Front Cover
 RRA notes
 Table of Contents
 Some advantages to having an outsider...
 Revolutionary rural appraisal
 Participatory mapping and modelling:...
 Rapid appraisal for women in the...
 Harvesting local forestry knowledge:...
 Beyond Chapatis
 Tropical surveys as a tool for...
 End notes
 Contents of RRA notes backcopi...

Title: RRA notes
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00089570/00010
 Material Information
Title: RRA notes
Series Title: RRA notes.
Alternate Title: Rapid rural appraisal notes
Proceedings of RRA Review Workshop, Sussex
Proceedings of the Local Level Adaptive Planning Workshop, London
Participatory methods for learning and analysis
Physical Description: v. : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
Creator: International Institute for Environment and Development -- Sustainable Agriculture Programme
Publisher: IIED, Sustainable Agriculture Programme
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: July 1991
Frequency: irregular
completely irregular
Subject: Sustainable agriculture -- Periodicals -- Developing countries   ( lcsh )
Sustainable agriculture -- Methodology -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Dates or Sequential Designation: No. 1-
General Note: Title from cover.
General Note: Some issues have individual titles.
General Note: Latest issue consulted: No. 19, published in 1994.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00089570
Volume ID: VID00010
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 24385692
lccn - sn 92015492
 Related Items
Succeeded by: PLA notes

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    RRA notes
        Page 1
    Table of Contents
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Some advantages to having an outsider on the team
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Revolutionary rural appraisal
        Page 8
    Participatory mapping and modelling: User's notes
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
    Rapid appraisal for women in the North West frontier of Pakistan
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
    Harvesting local forestry knowledge: A comparison of RRA and conventional surveys
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
    Beyond Chapatis
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
    Tropical surveys as a tool for a more dynamic farmer-extension worker relationship
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
    End notes
        Page 54
    Contents of RRA notes backcopies
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
Full Text

RRA Notes

Number 12

JULY 1991


46, &,5,5


The principal aim of this series is to share current experiences
and methods among practitioners of RRA throughout the world. The
Sustainable Agriculture Programme of IIED publishes these Notes
containing articles on any topic related to Rapid Rural
Appraisal. The name of RRA encompasses a wide range of
approaches, and there are strong conceptual and methodological
similarities between Action Research, Participatory Rural
Appraisal (PRA), Participatory Learning Methods (PALM),
Agroecosystem Analysis (AEA), Farming Systems Research, Rapid
Assessment Procedures (RAP), Participatory Action Research, Rapid
Rural Systems Analysis (RRSA) and many others.

The series is to be kept informal. This is intentional, so as to
avoid the commonly encountered delays between practice and the
sharing of knowledge through publication. We would thus like to
hear of recent experiences and current thinking. In particular,
we are seeking short and honest accounts of experiences in the
field or workshops. What worked and what did not; dilemmas and
great successes. In addition, please send details of any
training manuals, papers, reports or articles. We will list
these under an occasional recent publications section.

RRA Notes is currently funded by the Swedish International
Development Authority and the Ford Foundation.

Please send materials or correspondence to Jules Pretty, Irene
Guijt, Ian Scoones, John Thompson or Jennifer McCracken at:

RRA Notes
Sustainable Agriculture Programme
International Institute for Environment and Development
3 Endsleigh Street, London WC1H ODD
United Kingdom

Tel : 071 388 2117
Telex : 261681 EASCAN G
Fax : 071 388 2826




1. Some Advantages to Having an
Outsider on the Team

2. Revolutionary Rural Appraisal

3. Participatory Mapping and Modelling:
User's Notes

4. Rapid Appraisal for Women in the
North West Frontier of Pakistan

5. Harvesting Local Forestry Knowledge:
A Comparison of RRA and Conventional

6. Beyond Chapatis

7. Topical Surveys as a Tool for a
More Dynamic Farmer-Extension Worker

8. End Notes

9. Contents of RRA Notes backcopies

Don Messerschmidt

Susan Johnson

James Mascarenhas
& P. D. Prem Kumar

Mehreen Hosain

Andy Inglis

Mick Howes

Antony van der Loo


Once again, we would like to thank so many of you for having
returned copies of the readership survey. The results will be
published in issue No. 14, as RRA Notes 13 will be solely devoted
to reporting recent developments in Participatory Rural Appraisal
in India.

This issue contains seven articles. The first two take further
the comments and discussions raised by Weyman Fussell and Ueli
Scheuermeier in previous issues. Don Messerschmidt draws
attention to the importance that outsiders can play in group and
team dynamics during rural investigation in Nepal, and Susan
Johnson raises further questions about the whole nature of
projects and interventions. In the third article James
Mascarenhas and Prem Kumar of MYRADA review their considerable
experience of participatory mapping and modelling to present
guidelines in the form of Users' Notes. Mehreen Hosain reflects
on a rapid appraisal designed to elucidate women's views and
values in north west Pakistan, and concludes that the exercise
not only produced valuable information on social structures that
varied from village to village, but also raised the awareness of
women in the villages investigated. Andy Inglis makes an
important contribution to the debates about the comparative
accuracy of the participatory qualitative methodologies embodied
by rapid rural appraisal and formal questionnaires. He led a
team to investigate fuelwood issues in Sierra Leone, and was able
to -ompare the results with those from a questionnaire conducted
just before. He concludes that the RRA survey not only generated
useful results but was probably better suited to the gathering of
complex socio-economic and socio-ecological information. The
results of the RRA were presented the day after the fieldwork was
concluded; close to a year later the questionnaire results had
still not been analysed. In the sixth article Mick Howes goes
beyond the 'chapati' diagram to suggest new ways of
diagrammaticaly representing formal and informal social
relationships. Lastly Antony van der Loo reports on the use of
topical surveys to produce closer farmer-extension worker
relationships in Mozambique. We conclude with a new section, End
Notes, that will report on a range of issues on this occasion a
new newsletter on qualitative methods, and a request for
information on experiences with wealth ranking.

Jules Pretty
Sustainable Agriculture Programme


Don Messerschmidt
Social Forestry/Research Adviser
Yale-IOF Project
Institute of Forestry
PO Box 43, Pokhara, Nepal

In their discussions of the cross-cultural impacts, cultural
neutrality, and Insider/Outsider effects on RRA research, Weyman
Fussell and Ueli Scheuermeier raise some interesting points (in
RRA Notes 9 and 10 respectively). While recognizing both sides
of the issues, the pros and the cons, I wish to take the stand as
witness for the defense. Outsiders on RRA teams can have quite
positive, sometimes catalytic roles to play. And sometimes
Insiders become Outsiders in their own society.

Some years back a discussion was raging in anthropology about the
relative ease/difficulty with which Outsiders and Insiders can
pursue research in a society. The debate was carried in several
journals, and in books (Freilich, 1970; Fahim, 1977; Fahim et al
1980; Messerschmidt, 1981). Even earlier, Berreman (1962)
observed, in a classic study, what a great difference the social
identity of the researcher makes in gaining rapport and
collecting data. The roots of the issues are found, partly, in
sociolinguistics made popular by Edward T. Hall (1959; see also
Gumperz and Hymes, 1972). Basically, depending on how far in or
out of a society a researcher is perceived to be, he/she will
have more or less difficulty getting on. Insider villagers
sometimes view Insider researchers with suspicion or contempt.
Outsider researchers often have advantages of strangeness, and
being able to see things in a new light.

I don't mean to bog down in theory. Rather, with the knowledge
that there's nothing new under the sun (the Insider/Outsider
debate is not new) I wish to demonstrate by means of three
examples how being Outsider is sometimes helpful to RRA research.
My examples come out of recent experience at the Institute of
Forestry (IOF) in Pokhara, Nepal, where RRA is used to study
community forestry. My role at the IOF is as research adviser,
and RRA trainer and collaborator.

