This article gives account for experiences from the Centre for Alternative Technologies (CTA), an NGO working on alternative futures for and with rural small-scale farmers in Zona da Mata of Minas Gerais, in Brazil. CTA staff work with a Local Development Plan (LDP) focussing on developing participatory Municipal Rural Development Plans (MRDP) in three municipalities: Araponga, Tombos, and Acaiaca. This article compares the three municipal planning processes, offering them as an exiting alternative methodology for local development in the Brazilian context. The article starts by describing the study area, CTA's evolution to municipal planning, and CTA's vision for pro-poor municipal planning. It goes on to explain the main building blocks of the CTA-supported MDRP, including participation as a learning process; planning process and methodology; working with new partners giving and giving farmer groups a more prominent role in the process; building accountability structures; non-neutral pro-poor facilitation; and finally learning from diversity, where the importance of differences between the participating communities are and how that forms the process are discussed. The key impacts and challenges are examined, with the problems of standardisation of methodologies in scaling-up of these types of processes. However despite many differences, several elements were found to be effective in all the three cases: the value of PRA (participatory visioning, problems appraisal and solution identification); the importance of some kind of supervision and decision making body; the needed for patience in conflict solving in the group (internally and in interaction with external parties); capacity-building of leadership, facilitation, and negotiation skills; and the need for clear facilitation at the onset of the process with a gradual transformation of the role of external bodies to advisory bodies.
Views of the poor: some thoughts on how to involve your own staff to conduct quick, low cost but insightful research into poor people's perspectives
This handbook is a result of the Views of the poor study, organised by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Tanzania, in late 2002, to assist in strengthening the poverty focus of the new Swiss country programme for Tanzania. The handbook focuses on a rapid and low cost approach used in the participatory rural study of household surveys of the poor. The intention of the study was to orient the SDC staff and partners directly in primary research and thus orient them in them current realities of rural poverty through a brief immersion experience, and gather first hand insights into experiences of poor households, contributing to policy design. The handbook goes through step by step thee design of the approach, looking at preparations such as: planning, training and orienting staff, site selection, piloting; and implementation of surveys. The authors also reflect on limitations and challenges in the approach.
This is a resource book designed primarily for development workers working within the field of the rural poor. It describes a range of first-hand experiences with participatory approaches in the context of projects funded by The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and governments in Asia and the Pacific. The book is divided into a number of sections. Part One examines poverty and participation and explains why the poor should be targeted and in what ways this is possible. Part Two describes in detail the actual participatory approaches. Part three concentrates on participation in the project planning and implementation stage. Part Four assesses the monitoring impact and Part Five examines issues in participation with regards to institutions, partnerships and governance.
The study analyses a research and development project targeting poor farmers that is being implemented in southern Vietnam. The paper is neither a summary of findings nor a report on project activities. Rather, the focus of the paper is to reflect on issues which emerged as relevant in poverty alleviation, but which are generally ignored or forgotten in reports on development projects. The study highlights how different actors speak subjectively about poverty, and how images of the poor farmer are generated in rural development discourse.
This report is an up-to-date account of an innovative and experimental participatory development programme, called Change Agents Programme (CAP)which was initiated in the late seventies in Sri Lanka. The programme's main objective was to train village level development cadres called 'change agents' with a view to working among the rural poor and setting in motion a process of awareness building for self-reliant participatory development. The programme characteristics and CAP intervention process and strategy are described at great length. The report also presents the organisation of the programme which though staffes by the government ministry, is least affected by normal bureaucratic practices. Some important issues and considerations for the further expansion of CAP into a national level anti-poverty programme are discussed.