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Title: DESFIL reports
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00071932/00001
 Material Information
Title: DESFIL reports Development Strategies for Fragile Lands
Physical Description: v. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Development Strategies for Fragile Lands (Project)
United States -- Agency for International Development
Publisher: Development Strategies for Fragile Lands Project
Place of Publication: Washington D.C
 Subjects
Subject: Ecology -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Sustainable development -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Environmental policy -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Natural resources management areas -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
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General Note: Caption title.
General Note: Description based on no. 4, January 1995.
General Note: "Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development G/E under contract no. DHR-5438-C-00-109-00 with Chemonics International, Rodale Institute, Abt Associates, and DATEX, Inc."
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Table of Contents
    A guide to the process of participatory research: Examining the role of gender in sustainable natural resource management
        Page 1
        The research process: Preparation
            Page 1
            Page 2
        The research process: Implementation
            Page 3
            Page 4
            Page 5
            Page 6
            Page 7
            Page 8
            Page 9
            Page 10
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text


DESFIL REPORTS


/(;" 5,j
,tP 0,;Z


'^~O Development Strategies for Fragile Lands

Septem be194


A Guide to the Process of

Participatory Research

Examining the Role of Gender in
Sustainable Natural Resource
Management


A basic strategy of the United States Agency for
International Development (USAID) is to pro-
mote sustainable development through the full par-
ticipation, involvement, and empowerment of local
peoples, both women and men. In keeping with this
strategy, two projects with USAID funding, "Ecol-
ogy, Community Organization and Gender"
(ECOGEN) and DESFIL (see box, page 9), use
participatory methods, including gender analysis, in
conducting research in communities where they work.

By using participatory methodologies, researchers
engage community members in the research process.
Local men and women act as informants, as advisors,
and as guides. They therefore both contribute to and
learn from the research process. Finally, the products
of the research are returned to the communities for
their review and use.

This guide represents a collaboration between
ECOGEN and DESFIL. It outlines some of the steps
and lessons learned in participatory research in ex-
amining the role of gender in the sustainable manage-
ment of fragile lands. The lessons learned are illus-
trated by examples from an ECOGEN case study
conducted in Southern Honduras.1 This guide is de-
signed for those interested in participatory research
as an aid in formulating research projects or as a
training tool (see Training Notes, next page).


DESFIL promotes the participation of local re-
sources users in the sustainable management of
fragile lands. The multidisciplinary team, experi-
enced in linking natural resources management
and sustainable agriculture with the social .sci-
ences, includes: Bruce Ross, seniorprogram man-
agerand geographer; William Fiebig, agronomist;
Elizabeth Adelski, anthropologist; !smael
Ouedraogo, economist; and Mary Hill Rojas, gen-
der specialist, who wrote this issue of DESFIL
REPORTS with Anne-Marie Urban, Latin Ameri-
can Caribbean advisorfor USAID's Office of Women
in Development, formerly with the ECOGEN
Project. Comments are welcome.


THE RESEARCH PROCESS: PREPARATION

Step One: Formulating a Research Framework

A conceptual framework and working ques-
tions guide the research.

The central assumption for both the DESFIL and the
ECOGEN conceptual frameworks is that develop-
ment and the research that supports it begin with
local resource users, both men and women. The
ECOGEN approach, which guided the research in
Southern Honduras, builds on recent research that
has expanded the analysis of poverty, powerless-
ness, and environmental degradation to focus on
gender differences in accessing and using natural
resources. Its gender-focused, land-user approach
emphasizes multiple uses and users of natural re-
sources, recognition of indigenous knowledge, and
treatment of rural people as research partners. The
approach also includes analysis of the social, politi-
cal, and economic institutions that influence the
lives of the communities under study.2

Based on the ECOGEN framework and an extensive
literature review, the goal of the study in Southern


DESFIL REPORTS is published by Development Strategies for Fragile Lands, a project funded by the U.S. Agency for
InternationalDevelopment G/E undercontractno. DHR-5438-C-00-1090-00 with Chemonics Interational, Rodale Institute,
Abt Associates, and DATEX, Inc.






