and commitment for implementation. The paper provides a detailed account on how to approach rapid rural appraisal for irrigation systems, and provides generally applicable guidelines.
This long and detailed study describes how the mandal (administrative area) of Devikere in Jagalar, Karnataka State was selected as the appropriate site for an Action Aid anti-poverty project. A socio-economic survey was conducted by a multi-disciplinary team using mainly RRA techniques. The methodology employed appears to have much in common with farming systems research. A section of the report is devoted to health issues. This includes: nutrition and food availability; mother and child wellbeing, health practices and beliefs; the environment; housing; occupation and health services. The anthropological/ethnographic technique of using case studies of individuals adds a strong human dimension to the study. Separate sections are devoted to women, infrastructure and sanitation, and socio-economic conditions.
This paper sets out a series of guidelines with the aim of developing a "model" rapid assessment procedure for the impact of minor system rehabilitation. The content and recommendations leading to the guidelines arose from a one day workshop at IIMI. The methodology is essentially participatory in nature, giving a key role to the view of farmers in its assessment. The questionnaire and the rapid assessment procedure provide a means whereby a post project condition of the scheme can be assessed. The process can subsequently enable periodic monitoring to be carried out with modifications to scheme conditions. The paper documents field reaction to the methodology, having been carried out in two minor schemes in Sri Lanka. The response of field workers to the layout and design of the guidelines was relatively positive with suggestions for fine tuning for particular scheme situations.
This paper documents the rapid rural training carried out for project workers in the rainfed farming project for Eastern India in 1988. The primary objective of the project was to enhance production in a region where without irrigation only one crop can be cultivated each year. Village motivators were assigned to villages with the aim of animating communities in order to faciltate the potential for sustainability on completion of the project. The training introduced several new participatory methods of RRA to the project workers which it was hoped would lead to a better insight into problems and potential solutions. The training focused on developing skills to ensure that information collection and analysis was partcipatory and iterative. Emphasis was placed on developing a satisfactory model to faciltate this process, RRA was the key research principle and methodology. Included in the training were field visits using RRA tools, diagram drawing, participatory games, and the evolution of a model work plan for the village teams. These are well documented with examples from the discussions and presentations.
A Rapid-Assessment Survey of the Irrigation Component of the Anuradhapura Dry-Zone Agriculture Project (ADZAP)
A rapid assessment survey of a representative sample of tanks was conducted to provide an overview of the irrigation component of the Anuradhapura Dry Zone Agriculture Project (ADZAP). The study traced the development of each sample tank from the pre-project situation to head works construction and later downstream development and work. The questionnaire used was based on rapid assessment questionnaires and covered four general topics : i) Tank construction, ii) The settlement process, iii) The agricultural economy, iv) Irrigation operation and management The questionnaire was compiled through field observations and group interviews normally comprising 5-10 farmers. Farmer input was considerable and the tank selection was in the majority of cases (74%) came from rural development societies. A key policy implication arising from the study was the need for greater farmer participation at the implementation stage i.e settlement and involvement of farmers prior to or while investments are made in the system. A participatory approach to such system development may outpace and outproduce a construction-oriented approach.
It concerns the experience of Krishi Gram Vikas Kendra (KGVK), a NGO sponsored and supported by the Usha Martin Group of Industries. It has conducted a series of PRA training exercises for government officers from watershed and forestry programmes, for voluntary agencies, research institutions and other NGOs. This paper describes one particular PRA camp at Mahilong, Bihar, which had two purposes. Firstly, to ascertain more information about the area and project sustainability, and secondly to train others in the required methodology. The paper discusses the sequence adopted at the camp, special features of the programme and the opportunities the camp gave to discuss issues with farmers from the area.
The paper reports on the MYRADA Kamasamudram project and reviews its objectives to: (1) plan a micro watershed in a participatory way; (2) provide more experience in PRA methods for staff; (3) train staff; and (4) to introduce the PRA approach to appraisal to the villagers. The paper contains a brief note on the exercises conducted, the highlights of the exercise, the opinion of participants, and the method and extent of adoption of the key features discussed by the participants.
This article describes a three day workshop on PRA conducted by the NGO SPEECH in Tamil Nadu, based in a village where SPEECH was working. The main purpose of the PRA was to discuss the rehabilitation of an irrigation tank network, while introducing the concepts of PRA to the participants. Several techniques were taught and practised: timelines, participatory mapping, modelling, seasonal calendars. One of the group activities documented was the construction of a matrix of six trees according to eight criteria, illustration included. There was initial resistance to the discussion of trees in gardens, but apparently good discussion on the growth and suitability of different trees both near homesteads and on communal lands, along the bunds and on wastelands. The general concensus at the end of the workshop was positive, in terms of the use of PRA in daily planning activities.
