This article documents participatory research activities in the International Potato Centre over the past thirty years. During the 1980s the centre became famous for its development of a flexible approach to research, known as farmer-back-to-farmer. Since that time it has lost leadership in the field. The study finds that during the 1990s the participatory research centre grew unevenly, with little support from the organisations with which it is affiliated. As a result there was fragmentation of the research and a withering away of successful outputs. Recently, however, there has been a revival of interest due to increasing interest in integrated pest monitoring, donor support, and the recruitment of international staff that have been exposed to other currents of participatory research and training. It is recommended that these factors be monitored carefully to ensure a flexible and effective approach to emerge.
Contains sections on the following: what is wealth ranking; why is wealth ranking needed; background work needed before carrying out wealth ranking; actual informant ranking; computing the actual score and grouping; an example of wealth ranking from Maasailand, Kenya, and from Meru district, Kenya; and finally, gives some suggested further reading. An appendix contains a check-list to help those wishing to carry out a wealth ranking exercise.
Report of a training workshop on PRA methodologies, tools and techniques, including field work, for staff of the Integrated Food Security Programme in Gash & Setit Province, Eritrea and the Ministry of Agriculture.
This is a selection of letters and memos from FAO offices sent in reply to an IDS request for information on the use of PRA in policy research. Most replies indicate little such application of PRA. the last letter, however, concerns the use of PRA in a fisheries programme in Guinea. 45 fisheries department staff were trained in PRA. This resulted in a series of reports, prepared by national staff without requiring any further outside assistance, being one of the reasons why the reports seem to have had an impact on policy decisions at the ministry level.
This paper examines the challenges and proposes an approach for monitoring and evaluating participatory research (PR) for community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) projects. It outlines some of the key issues and constraints facing PR, and to provide guidance to researchers, programme and project managers interested in monitoring and evaluating PR projects. The focus is on using monitoring and evaluation (M&E) as a tool for adaptive learning and project improvement, for integrating social theory into participatory methods, and for understanding the links between participatory processes and outcomes. The paper also explores the importance of using participatory M&E methods for bringing in the perspectives of local people whose lives are being influenced by the research. The first part of the paper provides a background for understanding PR in CBNRM projects. The paper goes on to describe the rationale and present a framework for M&E PR within the context of supporting quality and relevant applied development research while at the same time strengthening institutional and individual research capacity. Key considerations are highlighted for developing an appropriate and learning-based approach to M&E of PR projects, and options for integrating M&E into the different stages of a project cycle are proposed. The paper concludes by presenting the issues and questions to be considered in M&E of the process and outcomes of PR for natural resource management. This is based on characteristics indicating validity and quality of the PR process and methods, as well as the potential of the methods used to contribute to reaching the general goals of CBNRM. The ideas are geared both for the programme level and the project level, to be used by researchers during the project to help inform the research project, and provide guidance for interim or post project assessments.
This article describes research carried out using PRA methods to examine how and why farmers use different markets to sell their products and to investigate how their profits can be maximised.
The use of RAAKS [Rapid Appraisal of Agricultural Knowledge Systems] for strengthening community-based organisations in Mali
This article discusses the details of the RAAKS (Rural Appraisal of Agricultural Knowledge Systems) methodology, in combination with the PRA tools, used successfully in the CARE-Macina integrated rural development programme in Mali. The methodology enabled the agency team to produce relevant information concerning community-based organisations at village level, and thus highlighted some of the strengths and weaknesses of its efforts to reinforce their organisational capacity. This led to major changes in the agencies' strategy. As well as the methodology used, some results of the exercise, and changes in programme strategies concerning the strengthening of community-based organisations are discussed.
This paper describes a 15-year battle by a poor rural community to stop industrial pollution of their water supply, and reveals the multiple strategies used by the people of Yellow Creek to hold powerful government and corporate interests accountable. Key elements of success included the uses of participatory research (including scientific research), freedom of information provisions, and the legal system, as well as strategic alliances and genuine partnerships with supportive and respectful NGOs.