DESFIL REPORTS


/(;" 5,j
,tP 0,;Z


'^~O Development Strategies for Fragile Lands

Septem be194


A Guide to the Process of

Participatory Research

Examining the Role of Gender in
Sustainable Natural Resource
Management


A basic strategy of the United States Agency for
International Development (USAID) is to pro-
mote sustainable development through the full par-
ticipation, involvement, and empowerment of local
peoples, both women and men. In keeping with this
strategy, two projects with USAID funding, "Ecol-
ogy, Community Organization and Gender"
(ECOGEN) and DESFIL (see box, page 9), use
participatory methods, including gender analysis, in
conducting research in communities where they work.

By using participatory methodologies, researchers
engage community members in the research process.
Local men and women act as informants, as advisors,
and as guides. They therefore both contribute to and
learn from the research process. Finally, the products
of the research are returned to the communities for
their review and use.

This guide represents a collaboration between
ECOGEN and DESFIL. It outlines some of the steps
and lessons learned in participatory research in ex-
amining the role of gender in the sustainable manage-
ment of fragile lands. The lessons learned are illus-
trated by examples from an ECOGEN case study
conducted in Southern Honduras.1 This guide is de-
signed for those interested in participatory research
as an aid in formulating research projects or as a
training tool (see Training Notes, next page).


DESFIL promotes the participation of local re-
sources users in the sustainable management of
fragile lands. The multidisciplinary team, experi-
enced in linking natural resources management
and sustainable agriculture with the social .sci-
ences, includes: Bruce Ross, seniorprogram man-
agerand geographer; William Fiebig, agronomist;
Elizabeth Adelski, anthropologist; !smael
Ouedraogo, economist; and Mary Hill Rojas, gen-
der specialist, who wrote this issue of DESFIL
REPORTS with Anne-Marie Urban, Latin Ameri-
can Caribbean advisorfor USAID's Office of Women
in Development, formerly with the ECOGEN
Project. Comments are welcome.


THE RESEARCH PROCESS: PREPARATION

Step One: Formulating a Research Framework

A conceptual framework and working ques-
tions guide the research.

The central assumption for both the DESFIL and the
ECOGEN conceptual frameworks is that develop-
ment and the research that supports it begin with
local resource users, both men and women. The
ECOGEN approach, which guided the research in
Southern Honduras, builds on recent research that
has expanded the analysis of poverty, powerless-
ness, and environmental degradation to focus on
gender differences in accessing and using natural
resources. Its gender-focused, land-user approach
emphasizes multiple uses and users of natural re-
sources, recognition of indigenous knowledge, and
treatment of rural people as research partners. The
approach also includes analysis of the social, politi-
cal, and economic institutions that influence the
lives of the communities under study.2

Based on the ECOGEN framework and an extensive
literature review, the goal of the study in Southern


DESFIL REPORTS is published by Development Strategies for Fragile Lands, a project funded by the U.S. Agency for
InternationalDevelopment G/E undercontractno. DHR-5438-C-00-1090-00 with Chemonics Interational, Rodale Institute,
Abt Associates, and DATEX, Inc.










TRAINING NOTES

This guide to participatory research has two sections: a) Research Preparation and b) Research Implementation. When.
using the guide for trainingit is recommended that at least one session be devoted to each section. Ideally, a third session
should be held to field test and practice the participatory research tools suggested under Research Implementation, Step
Two: Working in the Field. The goal of the training sessions is for the participants-to learn to draft their own research
plans.

It is suggested that training proceed as follows: 1) The trainer presents each step of the guide, and the example illustrating
it. 2) Participants, working in small groups, begin to formulate their own research plans. For example, the trainer presents
Research Preparation, Step One: Formulating a Research Framework, by considering the conceptual framework and
the research questions from Southern Honduras. Then, in small groups, the participants begin to formulate their own
conceptual framework and questions based on their projected research. Or, in the section on Research Implementation,
Step One: Team Building, the trainer reviews the importance of team building, again using the example provided. Then
the small groups draft an agenda for the team building and orientation of their own research.