This paper describes problems prior to rehabiltiation and associated irrigation management innovations in the Kimbumlyana Oya Irrigation Scheme in 1979. Included in the new developments was a simplified form of technical guidance for farmers. Organized farmer participation was used in the operation and maintenance of the system through a water issue board. The explicit role given to farmers increased their confidence and as a result it was possible to introduce systematic rotational water distribution, advance the cultivation calendar, and increase cropping intensity.
This paper examines aspects of improving irrigation system performance through better farmer organisation. The paper reviews an action research project carried out on small, isolated irrigation systems built and managed by farmers in Nepal. Farmers in systems suffering from poor cooperative operation and maintenance were taken to observe the practice of well organised farmer managed systems. The positive impact associated with strong local organisations on performance were demonstrated to the visiting farmers. The underlying theme of the paper is effective governance; establishment of viable institutions. Strong participation in organisation and management was a principle taken back to 19 irrigation systems. Early results indicated a positive impact on performance, highlighting the importance of greater organised participation on operation and maintenance and hence agricultural production.
Primary Environmental Care: New Institutional Processes for Supporting Soil and Water Conservation and Harvesting
A brief history of soil and water conservation and harvesting work worldwide concludes that it has been too dominated by external ideas and intervention and it has often been ineffective or harmful. Two new approaches, Rapid Catchment Analysis in Kenya and the work of the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme in India, are introduced as ways in which external institutions can provide more effective support for locally run processes. The steps involved are described in some detail. Performance indicators and the role of support institutions are also described. The report ends with five guidelines to be considered by external support institutions for effective environmental care.
This paper presents the experience of farmer participation in irrigation management in Sri Lanka, in an attempt to address key issues of resource mobilization and production system sustainability. Participation was initiated either with scheme rehabilitation or modernization. However, it was found that participation in irrigation management dates back 2500 years. The paper notes particular areas where participation should be emphasised in order to overcome management difficulties: operation and maintenance; rehabilitation and modernization; resolution of conflicts; input co-ordination and decision making.
Participatory Rural Appraisal : utilization survey report: part 1. rural development area, Sindhupalchowk
Describes the main process, and explores the problems encountered, during the ACTIONAID-Nepal utilization survey in the Rural Development Area of Sindhupalchowk, in September 1991. Objectives of the survey were: to assess how far the ideas and assets which the community has developed with Action Aid Nepal are being utilised, and the community's perception of the impact of these; to involve the community and thus increase their understanding; to increase AAN's understanding of the conditions of the poorest. The week of survey work was carried out by teams which comprised of the Community Development Committee (CDC) members, other local people and staff facilitators - staff, but not community members, were trained in PRA. Selective tools and techniques of PRA methods were used to gather all the information; the village map (of which examples are given in the appendix) was the most extensively used, semi-structured interviews were employed to collect information on household's participation in activities, and time trend and preference ranking methods were also drawn upon. Problems encountered in the survey were that indicators had not been agreed through a participatory process, the three-day training in PRA techniques was found to be insufficient, and structured questions left gaps and revealed bias. The bulk of the report is devoted to the survey findings
This brief paper is a write up of the experiences of an evaluation team using PRA tools in an impact evaluation of a community based programme providing drinking water (a MYRADA project in Mysore District, Karnataka State, India). The impact evaluation took place over only two days, but, as the paper highlights, some very pertinent lessons resulted from the experience. Six main tools from the 'PRA bag' were used in the evaluation: 'water system map', 'focus group discussions', 'time allocation drawing', 'seasonality of disease', 'individual interviews' and 'observation walk'. On the basis of these methods (and patient facilitation work by the PRA team), it was revealed that the any first impressions of a 'perfect' drinking water system were, in fact, unfounded. Serious (but rectifiable) flaws in the project - in terms of efficiency and equity of access - were exposed and, as a result, the local community became involved in identifying some remedial actions. This extremely useful, and clearly written, paper concludes with a frank discussion of some of the problems with the use of PRA tools, which according to the author, primarily stem from a poor understanding of group dynamics and good facilitation techniques.
Community Participation in Rural Water Supply Projects in Northern Punjab and AJK: an exploratory study (Volumes I and II)
The report aims to evaluate the structures and organisational systems associated with effective water user groups, analysing the factors that hinder or support their role in the management of water supply schemes. Although the study is termed participatory, no direct mention of the methodology used is made. However, the study provides some very structured and detailed information on different aspects of water management collected in a survey of 69 villages. Volume I provides information on organisational issues in water management. Volume II instead illustrates five case studies covering a range of issues including social impact of technological choice and community level subsidisation.