Case 1. On Translation and Encapsulation

On an early reconnaissance of two hill villages, Rhiban and
Lahchok, near Pokhara, an RRA team of seven Nepalis and one
expatriate set out to learn about local forms of forest
management. Focus group discussions were conducted in Nepalese
along village lanes and under the ubiquitous banyan tree. After
each session, and sometimes during them, my Nepali colleagues
wished to debrief a little on the spot, and discussed the
findings among themselves, sometimes consciously translating
certain terms and concepts to me in English (though I speak
Nepali). Our sideline discussions dealt with the significance of

the fresh data we were collecting. One effect of this was to
encourage team members to paraphrase, summarise and encapsulate
the new knowledge.

John Mitchell and Hugo Slim (RRA Notes 10: 'The bias of
interviews') are understandably wary of 'summing up' or, as they
call it, 'nutshelling'. Yet in my experience that day under the
banyan tree, it was a valuable analytical process. For one thing,
it allowed the team members to digest a bit of what was happening
while still in the field. (It was their first RRA experience).
They then returned to the discussions with increased awareness
and insight. It was during this process that we discovered a
hitherto unreported deviation from the norm in Nepali community
forest management.

On the one hand, the villagers from Rhiban described their
single, large community forest as run by a representative elected
ban samiti (forest committee); their prevailing attitude towards
it was as hamro ban (our [collective] forest). On the other
hand, people from Lahchok village described a form of forest
management that was quite new to us but very old in fact.
Instead of a single forest the Lahchokis named several, each
reserved for the exclusive use of a single caste or clan group
from the village. Instead of a village-wide ban samiti they had
none, but managed the resource quite as they ordinarily manage
other caste affairs, through the dictates of the most powerful
families. Of each forest, the corporate caste members said mero
ho, bhanne chalan (literally: it is mine, we say is the custom).

The Lahchok villagers had no special name for their system (we
probed, and found none), but while digesting and translating
these findings to English, largely for the benefit of the team's
Outsider (me), my colleagues came up with an important concept:
'Communal Forestry'. The result of one short
analysing/translating/encapsulating session sparked tremendous
interest, and we re-entered the discussions to probe further and
to triangulate on the topic from new perspectives. Despite its
drawbacks, this 'summing up' in English (which would not have
occurred without the presence of the Outsider) provided important
impetus for further RRA exploration. Our preliminary findings
are written (Subedi et al, in press; Messerschmidt, in press) and
a new, more focused RRA on the topic is planned.

Case 2. Outsider Rapport and Repartee

In 1990, three IOF faculty members were trained in RRA for six
weeks at Khon Kaen University, Thailand. Following the training,
they returned from home to conduct research leading up to a major
publication on the subject of wood energy production in a Nepali
district town (Balla et al, in press). On several occasions
during the research, the all-Nepali team was accompanied in the
field by expatriate advisers (one of the Thai trainers, an
anthropologist; a Dutch sociologist; and an American
anthropologist). After observing the difference that having a
Nepali-speaking Outsider along made in gaining rapport and

collecting data in the villages, one of the trainees remarked
(here paraphrased):

"You know, we Nepalis can't ask questions of the villagers
like you expatriates do. You can laugh and joke with men
and women along the trails, and they answer you. You can
probe sensitive subjects, like illegal charcoal-making and
wood-cutting, and you get answers and good information.
It's because you aren't Nepali, and they assume you know
nothing and don't suspect you (of being a government
official). If we asked questions and joked about those
things like you do, they'd get angry or wonder if we were
stupid or something. You can do it; you're an Outsider. We
can't, we're Nepali like they are".

Case 3. More Outsider Than In

During a study of tree and land tenure in the eastern Nepal Terai
(Subedi et al, in press), our team of three (two Nepalis, one
expatriate) spent some time among the Maithili-speaking Musahars,
landless labourers of the lowest Hindu caste. One team member
was a higher caste Maithili speaker; the other was a Nepali
Brahmin, the highest Hindu caste.

Normally, in traditional society (from which these villagers were
not far removed in time), a Brahmin and a Musahar would rarely
meet, and certainly would avoid commensal relationships.
Normally, Nepali visitors from outside the villages are viewed
with suspicion (as we had encountered elsewhere on the same
study). We were taken aback, then, by our open reception in one
Musahar hamlet, and by the people's perception of all three
members of our team as neutral Outsiders.

We were in the midst of a rapport-building discussion and map-
sketching session in the village square, when our Brahmin
colleague and the influential Musahar ward leader disappeared.
They'd gone to the ward leaders' house (we found out later) to
drink tea and have a frank but private discussion about the
Musahars' dilemma. Being landless and powerless they have no
access to trees and pursue, out of necessity, illegal tree-
cutting and selling logs from the nearby government reserve.

The ward leader wanted us to know their plight, and invited the
team to join a forest harvesting group two weeks later. The data
we got through interviews and participant-observation on that
trip, including a night smuggling foray across the border into
India, was only available because the Nepali members were
identified and trusted as a category of Outsider, somewhere
between a fellow Nepali and an expatriate, I suppose. The point
is, it gave us a level of rapport and trust among Musahars that
neighboring Nepalis and government officials are not privileged
to enjoy. (Of course, we have a solemn obligation to our friends
to maintain their anonymity, given the sensitive nature of the

Being the Outsider, even a little, has its advantages. It also
has its disadvantages, but that's grist for a future discussion.


Balla, M. K, T. B. Karkee, & S. Chaudhary. 1991 (in press).
Regional Wood Energy RRA Study in Pokhara, Nepal. Pp 45-95 in.
FAO/RWEDP, Wood Fuel Flows: Rapid Rural Appraisal in Four Asian
Countries. Field Document No. 25. FAO-Regional Wood Energy
Development Project, Bangkok, Thailand.

Berreman, G.D. 1962. Behind many Masks. Monograph 4. Society for
Applied Anthropology, Lexington, KY, USA. (Reprinted, 1972, in:
G.D. Berreman, Hindus of the Himalayas: Ethnography and Change.
University of California Press, Berkeley, CA, USA. 2nd ed).

Fahim, H.M, 1977. Foreign and indigenous anthropology: The
perspective of an Egyptian anthropologist. Human Organization

Fahim, H.M, K. Helmer, E. Colson, T.N. Madan, H. C. Kelman and T.
Asad, 1980. Indigenous anthropology in non-Western countries: A
further elaboration. Current Anthropology 21:644-663.

Freilich, M. (ed). 1970. Marginal Natives: Anthropologists at
Work. Harper & Row, New York, NY, USA.

Gumperz, J. & D. Hymes (eds). 1972. Diurections in Socio-
linguistics: The Ethnography of Communication. Holt, Rinehart and
Winston, New York, NY, USA.

Messerschmidt, D.A. 1991. (in press). The uses of anthropology in
agro/social forestry R & D: Approaches to anthropological
forestry. Pp. 145-178 in: Wm. R. Burch & J.K. Parker (eds),
Social Science Applications in Asian Agroforestry. New Delhi:
Oxford and IBH Co. Pvt. Ltd., for Winrock International.

Messerschmidt, D. A. 1981. (in press). Anthropologists at Home in
North America: Methods and Issues in the Study of One's Own
Society. Cambridge University Press, UK.

Subedi, B.P, C. L. Das, & D. A. Messerschmidt, 1991 (in press).
Tree and Land Tenure in the Eastern Nepal Terai: A Study by Rapid
Appraisal. Forests, Trees and People Programme. SIDA and FAO.
Rome, Italy.


Susan Johnson
23 Holywell Close
Bury St. Edmunds IP33 2LS

Recent editions (RRA Notes 9 and 10) of RRA notes have contained
pieces by RRA practitioners concerned with "being there" the
impact and how to explain it. I am not aware that there is a
right answer to these questions, just some more honest answers
than others. Rather, I would like to comment on the context of
those questions.

Scheuermeier asked (RRA Notes 10) how to explain his presence to
the "lady sitting in front of her house". It is indeed the
question that makes you squirm inside you may be there because
you like the travelling, like the scenery or whatever, but is
that really the question the old lady is asking? If it wasn't
you there it would probably be somebody else so the issue
concerns what you represent since you are not usually
representing yourself. This is not a problem that is peculiar to
RRA practitioners, but it seems to me that there should be a
difference in the RRA answer.