Honduras was to examine the links between gender,
natural resource management, and sustainable de-
velopment in four rural communities. The research
questions were:

1) What are the roles, responsibilities, and rights of
rural men and women with respect to natural re-
source management?

2) What strategies do rural men and women use to
cope with environmental degradation and poverty,
and how do these strategies affect gender relations
within households and communities?

3) What are the policy implications of the research
findings for community groups, nongovernmental
organizations working in the region, the govern-
ment, and the donor community?

Step Two: Partnerships, Place, and Personnel


Partnerships: The choice of research part-
ners depends on the goals and priorities of
the researchers, those funding the research,
and those working with the communities.


In 1993-with the support of the USAID Office of
Women in Development, the Ministry of Natural
Resources of the Government of Honduras, and
USAID Honduras-ECOGEN personnel designed


a study to better understand the links between gen-
der, natural resource management, and sustainable
development in Southern Honduras. The Land Use
and Productivity Enhancement Project (LUPE),
ECOGEN's host in Honduras and USAID's princi-
pal project under the Honduran Ministry of Natural
Resources, addressed rural productivity and natural
resource management activities on the hillsides of
Central and Southern Honduras. With an interest in
enhancing its understanding of and attention to gen-
der issues, LUPE was a natural partner for the re-
search effort.

An initial planning trip to Honduras by the ECOGEN
director established contacts with communities, ex-
tension agents, and government personnel. Based on
these contacts, a research site was selected in South-
ern Honduras in the municipality of Choluteca where
LUPE's extension personnel had direct ties with the
communities. These ties facilitated introductions of
the researchers to community members and the dis-
semination of information about the research project.

Place: The rationale for the choice of the re-
search site should reflect the research goals.

The research study was conducted in a region where
the Linaca Extension Agency, one of the LUPE-
supported rural agencies in the Department of
Choluteca, works with several community groups.
The region was chosen primarily because of the
important connection between the current environ-






RE S S 14 N


mental crisis in the uplands of Southern Honduras
and ECOGEN's mandate to explore local efforts to
manage natural resources. The region was also cho-
sen because of its relative isolation from the capital,
limited access to governmental and nongovernmen-
tal services, and the lack of attention it had received
in previous research on Southern Honduras.3 In
addition, Linaca Agency staff recently had com-
pleted a diagnostic study of the region and were
enthusiastic about the opportunity to deepen and
share their knowledge of the communities in which
they worked.

At the time of the study, LUPE was working with
eight Linaca communities. Four of them-La Picota,
Agua Caliente, El Zapote, and Cerro Verde-were
chosen for the study. The primary considerations for
their selection were: a) population size-each com-
munity had more than 50 households; b) geographic
location-at least one community was chosen from
each of the region's three agroecological zones. In
addition, the communities chosen included some
which were close to the city of Choluteca and others
which were more isolated.

Personnel: A multidisciplinary research team,
with members both native to the area and from
outside, allowsfor cross-disciplinary and cross-
cultural insights.

Four researchers, all women, carried out the study.
The team leader was a specialist in rural develop-
ment and gender analysis from the United States.
The other three researchers, all from Honduras,
consisted of a biologist and two social workers. All
four spoke Spanish and had experience working with
rural people. One researcher was from Choluteca
itself and guided the rest of the team through the
cultural nuances of the area. A fifth team member, a
sociologist and gender specialist from the United
States, helped establish the project in the field and
acted as an advisor during the initial field work.

The composition of the team allowed for cross-
disciplinary insights by combining the social sci-
ences and the technical sciences. For example, the
biologist identified and documented medicinal plants,
while other team members worked with individuals
of the community to identify the plants' local uses
and availability. At other times the social workers,


trained in working with community groups, led
group discussions while the other team members
kept the focus of the discussion on natural resources
and gender roles.

The single-sex team was considered appropriate
because of the research focus on women and gender.
Nevertheless, the team might have benefited from
the perspective of a male team member, especially for
the work with the village men, many of whom served
as guides, informants, and advisors.

