Knowledge for Development

Participatory approaches in ARD

There have been repeated calls for greater and more active involvement of stakeholders especially farmers in agricultural research and development. Several strategies have been proposed and employed with varying measures of success. This dossier explores some of the methodologies and approaches in PARD and provides useful information on experiences of researchers in enhancing the involvement of farmers and other stakeholders in the prioritization and execution of agricultural research and development projects.

By: T. Pedzisa; I. Minde; S. Twomlow. Joint 3rd AAAE and 48th AEASA Conference, Cape Town, South Africa, September 19-23, 2010.Participatory technology development has been used for quite some time. However, little is known about how farmers perceive participatory methods and processes. Understanding farmers’ concerns about the participatory process can be an important starting point and can further the ultimate aim of encouraging sustained technology adoption. An ex-post participatory technology development and transfer evaluation was carried out in Zimbabwe in 2006-2007 involving 231 farmers. It was revealed that use of demonstration trials encouraged the most participation and subsequent adoption and adaptation of the technologies to suit specific needs. The participatory nature of the process encouraged greater knowledge sharing among farmers and gave them more confidence in the technology. In order to increase the gains of the participatory process, feedback loops should be built in to allow improvements and modifications to be made to the techniques being promoted. 03/05/2011
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The book Women’s Knowledge: Traditional Medicine and Nature was launched at the International Workshop on Bioprocessing, Policy and Practice: Conservation and use of Medicinal plants of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the Indian Ocean and Madagascar (20-22 April, 2011 - Ebène, Mauritius).The Islands of Reunion, Mauritius and Rodrigues (Indian Ocean) have their own unique medical traditions. These medical traditions have emerged from multiple origins through a process of creolisation, but they are also closely tied to the natural world in which they have adapted and evolved. They thus provide a key to understanding the wider societies, which are engaged in a constant dialectic between tradition and modernity. Beginning at the end of the Seventeenth Century, these islands were gradually populated by populations originating from Europe, Madagascar, Africa, India, China, even Polynesia and Australia. The interchange between the medical traditions originating from each of these places has given rise to a common knowledge, transmitted largely by women.This book brings to our attention the knowledge of medicinal plants and medical practices of these women, with special focus on childbirth. It also considers the place of medicinal knowledge within these evolving societies who are actively confronting the threats and opportunities that globalization poses to local identities. 03/05/2011
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The failure of the various extension delivery approaches in developing countries to effectively engineer significant and sustainable agricultural growth has become a major concern to all stakeholders, including the donor community. The concerns have been fueled lately by the wave of pluralism, market liberalization and globalization sweeping across the world and giving rise to initiatives that will enhance efficiency and effectiveness of not only the sub-components of extension delivery but the entire system of technology generation, dissemination and use. With a rapidly expanding population, environmental degradation, political instability, economic failure and the declining budget, re-thinking the way agricultural technology is delivered to farmers has become necessary. This re-thinking has brought to the fore some issues that need consideration by developing countries as they change the ways agricultural technology is taken to farmers. Two approaches and seven strategies are discussed below. 05/06/2006
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An intrinsic characteristic of farmers is that they innovate to sustain, expand and improve their production systems. Agricultural innovation then, is a product of social negotiation among stakeholders. The spreading of this innovation is only possible through effective social organisation and communication at community level (Hagmann et al., 1999, Padre et al., 2003, Defoer et al., 2002). Fundingfor agricultural innovation fluctuated over the past decades when the attention of policy makers and international donors, during the nineties, shifted to supporting Sector Wide Programmes, (SWAPs) and Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP), which emphasised social sectors and programmes in response to the negative impact of Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs). 04/01/2005
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A participatory extension approach (PEA) was developed in Zimbabwe. It integrates elements of participatory technology development (PTD) and approaches such as action learning. The PEA involves a transformation in the way extension agents interact with farmers. The operationalization of learning process approaches to community development and rural extension is examined, and the PEA is systematized into process phases and steps, which allow extension agents to understand the process dynamics, while preventing a blueprint implementation. The systematization combined with a 1- to 2-year training and learning process, is the foundation for the development of field staff. The cornerstones of the PEA are social mobilization which includes local organizational development, action planning, experiential learning through trying out new ideas and options and evaluation of the action by the people involved in the process. Innovation is seen as a product of social negotiation and the spreading of innovation as a product of good effective social organization and communication at community level. The extension intervention is therefore geared toward strengthening mechanisms for joint learning and sharing of experiences and communication among farmers and between farmers and outsiders. The immediate impact is a more efficient development and diffusion of technologies but secondary impacts such as improved self-governance are equally important. KIT(E3161) Network Paper Agricultural Research and Extension Network, ODI (UK). 1999, no. 94, 23 p. 04/01/2005
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