RRA techniques tend in these pages to be treated as tools without
much in the way of a political context. My understanding of RRA
is that these techniques are not simply designed in order to
result in projects which are more responsive to the needs, values
and beliefs of a community. RRA also provides something of a
process approach to that project which enables the community to
become more self-aware in relation to "outside" assistance. This
is because the techniques do not just use the community as a
database but put it in a position of power by recognizing that
without its knowledge and participation the project is dead.

So let us be aware of what this approach is. The approach is
practiced in a paternalistic framework nobody asked the old
lady if she wanted you there. You are doing it this way because
you believe that it is better than what someone else might do.
You would prefer it if she had invited you she didn't someone
else did. Our hope is that because of the process employed she
will understand in the future that she is in a position to say
"No" until she gets what she wants or agrees with (rather than
just to act No the reason why other projects failed) because
through the process she has learnt that she is in a position of
power.. That is my understanding of the goal perhaps we should
call it Revolutionary Rural Appraisal don't tell the Boss.


James Mascarenhas and
P.D. Prem Kumar
No. 2 Service Road
Dolmur Layout
Bangalore 560 071

The purposes of these notes are:

a) to outline the main methods, enabling readers to try them
for themselves;

b) to encourage readers to adapt and develop them and invent
new methods;

c) to let readers know where they can find out more.

Background and Uses

Maps and diagrams are an essential part of any planning activity.
Maps are especially important in rural development projects where
planning, implementation, monitoring or evaluation are required.
This is especially the case when the subjects are land use, water
sheds, afforestation, agricultural development etc. Increasingly
in recent times, village maps showing the layout of the villages
the infrastructure and houses etc are being used to map the
household statuses of health, wealth, education and other socio-
economic conditions.

Rural people are natives of the areas that we are talking about.
They have been living in these areas, most times over several
generations. They have a great ability to represent their
surrounding accurately and diagramatically whether they are
literate or illiterate. When given an opportunity, they are able
to highlight those items that are of importance and interest to

In this way:

1. 'outsiders' are able to gain much more information about a
particular location or situation in a village, the village
itself, its resources, its land use pattern, or watershed
situation than they would otherwise;

2. outsiders also gain insights into the ways in which rural
people think, their priorities, and their reasons for
wanting or not wanting, for doing or not doing certain

3. they are also able to locate and pinpoint situations details
pertaining to each house such as the presence or absent of
any chronic diseases, family planning, number of children,
educational status, wealth, land holdings, livestock etc.

Different Types of Mapping and Their Uses

As mentioned earlier, there are two major types of maps:

a) a village layout map showing houses and village

b) a village resource map showing the resources of the village
such as land, soil types, land use, irrigation etc.

1. Mapping on the Ground

This is simply done by drawing on the ground by hand with a
stick, with chalk on concrete, or by using rangoli powder.
Mapping on the ground:

a) is visible to several people;

b) can generate a good deal of discussion;

c) can contain a lot of information;

d) can be altered or corrected easily;

e) can be sequentially developed if required; and

f) can be expanded, as usually the space (ground) is unlimited.

The ground map can either be a plain one or it can be coloured
with rangoli or other coloured powders to indicate various
subjects such as land use: dryland, irrigated land, forest land,
wasteland, housing layout etc.

Mapping on the ground has the disadvantage that it cannot be
carried away unless it is copied on paper.

2. Mapping on Paper

Mapping on paper has similar uses as mapping on the ground.

a) It has an advantage over mapping on the ground in the sense
that it is a record which can be carried away.

b) It is also participatory, though not as much as when mapping
on the ground (this is mainly because the size of the paper
is limited and offers limited space for people to gather
around it and participate).

c) Another variation in mapping on paper has been the use of
coloured paper, cut out in different shapes and stuck on a
plain background. This method was used to map the command
area of an irrigation tank in Kolar District in Karnataka,
and was evolved by a farmer. It showed clearly and
accurately the different plots, shapes and sizes according
to layouts, ownership and survey number this tallied with
the official map of the area.

It's main disadvantage is its limited size which does not allow
for greater detail or elaboration. Mapping can be done with
pencil or by using different coloured pens.

Details such as land use, layout of plots of lands, or houses in
the village itself, and problem areas in each can be easily done
either on ground or on paper. With village resource maps,
comparisons between the past, the present and the future can be
mapped. Treatment plans can also be mapped. With village
infrastructure maps or social maps, extension of the map to show
wealth and household assets such as land and livestock,
household problems, economic status, health status, education
status and so on is possible by marking on the map itself with
various symbols either drawn or placed. Seeds and different
coloured powder can also be used to mark specific
houses/situations/problems. In this way selection of
beneficiaries for different programmes and monitoring of the
impact of programmes on specific families can also be done.

3. Modelling

This is an advancement over mapping in the sense that it is three
dimensional and shows in greater detail the features of an area
such as a watershed or a tank and its command.

It has been found to be more participatory even than mapping on
ground or on paper, and is a lot of fun for villagers and
outsiders alike. Rangoli and other colours form an essential
component of this method as do other local materials for making
models of houses, people, culverts, bridges, electric lines,
vehicles etc.

Modelling has been found to be very useful in land use planning,
watershed planning etc. where the problems, treatments, and
opportunities can be indicated on the model itself, jointly by
the villagers and the outsiders. In modelling, the detail allows
for a focused discussion that is easily understood by all. Models
can be historical (what did the area look like 50 years ago) or
futuristic (what will be area like 20 years hence). Other
variations of the theme are if we have one type of treatment. For
example, planting eucalyptus, what will it look like in 20 years
time, or if we plant a mixed forest, what will it look like in 20
years time? In either case, what will be the benefits/effects?

However, models cannot be carried away and hence would either
have to be photographed or copied on slides or paper.

Some Practical Applications

As mentioned earlier the mapping exercise is useful in a variety
of ways. Their participatory nature makes them an extremely
useful tool in understanding the situation that exists in a
village or a watershed and leading from here, to planning of
development programmes for that village or watershed.

Evolving from plain pictoral representations of village resources
and layouts, a lot of 'hybridisations' and extensions have taken
place. Some of these are listed below. The list is by no means
complete, nor have we reached the limit of what is possible.
Much more can be added on in terms of the methodology, content,
uses and applications. And anyone can try to do it for

Situation Assessment

Establishing the current status of the village and its

A. Village Social Mapping (see Figure 1)

This involves asking the villagers to make a map of the
current/existing situation prevailing in the village. Starting
with a layout of the village, one can then move on to marking out
the following:

a) Caste distribution and location

b) Population (no. of adults and children male and female,
different age groups etc)

c) Health mapping: locating houses with persons having chronic
ailments, malnourished children, family planning etc.

d) Socio-economic Status: indicating distribution of landless
or homeless families, small and marginal farmers, other
occupations (rural artisans), local resource people, widows,
etc. Wealth ranking of the village community can also be
done this way.

B. Village/Watershed Resource Mapping (see Figure 2)

Here the villagers are asked to make a map of the village
land/watershed. This could be added on to the map of village
layout (Social map). In this type of mapping, it is possible to
represent the visible and invisible physical features of the
village/watershed. These would include vegetation (forests,
trees), land use (cultivated, uncultivated waste, grazing land,
forest land, irrigated land), land ownership patterns, land
productivity, cropping patterns etc.

In a recent exercise the farmers of a watershed did a 'Matrix
Ranking' of different types of soil according to various
criteria such as type of crop, drainage, yield/productivity, ease
of management and land value, and indicated on their map where
these different types of soil occurred.

In the case of watershed planning, it has become customary for
the different transect groups to converge on the map/model of
the watershed to represent their observations/suggestions
regarding indigenous technologies, problems, solutions and
opportunities on the map/model in full view of each other and the
whole village, thus generating a great deal of healthy
discussion, leading to more accurate and refined planning.