THE RESEARCH PROCESS: IMPLEMENTATION

Step One: Team Building

Continual team building among the research-
ers is a priority.

The five researchers met in Tegucigalpa for three
days of orientation and training. The objectives of
this initial team building were to: a) get to know one
another; b) plan research strategies; c) train in par-
ticipatory research methodologies and gender analy-
sis. Getting to know one another included sharing
professional and personal information and spending
time together outside work. Research planning cen-
tered on designing the household interview guide.
This focus helped the team discuss the substance of
the research, incorporate the ideas of all the mem-
bers, and assure that the whole team felt ownership
of the project. During the training the researchers
used a case study to consider the concept of gender
and to understand gender analysis. They also prac-
ticed field research methods by carrying out focus
group discussions, field-testing the interview sched-
ule, and conducting transect tours to develop com-
munity profiles.4

Team building continued in the field. Virtual strang-
ers before the project, the researchers lived and
worked together in Honduras, sleeping in hammocks
in the villages and sharing hotel rooms in town.
Living and working together provided them the
opportunity to learn from each other and to incorpo-
rate their suggestions and criticisms into the research
structure. Though it might have been useful for the
team to have developed a formal system for conflict
resolution during the orientation, an informal system
initiated by the team leader in the field created a







I D L REPORTS September1.994,No 3. Page4


collaborative environment that encouraged dialogue
and conflict resolution. One conflict, for example,
concerned the scope of work. The intense require-
ments of the research often demanded extraordinar-
ily long hours. Job expectations should have been
more carefully discussed at the team orientation.

Step Two: Working in the Field

Keeping gender at the center of the research
agenda requires constant vigilance.

The orientation had emphasized gender and gender
analysis, thereby establishing common definitions
and language for the team. It also focused the re-
search on socially defined gender roles and data
disaggregated by sex. Nevertheless, the team had to
be constantly vigilant in keeping the gender lens on
the issues under study, whether it was on specific
natural resource management techniques or issues of
community organizational development. It was all
too easy to slip away from gender, especially in
discussions about natural resources. The lack of
water in the village, for example, often became the
focal point rather than the strategies used by men and
women to cope with the drought.

A participatory research process requires tools
that invite community participation.

Participatory research values local knowledge and
the active participation of the community. This study
therefore relied on meetings and research methodolo-
gies specifically designed to engage the community
members in the research process.

Introductory Meetings: The Linaca extension staff
organized the first meetings to introduce the research
team to community leaders, both men and women,
and to hold community-wide, introductory meetings
and preliminary planning sessions with the commu-
nity. At these meetings, the team members addressed
questions and concerns about the research, solicited
the support and participation of community mem-
bers, and found hosts and guides as research aids.
Particular attention was paid to soliciting the ideas
and help of women as well as men.

The level of attendance and communication achieved
at these meetings influenced the reception and accep-


tance of the research team on subsequent community
stays. In one community, few community members
attended the introductory meeting because of insuf-
ficient notice. Subsequently, the researchers spent a
good amount of time during the first extended stays
finding guides, hosts, and advisors and establishing
credibility and trust.

Extended Community Stays: During the first ex-
tended stays of four days in each of the communities,
the team members lived with local families, estab-
lishing rapport and exchanging information and in-
sights on life and work. With the continual assistance
and insights of the men, women, boys, and girls
living in the communities, the team members gath-
ered spatial, time-related, and social data. 5

Spatial Data

The research team supplemented the available com-
munity maps with on-site surveying to develop cur-
rent sketch maps of each community (see Figure 1).
With the addition of the households, these maps
enabled the team to draw a geographically stratified
random sample for interviews.

To capture the diverse landscapes and resources of
the communities and their people, the team collected
more detailed spatial information at both the commu-
nity and household levels. On a carefully planned
walking tour transecting each community, the re-
searchers and community guides noted the location
and variety of cropping patterns, vegetation, water
sources, socioeconomic status indicators such as
housing types and domestic animals, and examples
of natural resource management techniques. These
transects resulted in the systematic development of
profiles of each community's natural resources and
their users, disaggregated by sex.

