The report, written for an Arid Lands Workshop, very briefly discusses the main issues in SWC in sub-Saharan Africa. A list of "do's" for participatory soil and water conservation are then briefly discussed, which are mostly to do with the organisational side of SWC, rather than the technical. A short analysis is made of the character of Oxfam-funded SWC projects which concludes that the Oxfam projects are innovative and successful at getting the local population involved when compared to other such projects in the area. Four short case studies, from Burkina Faso, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, end the report.
PIDOW (Participative Integrated Development of Watersheds): Gulbarga - Towards a PIDOW Model of Watershed Management
This paper discusses the development of a participative approach to watershed management in PIDOW, a collaborative programme involving the NGO MYRADA in India. It notes that an areas surveyed by RRA was ecologically degraded and weak in institutions and skills. This led to calls for assisting in design and building of local institutions to manage watershed resources. Effective participation in watershed management requires that the area considered is neither too large nor too small, and that management is decentralised to village groups. PIDOW also emphasises integration of forestry programmes, animal husbandry practices, and credit programmes with soil and water management at the watershed level. This paper explores and explains the rationale for the development of the PIDOW approach.
This extract discusses ways in which outsiders can change the ways they learn about rural conditions. These include improving development tourism and using RRA techniques. The principles and methods underlying reversals in learning are examined, including sitting, asking, listening; learning from the poorest, learning indigenous technical knowledge through compiling glossaries of local terms and employing games, quantification and ranking methods. Learning can be supported by the way organisations are managed, so reversals in management are important. Styles of communication, staff transfer policies and practice, and enabling and empowering poor clients are discussed. The final section emphasises the primacy of personal action in changing practices in rural development.
This paper discusses two related questions: Are research results usable? Are the data actually used in decision-making? Both are determined by the researcher's choice of research methodology. The links between choice of research methodology and the application of results is discussed through a simple conceptual model. A satisfactory link requires a decision to allocate part of research capacity to the evaluation of previous research. To demonstrate the difficulties involved in rigorous analysis, a case study of ten years of research for agricultural development in three East African countries (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania) is reviewed. Deficiencies in agricultural planning and in applied research for agricultural development are discussed in detail. The causes of ineffective applied research are viewed as lying in scientific culture. An example of applied research with implemented solutions is given, emphasising the benefits of participant research and management procedures for planning.
RRA and PRA are cited as examples of methodological innovations which are important in the development work of NGOs. The spread in the use of these techniques is discussed, and the differences between training in RRA and the experiential understanding of PRA is stressed. Self improving relies not on quality control, training and manuals from a centre, but on making self critical awareness an integral part of the approach. However, this requires vision, will and creativity on the part of individuals and a change in the culture of NGOs and government organisations. The potential for this is improving with increased communications and changes in organisational structures and sympathies.
Participatory Rural Appraisal and Participatory Learning Methods: Recent Experiences from MYRADA and South India
This paper presents an overview of the work of MYRADA, an NGO in South India. Its origins and major programmes are described. Relations with the government are of prime importance in the key areas of its work, and are discussed in detail. The adoption and use of PRA by MYRADA is described, and the key principles (behaviours and attitudes, sharing and methods) are discussed. Successes in applying and spreading PRA are noted, with the main caveat that more work needs to be done to change attitudes and behaviour among government staffs and to sensitise them to the potential of PRA methods.
Process Documentation: Social Science Research in a Learning Process Approach to Program Development
This booklet contains two papers. The first concerns process documentation, a tool for providing an action agency that adopts a new intervention strategy with continuous information about activities in a few project sites and the problems and issues emerging from the field activities. The information provided then becomes a major source for identifying strategies of field implementation, policy directions and can help reorient the agency to a new mode of working with clients. To illustrate, the paper discusses the use of process documentation in efforts by the National Irrigation Administration to organise farmer-users of small scale irrigation systems into viable irrigation associations. The second paper (by J. Volante) discusses the role of participant observation in process documentation research. It discusses the steps and procedures in accomplishing participant observation work during pre-field, fieldwork and writing phases of research, giving tips for good participant observation.