This example indicates how various PRA exercises can be linked to
one another (sequencing). It is also possible to combine methods
in other ways, for example combining the social map with the
village resource map ('A' with 'B') would give a more
comprehensive picture of the village in its totality. One could
then begin to observe how various factors begin to interact such
as the trends and the impact of populations on deforestation,
land use, land fragmentation, migrations etc, or the land
ownership patterns in terms of various economic groups and the
type of land they own, eg the relationship between wealth and
land productivity.

An inventory of local technology is also an important component
to which appropriate new techniques can be added to arrive at a
'basket of choices' from which the community chooses, based on
their needs and constraints and capabilities.

Time Series

Representation of either the socio-economic situation of the
village community or the village watershed resources (or both)
over a period of time can be obtained, and related to each other.
This gives extremely interesting historic profiles/transects
which help us to know what the situation was like several years
ago, how it evolved, and the reasons for this evolution.

Participatory Village/Watershed Planning

This has been tried extremely successfully and is emerging as a

Matrix ranking is the subject of another paper, entitled
"Quantification, Scoring and Ranking". PALM series IV G.
Available from MYRADA.
2 Transects are described in PALM series IV entitled "Transects
in PRA". Available from MYRADA.


(FfI I


@ Open Well
Water Tank
-- Roads

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Family Planning Operation
Tuberculosis Case
Female Headed Household

Figure 1. Social Map drawn by villagers of Ramenhally


FP =
TB =
A =
* =


o Well
o Spring

Figure 2 Maps drawn from two watershed models made by people of
Ardanarypura village, Karnatka, India. The top shows
the watershed 50 years ago, the bottom as it is today
(1990). PRA team from MYRADA, Bangalore.

very powerful means of participatory planning3 of rural
development programmes. Here both villagers and
'Outsiders'/planners can sit together to discuss the village and
its resources using the map as the focal point. Treatments can
be marked on the map simultaneously. An advanced way of doing
this exercise is to allow the villagers themselves to arrive at a
development plan of which they then make a presentation to the
outsiders/'planners'. This would serve as the basis for
discussion and negotiation. The plan however should include the
elements of equity and appropriate technology.

Other Applications

Variations of this theme are when items are brought by outsiders
into the village for discussion. These include aerial
photographs or ordinary photographs (taken from a vantage point
and giving a good view of the terrain and features), maps and
plans of the area/villages. Farmers show a great ability to
interpret these documents and discuss them, sometimes even
pointing out gaps (for instance, one farmer in Nepal pointed out
that the aerial photograph shown to him must have been an old
one, as it had only 18 houses in it, whereas the village had 20
houses 2 houses having been constructed recently).

3 This subject "Participatory Planning using PRA Methods" is
subject of paper PALM series IV H. Available from MYRADA.

1. Users' Notes for Mapping


1. Do spend some time thinking about
the exercise what information
do you need, why etc.

2. Do select your work group
(including village men and women).

3. Do select a work spot: someone's
house, under a tree, in the
open, the village square, a
threshing yard, etc.

4. In the case of mapping on paper,
first draw an outline with pencil
before you use coloured felt pens.

5. Do allow the villagers themselves
to draw the map according to
the way that they perceive
things and decide among

6. Do facilitate the exercise by
asking relevant questions at the
right time.


Don't dominate

Don't interrupt -
remember the villagers
are concentrating hard.

7. Familiarise yourself with the
features on the map by actually
verifying features in the

8. Try to add to the map additional
information such as households
by caste, wealth ranking, assets
owned, tree preferences etc.

9. Copy ground maps out on paper and
make copies of them for documentation
and training purposes.

2. Users' Notes for Modelling


1. Do have a fair idea about the
terrain and the features of
the area that is going to
be modelled.

2. Do spend time thinking about
the exercise
(HOW you are going to go
about it,
WHERE you are going to
locate it,
WHO you wish to involve,
WHAT you are going to
WHY you need to do the
exercise etc?

3. Do brief the people well
about the exercise and the
purpose of it.

4. Do make the exercise into a
game which everyone the
men & women (young & old),
the outsiders enjoys.
Allow children to

5. Do involve the villagers in
the selection of the spot.
The best places are flat,
with a good vantage view of
the area being modelled. A
fairly open or public place is
likely to enhance discussion
and participation.

6. Do have a fair sized model: at
least about 5-6 feet in size
so that various features can
be depicted.

7. Do facilitate the exercise
in such a way to promote
participation. Discuss the
project with the villagers.
Ask them what they think
is the best way to proceed.
Allow them to construct

Don't take it for granted
that the model will appear
on its own. The exercise
needs to be facilitated.

Don't overdo the planning
part you might end up
doing only planning.

Don't be too strict or
rigid in the development
of the model either the
place, alignment or colour
scheme etc. Let the
villagers decide.

Don't make the models
too small.

Don't interrupt the flow of
work once it gets going.
Let the people argue among
themselves and come to
decisions regarding size,
colour,shape, location etc.

the model themselves-
including details such as
nullahs, fields, vegetation,
houses, temples.

8. Do watch how things turn out
and take shape. If at
the end certain things are left
out, ask the villagers 'What
about Phis... or what about

9. Do use locally available
materials as much as
possible, such as twigs of
different species to show
vegetation or:
-pebbles & stones (to show
pavements, stone rivetments,
nullah training or checkdams,
degraded eroded patches)
-twigs and twine (to show
electric lines,
transformers, handpumps etc)
-matchboxes for houses
-twine for electric lines
-grass to show crops.

Don't overdo the detail.
You may neglect the main
Don't use sophisticated

Supplement these with items
such as:
-rangoli powder
-toys (men, women, carts,

In most cases you may not have to. In one case the children
were extremely keen to have their school a respectable size. In
another, an elderly woman earned the wrath of the villagers
because she threw out a stone that was representing a large rock
in the village where the villagers used to sit and chat in the

Roughly about 1 kg. of each colour up to 6 colours should
be adequate. White powder may be required in a larger quantity
(say 4-5 kgs) as it can be used to mix with other colours to
prepare ash. Chili powder gave us red colour and turmeric powder
gave yellow. Blue we obtained from 'Robin Blue', mixing yellow
and blue we got green colour. Yellow and red gave us orange. We
had our 6 colours. One can try variations of this. Red can also
be obtained by crushing bricks. Black from black soil or
powdered charcoal, grey or white from 'chunam' or ash.

The quantity of coloured material can be increased greatly by
using fillers such as sand or sawdust, with which the colours are
mixed to increase the bulk. This enhances the quality of the
.model as the colours then become easy to apply.

buildings, bridges)
-coloured card (for houses etc)
-bits of pipe and so on.

10. Do try to make alternate
models of 50 years ago, 20
years hence, models showing
proposed treatment plans and
so on using the existing
model as a base.

Don't scrap the models.
Keep them as long
as possible for


Mehreen Hosain
Enterprise and Development Consulting (Pvt) Ltd.
40-A Kaghan Road, F-8/4
PO Box 2389
Islamabad, Pakistan

The Project

The Malakand Social Forestry Project (MSFP) is a project of the
Forest Department of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) of
Pakistan, supported by the Netherlands Government. The project
commenced in 1987 and covers the Malakand Agency, some 952 sq km
of mainly mountain with narrow inner valleys. There are no major
urban centres. About half of the project area consists of steep,
barren hillsides which are communally owned and covered with
sparse grass and shrub vegetation, and devoid of any trees.
Apart from its reforestation activities, the project has sought
to form village organizations (village development committees or
VDC's) which it is hoped will eventually initiate and manage
village development activities.

An important target group for the project is village women, who
are the actual users of fuelwood, and also responsible for the
stall-feeding of animals. In 1989 the project felt it was ready
to initiate a Women's Programme. Little was known, however,
about the role and status of women in the project area, or how
effectively to organise them for the Programme. As the Women's
Programme had already commenced there was an urgent need to
obtain this information in a timely manner, as well as get a feel
for the needs of the women, and gauge the reactions of the
community to the Programme. Without this diagnostic information,
serious mistakes could be made in the implementation of the
Women's Programme, which could set the whole project back.
Consequently, I was asked to conduct a Rapid Appraisal exercise
prior to the actual launching of the "stoves" component, which
was to serve as an entry-point for the Programme.