Each researcher, in collaboration with the men,
women, and children of the communities, drewfarm
and home sketches of households from different
socioeconomic backgrounds. The sketches indicated
the variety of natural resource management strate-
gies that were used by the households. The home
sketches included the "solar," the area surrounding
the house which is the primary domain of the woman
and which often features a diverse collection of food
and medicinal plants and tree species (see Figure 2).













Figure 1: Sketch Map of Agua Caliente and El Zapote

El Zapote Agua Caliente de Linaca


4W "Natural Well"
SLavenderos
(concrete washboards and sinks)
SSoccer Field
] Schools

Source: ECOGEN Field Data, 1992


Production of
Tiles/Bncks
" Water Pump
SChurch
[ Water Tank


M[ Moorised Corn Grinder
AWells
] Public Health Center
SPulperias
] Feeding Center


----- Footpath
Road
Semi-Private Health Clinic
S Production of Small
Clay Utensils


Included with the sketch was a list of all the plants in
each solar and their uses as the family identified
them. Gender mapping techniques, or labeling the
landscape in terms of men's and women's labor and
their access to and control over resources, were
incorporated into several sketches to visually repre-
sent the gendered space in each community.6


Time-Related Data

Community time-lines documented information about
the unique historical development of each commu-
nity. Two focus groups in each community, one with
senior men and another with senior women, dis-
cussed community histories, emphasizing changes in
the natural resource base and key community devel-
opment initiatives. Men and women tended to em-
phasize different events in their community's natural


and social history. These accounts were supplemented
and broadened by subsequent interviews with a sample
of community households.

Other time-related data included gender disaggre-
gated seasonal activities calendars (see Figure 3),
noting the activities of men and women at different
times during the year, and schedules of a typical day
for both men and women. Both these tools helped
clarify the roles, rights, and responsibilities of men
and women with regard to natural resources.

Social Data


The team conducted in-depth household interviews
with community members, using rapid rural ap-
praisal techniques to identify key trends, concerns,
and other issues related to natural resource manage-


SRiver/Stream







DSFI REPRT, Setebe 194 No. 3*ag


Figure 2: Solar Sketch La Picota


Area of Solar: 15 x 20 meters


Nacascola Guanacaste Cagu
Carreto Real
Tamarind
Tiguilote



Moray b
(shade)

0 Tijo













Jacote


*Moray
SMango
eMoray


ano


Plot
(.75 Manzanas)
\" /Corn & Sorghum




Huerta (Banana)
0000000
0 0 0 0
000000
0ooooo
ICilantrol
Anono



|ve Cashew

Jicaro


Nin

0


Oranges


SMango
SOlive
*Salamo *
Paraiso


Source: ECOGEN Field Data. 1992


)- Matate
^u4 Cactus
Trees
0 Plants
-H-- Wire Fence


ment.7 The household interview guide developed
during the team orientation provided an informal
framework. Interview questions touched on diverse
issues related to the systems of both production and
social reproduction within the households and the
communities. Key themes, disaggregated by sex,
included daily activities, uses of,. access to, and
control over natural resources; elaboration of prod-
ucts both for sale and for home consumption made
from natural resources; and involvement in commu-
nity organizations. Care was taken to interview men
and women separately whenever possible.8 Addi-


tional social and historical data about the community
and the management of natural resources were gath-
ered through:


* Key informant interviews: conversations with both
men and women leaders such as teachers, health
workers, and traditional healers.


* Focus group discussions, organized separately for
women and men, which yielded gender-disaggre-
gated seasonal activities calendars, an analysis of
each community's institutional structure, and a


Water Source
Summer 1km
Winter 50 mtrs







I R R e e 4 3' Page 7t t* I


deeper understanding of the functions and proce-
dures of local organizations.


SParticipant observation, which increased the un-
derstanding of the work loads and management
skills of women (who often downplay their public
and household roles and responsibilities).