The Area

The NWFP region is inhabited by Pathan tribes, following the
Pathan code or Pukhtoonwali. The purdah system is normally
followed, severely restricting access to women and their
mobility. It is only possible for female project staff or
researchers to have access to village women under these socio-
cultural circumstances. Any interaction of local women with male
outsiders would be considered an affront to the honour of men,
so jeopardizing the whole project. It is also generally wise to
be sensitive to the nuances of the Pukhtun code of conduct,
especially as revenge for any real or imagined wrong is the first
commandment of the Pukhtoonwali!


As the Female Programme Consultant (FPC) was involved in other
aspects of programme design, it was decided that I would conduct
the exercise on my own, with the assistance of educated local
girls. The FPC, who is a forester, did, however, participate in
the exercise for the first three days. The local girls had
tentatively been chosen by the FPC as Village Motivators for the
Programme, each having been identified by the villagers as
educated and capable women. In each village, a girl from that
particular village was used. This was extremely helpful, as
these girls were familiar with the village, and with all the
households in the village. Being accompanied by them meant I had
immediate access to any household in the village, and the
villagers were more accepting of me. Later the information
gathered was discussed in detail with the male project staff from
various disciplinary backgrounds, who could not participate in
the exercise, as well as the FPC, the WID (Women in Development)
consultant and the Chief Technical Advisor for the Project.

Programme activities were to start in three or four villages.
These had been selected previously by the FPC as suitable
villages, on the basis of discussions with project staff and the
willingness of villagers to participate in the Women's Programme.
These villages were considered to be representative of distinct
clusters of villages, some belonging to distinct agro-ecological
zones for example. Four villages were to be covered over a
period of eight days, allowing two days for each village.

An initial checklist of issues was drawn up by the FPC and myself
prior to the first village visit, and was modified after the
visit. The checklist was geared towards getting information that
would be directly relevant to the Programme, and focused on the
proposed programme components which were:

* creation of village level institutions
* savings and credit programme
* introduction of fuel saving and appropriate technology
* income generating activities within the social forestry
sector (fruit and forest nurseries, vegetable gardens)
* management and development of fodder crops
* poultry development
* human resource development (skill training in vegetables,
fruit, poultry, accounting, forestry etc).

The checklist concentrated on information about the socio-
economic status of the household; the mobility of the women and
their participation in agriculture; women's daily and seasonal
routines; fuel collection, usage and availability; livestock and
fodder; vegetable growing; poultry; and savings and expenditures
in the household. These issues were investigated in depth, to
try and ascertain problems, needs, decision-making patterns etc
associated with them. The checklist was flexible, and allowed us
to talk around each subject. At this stage secondary data
sources, eg village baseline surveys, literature on women in the

NWFP etc, were also studied.

Members of the male VDC's had been notified that this exercise
was going to be carried out, as I felt the approval of the men
was crucial. We also spent our first moments in the village
notifying the men of our arrival, and explaining exactly what we
were going to do. This served as our introduction into the
village, and also facilitated access to the women.

Initially, male key informants (VDC members, school-teachers,
leaders, elders) were asked general questions about the history
and problems of the villagers, and the social and geographical
organisation of the village. Agricultural calendars and seasonal
patterns of vegetable and fruit growing were also discussed with
them, as was fuel and fodder availability. Men were asked what
they thought the problems of the women might be, and what one
could do about them. This gave the male perspective on the
different issues under consideration, which was important for the
success of the programme. These meetings took place in the
hujra, which in Pathan society is a room where men congregate.
As a female outsider it was acceptable for me to sit there.

After this group discussion one of the men would offer to show me
around the village and then his house. The local girl who was to
accompany me would be brought over to the house, where I would
discuss the checklist with her, and explain to her what I wanted
to do. The girls were usually quick to understand what was
required, and would be able to deal with the main issues in the
checklist on their own. In this way I could listen and observe
the women, and interject at relevant points in the discussion.

At this point we would ask if a number of women could be gathered
at that house for group discussions. The household where one
would be taken to would inevitably be one of the more affluent
households. This was in some ways an advantage, as it was found
that the poorest women will visit the houses of the affluent, who
are often their patrons, while the richer and middle income women
will sometimes be reluctant to visit the homes of the poorer
women, from whose families they observe purdah. In this manner
it was found that women of all social groups could be gathered
for the discussion. When the women were gathered we would
introduce ourselves in the context of the project and what it was
trying to do.

While many of the women had heard about the project, they were
not very aware of project activities, except when it impacted on
them directly, such as where areas had been cordoned off and they
were not allowed to graze their animals and collect fuelwood from
there. Men had felt that this was a project which related to
them only, and had not shared information with the women. This
is found to be true in many cases, where project staff mistakenly
feel that information imparted to men might filter through to
women. This group discussion about the project served as an ice-
breaker, and got women talking about their problems and issues.

Following this, discussions were initiated (as with the men)
about the social and geographical organisation of the village.
Women were asked to construct rough maps showing the
geographical/social neighborhoods in the village. This exercise
generated considerable excitement, and it was found that despite
their limited mobility, women did manage to sketch fairly
accurately the lay-out of their village. The discussions on the
socio-geographical organisation of the village was crucial to the
social organisation of the women. As each set of questions
relating to different sectors was completed, the women were told
about the various Programme components relevant to those
questions to obtain some idea of their receptiveness to the
various concepts being put forward, and to bring up some of the
problems that these "packages" might encounter. Often a lively
discussion would ensue, with the women arguing about why and why
not a particular activity might be suitable for them. The ideas
being put forward were very new to them, as previously their
exposure was limited to crafts programmes, or immunization or
population planning workers.

The group discussion was concluded by asking the women to
identify households in different income classes and in different
geographical neighborhoods in the village so that household
level discussions could take place the next day. This was a
tricky exercise as essentially we were asking the villagers to
rank households into poor, middle-income and rich categories, as
we did not have the time to do so. This was done by the
villagers on the basis of land-holdings. Land has a great deal
of value in Pathan society and in many cases those who don't own
any land are referred to as ghareeb (lit. poor). In most cases
the women were anxious to point out the extreme poor, and
neighborhoods on the fringes of the villages where the extreme
poor were sometimes clustered. Where there were distinct social
groups present in the village who might be "different" from the
others, attempts were made to visit their households as well, eg
the gujars or pastoralists, many of whom have settled into the
villages, or the occupational classes, eg barbers, priests or
mulesters, etc.

The next stage of research was spent in holding household level
discussions and in walking through the different neighborhoods
in the village. We did not have the time to walk with the women
to their fuel source which was often located several hours away
on the hillsides, but it became evident that there were sources
of fuel within the village as well. Attempts were made to visit
the different fuel sources or grazing sites which might be
present within the village, and to observe women in the field
while walking through the village wherever possible. The
information gathered from the household level interviews was used
to build up portraits of households, which proved extremely
useful in giving us some idea of household dynamics and the
differing needs of different socio-economic groups.

Interesting Findings from the RRA and Strengths of the Approach

It was found from accounts of oral history that deforestation in
the area had taken place amongst other things due to the
abolition of feudal authority and decline in the traditional
authority of the jirga (tribal council). Where ownership rights
were brought into question and forest revenues were to be shared
with the state, the people staked their claims on what they felt
rightfully belonged to them. The Wali or Swat, (the traditional
feudal leader) the villagers say, had such control over the
forest resources that the locals claimed that they would have to
report even a branch of a tree cut in their own courtyard!

Discussions and accounts of oral history revealed that villages
were organised into social/geographical units along lineage
patterns. The khel or kandey are the line descendents of the
clans that originally settled the village (Figure 1). These are
further broken down to mohallas, palaos or chams, which are
geographical neighborhoods, inhabited originally by one family
(khel). Over the years as families grew and land was divided,
some families grew richer and others poorer. Thus each
neighbourhood became inhabited by a number of economic groups.
In addition to this other social groups also moved in (eg
occupational castes). Thus each neighbourhood, though originally
based on one family, now consists of a number of social/economic
groups. This information was of great interest to the Project.

Men in the village have a formal meeting place (hujra), and
formal and informal meetings for men do take place frequently to
discuss problems and issues relevant to the village and
individuals. Women meet on a more informal basis, and due to
purdah restrictions their mobility is restricted anyway. It is
difficult to get women to congregate for a group meeting as they
all have different schedules and there is no one period during
the day which they all have free. To get women from the whole
village to meet and organise into women's organizations would be
extremely difficult. It was found that the convenient unit of
organisation was the neighbourhood. Given their common descent,
relationships are strongest among women in a mohalla, and women
are most mobile in their own mohalla (Figure 2). It thus seemed
logical to recommend that this be the basis of the social
organisation of the women. Women will visit other neighborhoods
with varying frequency, and are most comfortable with visiting
homes of similar socio-economic status. While pukhtoons (line
descendents of original settlers and original owners of all the
land) will be comfortable with meeting each other and people of
similar socio-economic status, purdah restrictions prevent them
from visiting households of gujars pastoralistss) or occupational
classes. These classes will, however, often visit and be
comfortable in the houses of the rich. This information on
social dynamics and spatial layout of the village was crucial to
developing an effective programme which would reach all segments
of the society, and in discovering geographical areas where the
extreme poor were clustered (eg bhandas or neighborhoods on the
outskirts of the villages).

















: Kandey-line descendants of clans




Figure 1.

: Khel/Kandans originally family based

: Family-based but now comprising all socio-economic
groups, rich, poor, outsiders and occupational


100 +/- households
small neighborhoods on periphery of village
a neighbourhood of 25-30 households
smaller units of 4-5 households

Models of social organisation in four villages of
Malakand Agency, NWFP.


- -






Figure 2. Model of social relations between women.



The combination of group and household level discussions was
found to be particularly effective. Group level talks gave an
overview of the situation and needs of the women (arguments and
discussions in groups can be quite revealing), while the
household level interviews helped to engage women who might not
be vocal in group discussions in the process. The needs of
different social and economic groups also became more explicit in
the household level interviews. Most women felt more comfortable
to discuss issues in greater depth in the privacy of their own
homes, in their own environment, especially issues related to
income and expenditures. Most were keen to extend hospitality
and physically show their cooking arrangements, fuel usage etc.
They would get even more involved in the exercise when we asked
to weigh the amounts of fuelwood burnt at every meal and to be
shown cooking arrangements, livestock sheds, kitchen gardens etc.
It also helped us to see their homes and families and be able to
hold more detailed discussions with them. The level and detail
of information gathered in the household can be extremely useful.

It was pointless asking the men what activities the women engaged
in, as inevitably the answer was "nothing". Again, it reflected
on male honour if you even suggested that their women were doing
any "work". The way around this problem in some cases was to
actually mention the kind of work eg "who feeds the livestock",
in which case they would admit that the women did that. When
asked what one could do to help the women out, their answer was
often limited to "open a sewing centre". This was not only true
of the men, but also of. the women, who could only think of
"sewing" when asked what income generating projects they might
like to do. This perhaps follows from the traditional approach
of Governmental and other organizations in dealing with women
projects. These women have had little exposure to anything
outside the realm of "handicrafts projects", and consequently are
unable to envisage themselves doing anything else. It was also
found that while many educated girls wanted paid employment, the
need was for flexible jobs, within the village, for it to be
socially acceptable.

While a vegetable growing "package" had been developed for the
Programme, it was found that women's role in vegetable growing
and kitchen gardening was minimal. This is not true of other
areas of Pakistan (eg Northern Areas) where women are responsible
for vegetable growing. Women were not receptive to growing
vegetables in their courtyards as they felt that children and
scavenging poultry would not allow this, and anyway the men were
already growing vegetables for marketing and home-consumption.
Thus the pre-formulated package proved to be unsuitable for this
area, and it became clear that traditions vary from area to area
(and even from village to village). It is essential to be
sensitive to these variations.

It was found that women had a significant role and control in
decision-making with regard to livestock and poultry. These

often also provided a source of income over which the women had
control. Productivity in this sector was found to be extremely
low, and it was recommended that this be one of the priority
areas for the project to involve itself in.

While fuel-efficient stoves were a very popular concept, the idea
of collective or neighbourhood bakeries which had proved popular
amongst other fuel-conserving projects in the NWFP, proved
(surprisingly) to not be popular in this area. The women
preferred to bake their bread in their own homes at their own
convenience. It was recommended that this idea be approached
again at a later stage in the project.

It helped in some ways to carry out the exercise in the context
of the project, as people felt that we had something concrete to
deliver, and were more interested in the whole process. This did
however also lead to the problem of raising expectations.

Problems Encountered and Weaknesses of Approach

The RRA should have been carried out before the programme
packages were put together.

Cultural sensitivity is crucial in approaching women as well as
in interpreting answers to questions. Often when we asked how
many children there were in a household, we were only told the
number of sons, as daughters are not considered so relevant!

Lack of time meant that the information and results could not be
discussed with the villagers.

A slightly larger, multi-disciplinary team might have been able
to gain greater insight to the issues it was difficult for one
person to handle all aspects of the exercise.

Raising expectations this happens even if you are just asking
questions and not promising anything. Villagers have a habit of
feeling you can solve all their problems. In this case one has
to be sensitive but firm, and let them know what you cannot do
for them. Previous visits by, project staff meant that the
villagers were expecting the Women's Programme to actually start
now and they could not understand the delay. The villagers felt
that I now had the power to get things going, and they had to be
convinced that I did not.

Tendency of local females assisting in the exercise to answer the
questions on their own or prompt the women. Greater time was
required to train the Female Village Motivators.

Tendency of Female Motivators to promise the women all nature of
things that the Programme could not deliver, in their eagerness
to convince them of the "worth" of the Programme. It was useful
that this became evident at this stage so women could be properly
trained before the Programme was actually initiated. Similarly

these women were themselves not entirely convinced by the
Programme and this also became evident as the exercise
progressed. It was also noticed that the Female Motivators were
reluctant to visit some of the poorer households. It was
recommended that these women be given appropriate training before
allowing them to continue. If false expectations were built up
on either side there could be disastrous results for the
Programme. It was also recommended that they be given
appropriate support, eg chaperones to accompany them.

People who launch into long speeches as they feel they have to be
spokesperson to communicate the needs of the community
(invariably exaggerated) they have to be tactfully interrupted.

Tendency of one person to dominate the discussion in groups and
household level discussions this is to some extent solved by
going to visit women (eg the poorer women) in their own
households. Within a household this problem can be solved by
taking a person aside or asking them to show you a part of the
house or the livestock shed and questioning them away from the
others. In the case of poorer women their richer patrons will
often answer for them. As they tend to employ them for various
purposes in their households or have other dealings with them,
their information is often accurate but this situation can be
avoided by visiting individual households as stated above.

The rich wanting to "hijack" you to their houses. You have to be
very firm in insisting that you want to go to the poorer
households as well.

Giving direction to the group discussions where all women tended
to speak at the same time.

Tendency of villagers to feel that you should be giving them
handouts. It is hard to get them to start thinking about what
they can do for themselves. They are normally quite clear about
their needs but have to be focused. You have to be quite clear
about the issues you are able to deal with, and ways in which the
project can help them.

Male hostility when you questioned them on work that their women
engaged in, the general response was "women don't work". This
could to some extent be overcome by not using the word "work",
and talking about the different activities such as livestock care
etc. Men were most resentful when you questioned them about
agricultural work that their women might be engaged in, as this
is considered in the NWFP to be the male domain, and it would be
going against the system of purdah to allow women to work in the
field. In most cases, even if women are working in the fields,
the first response from both women and men is to deny this. It
takes a certain amount of probing and tactful discussion before
the role of women in agriculture can be ascertained.