Participant observation, for example, helped the
team clarify and expand its definition of the farming
system. A narrow definition, from planting to har-
vesting, emphasizes male activities, resulting in many
agricultural projects that are directed toward men.
However, through observation it was clear to the
team that men, women, and children-separately
and together-were involved in agricultural activi-
ties. The men and boys were responsible for prepar-
ing the land, planting, weeding, and harvesting. The
women and girls also participated in these activities,


especially the weeding and harvesting, and were
responsible for storage, shelling, grinding, and pro-
duction of flour, tortillas, and other foods. The defi-
nition was expanded to describe the farming process
from planting to tortilla, and in so doing included
women and men, boys and girls.


Subsequent Community Stays: From the knowledge
shared by community members in the first extended
community stays, the research team constructed a
formal confirmation survey, serving as the quantita-
tive component of the research. The team returned to
the communities for a second stay of four days with
local females. Selecting a random sample of house-
holds from the community sketch maps, the team
used the formal survey to validate previously ob-
served phenomena about natural resources and their
management, clarify inconsistent findings, and pro-
vide solid demographic data disaggregated by sex.


Figure 3: Gender Disaggregated Activities Calendar


Season
Activity
Corn
Sorghum
Red Beans
Vegetables
Period of Pests in Crops

Cattle
Small Species (Pigs & Birds)
Sale of Animals


Collecting Fuelwood
Carrying Water (2-3x daily)
Cooking & Cleaning
Child Care
Home Improvement
Processing Foods for Sale
Making other Products for Sale
Construction & Repairs

Temporary Wage Labor Outside Comm.
Permanent Wage Labor Outside Comm.

Period of Sickness in People
Food Shortages
Period of Greatest Expenses


--- continuous activity
........... sporadic activity
1Iu11111111 heaviest activity


0 Adult female
* Female youth/child
[ Adultmale
* Male youth/child


Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
S ummer Dry Winter Wet Dry



L- .0 0 1. d v



-................ .... ... ...... ..


.................. ......... ........ ....1111. ......II --- ------ ------ ..... ..........--









............. ... ......... .......... .... ..... .....................................








S circe: ECOGEN Fie ld Data, 1rC
Sounr: ECOGEN Field Data, 1992.






DESI REORS, Setebe 194 oI3Pg


At the same time, the team conducted additional
focus group interviews to verify the seasonal activi-
ties calendars and to create institutional diagrams.
Men and women were asked to rank the importance
of community institutions as represented by various
sizes of circles of paper and to show the relationships
among them. The resulting diagram (see Figure 4)
indicates that men and women ranked the relevance
of institutions differently, often depending on gen-
der-influenced priorities and involvements. Men, for
example, gave the "patronato," the village council, a
central role, while women emphasized the school
and church-affiliated organizations.

Step Three: Data Analysis

Participatory research generates qualitative
data that need to begin to be analyzed in the
field.

Time should be scheduled during the orientation to
train the research team in field data analysis. Al-
though this was not done in the Honduras study, a
system was established in the field to organize and
begin to analyze the voluminous data gathered through
qualitative, participatory research. After each village
stay, the team members spent several days together
organizing their data: listing medicinal plants, their
uses and users; finalizing drawings of household
gardens and fields with their gendered spaces; and
developing natural resource maps of the communi-
ties and gender disaggregated seasonal activities.

Notes taken during interviews and focus groups
were analyzed within the conceptual framework of
the research project using content analysis. The
researchers reviewed their notes for emergent themes
and examples of them. These were written up, shared
and discussed with the other members of the team,
and synthesized by the team leader.

Participatory research can inform the more
traditional research components ofthe project.

The research in Southern Honduras consisted of two
parts: the participatory research in the four commu-
nities and more formal interviews outside the com-
munities. One part informed the other. During the
field work, men and women identified the key insti-
tutions that influenced the communities or that em-


played migrant workers. These institutions, head-
quartered outside the communities and including
nongovernmental organizations, governmental or-
ganizations, and corporations such as melon and
sugar plantations, linked the communities to broader
regional, national, and international systems. The
team spent more than two weeks interviewing per-
sonnel from these organizations. Building on the
results of the participatory research in the communi-
ties in this way was critical to more formally analyz-
ing "interactions between.resource use and social
dynamics at a local level and the responses and
influences of political-economic processes at the
macro level."9

A blend ofqualitative ad quantitative analysis
confirms and validates the research findings.