Over-zealous males who took too great an interest in the process
and wanted to follow us everywhere as well as answer all the

questions aimed at the women ("what will she be able to tell you,
why don't you ask me"?). It is important to keep men away when
talking to the women. Apart from interference, women were
considerably inhibited in the presence of men, and gave the
answers they felt they should be giving. In one case a farmer
who happened to be home when I was talking to the women in his
household became highly irate when I was questioning the women
about their role in agriculture, claiming they did nothing, while
the women were actually involved in bringing home the grain and
cleaning it in front of us. At the end however he smiled and
said "don't be unhappy", a traditional Pathan saying to ensure
you have not offended a guest!

Excessive time spent in "hospitality". This is unavoidable in
Pathan society where hospitality or melmastia is a crucial part
of the Pukhtoonwali. It would be a major offence if you refused
tea or a proffered meal. This is not however entirely
undesirable as I have found that a great deal of information can
be gathered in an informal discussion over a cup of tea in both
households and offices in the NWFP and in Pakistan in general.
In fact this information is often more revealing as
questionnaires tend to make people more "official" in their
responses. If one employs the Western approach of asking
questions and leaving, you tend to get less information. It is
far more effective sometimes to engage in social chit-chat to a
certain extent to establish a rapport and throw the relevant
questions in between.


The RRA proved to be a useful exercise in giving an overview of
social dynamics and the role of women in the area, and clearing
misconceptions about what was feasible in the project area. It
served a dual purpose in investigating the role of women, and
introducing them to the Programme at the same time. This was a
two-way learning process, as we learnt an enormous amount from
the women, and their awareness of issues and what they could be
achieving was also enhanced. It was especially interesting to be
attempting such an exercise in an area where strict purdah was
operating, and the mobility of women was very restricted. For
most women it was the first time they had been gathered for a
group discussion and given a chance to discuss their needs and
problems. Although the exercise was carried out with minimal
time and resources and could not employ RRA tools optimally, it
did allow us to gain insights which helped in making a more
effective Programme. The exercise was particularly relevant in
that its findings were incorporated in the design and
implementation of the Women's Programme, and the Female Village
Motivators who were to later implement the Programme were also
included in the exercise. In a way this trained them in
understanding the Programme and in introducing it to
thevillagers, and also in understanding the problems and issues
which were of relevance in the village.


Andy Inglis
Via delle Terme di Caracalla
00100 Rome
[Formerly of the Edinburgh Centre for Tropical Forests]


The RRA survey described in the following notes set out to
collect socio-economic and socio-ecological information which
could be directly compared with the results of a formal
questionnaire survey conducted by a social forestry project in
Sierra Leone, West Africa. Whilst not conclusively proving that
RRA is more accurate than conventional surveys (although some of
the results are very revealing), we certainly proved RRA to be
more efficient than the standard formal questionnaire.

The Study

The RRA survey was conducted during July 1990 by a 4 person team.
The team, led by a social forester (Andy Inglis, then of the
Edinburgh Centre for Tropical Forests), included a demographer
(Jeneh Pemagbi ), a planner and community worker (Val Woodward),
and a final year forestry, agriculture and rural economy
undergraduate (Rebecca Badger.)

As well as the main academic objective of comparing the results
with those of a statistical survey, our practical objective was
to provide an FAO Fuelwood Project's management staff with
accurate information regarding fuelwood marketing structures and
species preference variations in selected locations in the
Western Area. This information was to enable them to devise an
appropriate strategy for marketing mangrove and acacia fuelwood
produced by the Project. These subjects had also been included
in a questionnaire survey designed by Dutch statisticians and
carried out by 6 Project staff, most of them forestry trained,
during a 6 week period in March and April 1990 (ie 3 months

The RRA Fieldwork

During a 3 week period, we surveyed, 2 villages (Sussex and
Moyeimi), 4 small towns (Fogbo, Lower Allen Town, Newton and
Songo), 2 large towns, (Goderich and Tombo), and the capital
city, Freetown (see Map 1).

6 Jeneh, who had been trained to use formal sampling, started off
being very sceptical about RRA, but was soon advocating its worth
to any who would listen, eloquently attacking sceptical project
managers and officials with the zeal of a convert!

MAP 1 Western Area of Sierra Leone and RRA locations.
Five of these locations (Fogbo, Moyeimi, Newton, Songo and Tombo)
were selected because they were part of the FAO conventional
questionnaire survey, and Sussex was used as a training and pilot
survey location for the RRA team. None of us had any previous
field experience with RRA.

The RRA trials and training period lasted four days and took
place in Sussex Village during the first week of July. RRA
techniques were used by the team on an experimental basis to
create a full socioeconomic and socioecological fuelwood profile
for the village. All of the techniques were successful, and we
were able to use the experience and confidence gained by this
initial exercise when the main survey began three days later.

Not all four team members were available every day of the survey
due to illness, job interviews, conferences etc, although there
were always at least three of us. To compensate for this, the
smaller locations were covered on the days when the team only had
three members (the three had to operate together so less area
could be covered). When all four were present, we split into 2
pairs: usually the social forester (who could speak the local
language) and the planner; and the forestry student and the
Sierra Leonean demographer. Sometimes each pair would cover the
same subject areas in different geographical areas of a research
location. At other times each pair would cover the same
geographical area but concentrate on different subjects or
different end user or socio-economic groups. The latter method
provided more scope for the triangulation of results.

The following techniques were used by the team:

Interviews: based on a pre-arranged checklist of topics,
lasting between thirty seconds and one hour in length. The
respondents in this study normally included individual and
groups of fuelwood buyers, traders or subsistence

Key informant interviews: with local community development
workers, foresters, experienced fuelwood traders, farmers
and local community leaders.

Mapping: the drawing of a rough freehand map of the study
area, wherever possible by a local person (often a key
informant) on arrival at the location to show main and minor
roads, the location of fuelwood traders, fuelwood sources
and various individuals such as subsistence collectors and
commercial fuelwood users.

Preference pair ranking: to obtain the views of local people
on the virtues and drawbacks of different local species of
fuelwood. This was useful for comparing and contrasting
species knowledge, species preference and differing
preference criteria for the different locations and user

Indicator identification: to help us to interview a socio-
economic cross section of the community (ironically women
selling firewood in some of the communities studied is an
indicator of severe poverty). Indicators of fuelwood
related resource management issues were also noted by the
team (soil erosion, use of valuable species as fuelwood,
very short fallow periods, etc).

Fuelwood measurement: the prices and weights and estimated
volumes of several fuelwood bundles are recorded in each
location (sometimes a bundle of fuelwood had to be purchased
before the trader agreed to it being weighed, or even
sometimes before they would agree to talk).

Direct observation: fuelwood related events, processes, and
human relationships were recorded in written notes and
diagrammatic form.

We divided specific information gathering areas of responsibility
between us. These delegated duties included:

* drawing pair ranking matrices and recording pair preference
* measuring and weighing fuelwood,
* recording rough transcripts and key points of interviews,
* conducting interviews,
* identifying and recording fuelwood type and species,
* drawing maps/plans of the research station,

* prompting the interviewer if necessary,
* noting species preference criteria,
* checking that all socio-economic and fuelwood using groups were
included in each survey, and
* carrying equipment and supplies.

The pair ranking matrix technique (see Figure 1) worked very well
as many respondents who at first said they had no species
preference were within a matter of minutes giving intricate
technical details of why they did indeed have species
preferences. However, we found the technique to be a tedious
exercise when conducted in full, five or six times a day, every
day. It was progressively shortened as the survey progressed,
using three well known common indicator species from the previous
results (ie one very good, one medium, and one poor quality
fuelwood species) to generate the criteria and ranking order.
After a few aborted attempts, we gave up the pair ranking
exercises in the large urban centre, Freetown, where the very low
or non-existent levels of species knowledge made them impossible
to do.

The use of interviews, and trading flow diagrams were the main
RRA techniques used to generate the marketing structure results
for each location. The diagrams were simple to draft and amend
in the field and effectively synthesised a large amount of
information into a form that was understandable and was able to
be verified when interviewing respondents.

Survey Biases

We attempted constantly to recognize the research biases of the
survey and to adjust our fieldwork methodology to overcome them.
Consequently, the following strategies and unwritten rules were
evolved to try to counteract the main biases.