The formal confirmation survey developed from the
qualitative field data helped confirm the validity of
the themes that had emerged through the content
analysis done in the field. The research team admin-
istered one hundred quantitative surveys, fifty-six to
women and fourty-four to men. Variables and cod-
ing categories for analysis of the survey data were
established from the participatory field research data
and secondary sources of similar research in Hondu-
ras and other parts of Latin America.

Analysis of the confirmation survey data involved the
compilation of frequencies for each variable, bivari-
ate analysis (i.e., key variables by community, gen-
der, age, education level, household headship), and
selected multivariate analysis (i.e., size of landhold-
ing or use of a specific conservation technique by
community and by gender; membership in commu-
nity group by gender and by age).

After the completion of the research, the team leader
authored the final report and case study. The case
study contains a combination of the quantitative data
and the historical, descriptive, and anecdotal infor-
mation from all the stages of the research process.

Step Four: Returning the Research to the Com-
munities

Participatory research includes returning the
research to the participating communities for
their verification, critique, and use.











Figure 4: Institutional Networks in el Zapote




Women's Perceptions Men's Perceptions

COHASA
tub

Health I Municipality
(v Church
(PRODESAI
Soccer

School Lunch \ / Church / Parents'
Committee sociation







iPublic Hearth
Source: ECOGEN Field Data, 1992 PRODESA


At the end of the field research process, the team
prepared a portfolio of information, including maps
and diagrams, for use by local schools and nongov-
ernmental agencies in the region. At a final meeting in
each community, local participants received a packet
of materials including a sketch map, community
history time-line, natural resource profile, a list of
trees and medicinal plants and their local uses, and a
list of active community organizations. They also
received educational posters based on the research
findings, including a calendar of gender disaggre-
gated seasonal activities, the typical days of a man
and a woman, a history of changes in natural re-
sources, and examples of community conservation
techniques.

Final meetings in each of the four communities pro-
vided the Honduras team and community members
with a forum to clarify remaining questions. Male
and female participants had the opportunity to voice
their opinions and discuss the materials presented.
The discussions served as an immediate means to


return to the communities for their use and critique
some of the information the research team had gath-
ered, analyzed, and interpreted. It also served as a
means for the researchers to verify their preliminary
findings.


About ECOGEN and DESFIL

ECOGEN is a sub-project of the Social and Insti-
tutional Aspects of Regional Resource Systems
Project (SARSA II) funded by USAID. It was
established at Clark University with Virginia Poly-
technic Institute and State University to research
how attention to gender may increase the equity
and effectiveness of natural resource manage-
ment programs. DESFIL promotes the participa-
tion of local resources users, both men and women,
in the sustainable management of fragile lands.
Both projects are supported by the USAID Office
of Women in Development.











Summary of Lessons Learned


1. A conceptual framework and working questions
guide the research.

2. The choice of research partners depends on the goals
and priorities of the researchers, of those funding the
research, and of those working with the communi-
ties.

3. The rationale for the choice of the research site
should reflect the research goals.

4. A multidisciplinary team, with team members both
native to the area and from outside the area, allows
for cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural insights.

5. Continual team building among the researchers is a
priority.


6. Keeping gender at the center of the research agenda
requires constant vigilance.

7. A participatory research process requires tools that
invite community participation.

8. Participatory research generates qualitative data
that need to begin to be analyzed in the field.

9. A blend of qualitative and quantitative analysis
confirms and validates the research findings.

10. Participatory research can inform more traditional
research components of the project.

11. Participatory research includes returning the re-
search to the participating communities for their
critique, verification, and use.


I Urban, Anne-Marie and Mary Hill Rojas. "Shifting Boundaries: Gender, Migration and Community Resources in the Foothills of
Choluteca, Honduras." Worcester, Massachusetts: ECOGEN, Clark University, 1994.

2 For complete framework see Thomas-Slayter, Barbara, Diane Rochleau, et al. "Introducing the ECOGEN Approach to Gender, Natural
Resources Management, and Sustainable Development." Clark University: Worcester, Massachusetts, 1992.

3 Thus minimizing "rural development tourism"- See Chambers, Robert. "Shortcut and Participatory Methods for Gaining Social
Information for Projects." In Cernea, Michael (ed.) Putting People First: Sociological Variables in Rural Development, Second Edition,
World Bank: Washington, D.C. 1991.

4 See Thomas-Slayter, Barbara, et al. "Tools of Gender Analysis: A Guide to Field Methods for Bringing Gender into Sustainable Resource
Management." Clark University: Worcester, Massachusetts, 1993.

5 See also the National Environment Secretariat, World Resources Institute, Egerton University, Clark University. "Participatory Rural
Appraisal Handbook: Conducting PRAs in Kenya." Washington, D.C.: World Resources Institute, 1990.

6 See Rochleau, Diane. "The User Perspective and the Agroforestry Research and Action Agenda." In Gholz H.L. (ed.) Agroforestry:
Realities, Possibilities, and Potentials. Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff, 1987.

7 See, for example, Feldstein, Hilary Sims and Jiggins, J. (ed.), Tools for the Field: Methodologies Handbook for Gender Analysis in
Agriculture. West Hartford, Connecticut: Kumarian Press. 1989; Cernea, Michael M. (ed.), Putting People First: Sociological Variables
in Rural Development, Second Edition. Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 1991; and Vonway, Gordon R., "Rapid Appraisal Techniques for
Sustainable Development." International Institute for Environment and Development: London, 1988.

8 Class, gender and ethnicity often interact. For example, gender roles and responsibilities and use of natural resources may vary along lines
of class and ethnicity. A wealth ranking exercise can ensure that the interviews and group discussions include men and women from all
socioeconomic groups as defined by the community. See, for example, Thomas-Slayter, Barbara, et al., "Tools of Gender Analysis: A Guide
to Field Methods for Bringing Gender into Sustainable Resource Management." Clark University: Worcester, Massachusetts, 1993.

9 Thrupp, Lori Ann. "Political Ecology of Sustainable Rural Development: Dynamics of Social and Natural Resource Degradation." Food
for the Future: Conditions and Contradictions of Sustainability. Allen, Patricia, ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1993.


For further information or technical assistance contact: The Development for
Fragile Lands Project (DESFIL), Chemonics International, 2000 M Street, N. W.,
Suite 200, Washington, D.C. 20036. Tel: (202) 331-1860; Fax (202) 331-1871.

























































The Development Strategies for Fragile Lands (DESFIL) Project, funded by the U.S. Agency for
International Development (USAID) with Chemonics International, provides interdisciplinary techni-
cal analysis and assistance to. USAID missions and bureaus, host-country agencies, and private
voluntary organizations. The DESFIL team links natural resource management and sustainable
agriculture with the social sciences. Its goal is to promote the effective participation of local resource
users in the sustainable management of fragile lands. The geographic scope of DESFIL is global and
its ecological scope includes lowland tropical forests, steep slopes, and arid and semi-arid lands.
Chemonics collaborates with Abt Associates Inc., Datex Inc., Rodale Institute, and the USAID Office
of Women in Development in implementing the DESFIL project.

In the interest of communicating with the community of individuals and institutions dedicated to
improving fragile lands management, DESFIL welcomes inquiries, comments and criticisms, and
additions to the mailing list.

The views expressed in this issue are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the
views of USAID or the contracting institutions.
\___________________________________________J






I DEFI REORS Setme. 94 o


SESFIL
Development Strategies for Fragile Lands


2000 M Street N.W.
Suite 200
Washington, D.C. 20036


Tel: (202) 331-1860 or 331-7212
Fax: (202) 331-1871
Telex: 1440361 CHNC UT


I




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