Main road bias. A rough map of the location was drawn as early
in the day as possible, to plan the survey strategy and record
where interviews etc took place. In the early afternoon we would
meet and discuss geographical gaps in the map that had to be
filled, and also if there was a bias towards any particular
socio-economic group that had to be redressed before we left the
location at the end of the afternoon. It was a strict rule of
the team that if one of us noticed a small path or side street
and suggested that the team follow it, then it had to be done (no
matter what the weather, time of day, how muddy the path, how
deep the water, how tired we were, how much any of us complained
or swore, etc, etc). We called this our "team contract".

Local knowledge bias. Some of the locations were known to the
team leader and invariably some of the key informant and other
interviews in these locations occurred because of previous
indirect and direct working or social relationships with these
respondents. However, to ensure that the proportion of these
respondents was kept to a minimum, we decided to introduce a
rough method of random selection of respondents. Consequently

if, in the course of each survey, anybody (wood trader/cutter/
buyer or not) invited us in to their house or asked what we were
doing there, or were in some other social setting with us (in a
bar, shop or sheltering under a tree for example), then that
person or persons would be interviewed. This technique also
reduced the time spent in finding respondents, and if they were
not directly involved in any aspect of the fuelwood trade, they
provided objective information which was often useful in the
triangulation process. However, it must be said that not all of
the people who invited us into their homes were reliable or
cooperative respondents. Often they were drunk and/or were only
wanting an argument. All part of the fun of RRA, really.

Seasonal bias. This was recognized by the team in fact it was
very difficult to forget, as the frequent heavy rains soaked us
and made walking and fuelwood measuring difficult or impossible.
Seasonal factors relating to fuelwood trading, cutting and buying
were discussed during interviews. Diagrammatical seasonal
calendars were used to begin with, but were found to be too
complicated for the simplistic wet/dry season division generally
used by respondents. It was very difficult to judge how strong
an influence seasonal factors have on issues such as fuelwood
price increases. Were they due to seasonal factors or to general

On the positive side, the heavy rains provided a good excuse for
stopping and seeking shelter which usually culminated in
successful interviews with those providing the shelter.
Additionally, the fish smokers, who are notoriously difficult to
interview when they are busy, do not have so much fish in the wet
season. Consequently, it can also be the slack period for the
fishing community fuelwood traders. It was therefore fairly easy
for them to be interviewed in a relaxed, but very damp,

Previous reading biases. By reading relevant research papers
before conducting the survey, it may have been possible for the
team to be heavily influenced and prejudiced or biased by their
findings. However, because we were aware of this, we were very
careful to use the information only to provide points of
reference to be raised with respondents in interviews. This
turned out to be very important as we could win the confidence
and attention of respondents very quickly by showing them that we
knew the general subject area and technical vernacular of
fuelwood collecting, buying and selling very well, but nothing
about the specific local situation. This enabled the team to go
into technical details very quickly, something that has to be
done if an RRA survey of this type is to be successful.

There was also a bias in favour of resident people, which was
unfortunate as important people such as the travelling wood
traders were seldom interviewed. This would have helped with the
triangulation of results, but we found it impossible to plan for
interviewing itinerant traders when we were only in each location
for one day.

As the fieldwork was so intensive (10 locations in 10 days),
there was no time or energy for the fieldwork to be written up as
the work progressed. (This was not helped by the lack of a lap
top word processor which had been recommended by an experienced
RRA researcher but had been unobtainable/unaffordable.) However,
the information gathered from each location was always discussed,
and the resulting conclusions decided on and entered on the
diagrams before the next location was surveyed.

The two most important aspects of our information collation and
analysis activities were that:

* species preference results, interview details and fuelwood
price and measurement information were always collated and
numerically referenced in location-specific notebooks; and

* a fuelwood trading flow diagram was always drafted and
discussed before leaving a research location.

At the end of the fieldwork period these rough notes and diagrams
were used immediately to provide the FAO Fuelwood Project with an
interim marketing strategy report. The (ten) notebooks were
brought back to Edinburgh to complete the written presentation
and graphics production.


The RRA survey reports produced for each location include:

* a brief description of the location;

* a plan of the study area showing where the team conducted
the research (except Freetown, where street names are
included), and what RRA techniques were used with which

* a diagrammatic and written analysis of the location's
fuelwood trading systems and the major participants. The
thickness of the arrow lines in the diagrams indicate
relative quantities of fuelwood flow in each location and
are not drawn to a universal scale (Figure 2). The three
sections are not titled in any of the diagrams as they vary
from location to location, depending on the information
gathered. However, in all cases the right column represents
the actual end use observations of the team; the middle
column the different trading systems observed by or reported
to the team; and the left hand column represents the
observed primary source or sometimes the reported initial
source (as far back in the trading system as could be
accurately determined, in other words).

a diagrammatic report of the pair ranking exercises in each
location. The criteria generated by the pair ranking
exercises are also illustrated, and the quantity of them is
used as an indicator of species knowledge.










of fuelwood

pair ranking

FIGURE 2 Example of a fuelwood trading flow diagram.

1 Fambul tik
2 Plum tik
3 Black tumbla
4 Mangrove
5 Spice tik
6 Monkey apple







* a list, in expanded note form, of socio-ecological issues
relating to fuelwood collection, trading and use.

* a brief summary of local fuelwood marketing best bets.

The standardised reports were presented in alphabetical order,
ie, there was no classification of locations according to size or
their main economic activity. This was done deliberately to
maintain the important location specific information gathering
and analysis nature of an RRA survey. To report objectively on
the situation in each specific location gives the desired and
necessary emphasis on differences in local forestry technical
knowledge. To amalgamate, aggregate and average the results
according to whether they are large or small population, or
"farming communities", etc nullifies the importance of the often
subtle variations of information gathered. If the decision
maker/project managers want to use the information collected to
make decisions regarding specific policy planning issues
affecting wider, regional areas, then further analysis may be

Additionally, and importantly, if the location reports are kept
as free standing documents they can be used in the same location
as discussion papers with local people to check and/or update the
results in the future.


The final results of the formal statistical survey were not
available, as they had still not been produced in report form at
the beginning of August (4 months after the questionnaire
fieldwork). However, using a tabulated summary of the results
produced by the fuelwood project, obtained from the fuelwood
species preference question in the questionnaire (Question 33 out
of a total of 278), it was possible to compare the results.

There are subtle variations in the results for some of the
locations, and a wide discrepancy for one of the major fuelwood
using communities, Tombo. According to the questionnaire survey,
Tombo has a very low level of species preference. The RRA survey
found it to have the highest. Also, the most preferred species
according to the questionnaire results did not appear in the top
three species according to the species preference ranking of the
RRA exercise. More alarmingly, this species, which was also top
in a previous questionnaire survey (1986), is not mentioned at
all in the 1990 formal survey results.

Again, from the results of the formal questionnaire survey's
fuelwood marketing questions, there are subtle variations in the
results for all the locations, and a wide discrepancy for one of
the locations, Songo. The RRA survey for Songo clearly shows a
well organised fuelwood trading system satisfying both local and
external (urban) demands, operated by eight local static traders.
However, the tabulated questionnaire results indicate that there

are no fuelwood sellers at all in Songo! This is despite the
same questionnaire survey producing a result which indicates that
75% of the community buy fuelwood.


Whilst perhaps not a role model for a participatory approach to
planning social forestry activities (this particular project was
too far gone down a technical blind alley for that), the RRA
survey generated useful results that should help the project
management staff market the fuelwood they will be producing in an
efficient and locally appropriate way.

As a contribution to the RRA versus formal statistical surveys
debate, the comparison between the results obtained by the
different methods throws up interesting similarities and
differences. It could be argued that, backed up by the available
evidence, the two main variations described above indicate that
RRA is a far more appropriate and accurate way to collect socio-
economic and socio-ecological information for social forestry

In any case, as the analysis of the questionnaire results have
only just been produced the number of similarities in the
information collected definitely show that worthwhile information
can be collected and presented in a far shorter amount of time,
using fewer resources and enabling the respondents to enjoy a
professional chat about their livelihood or kitchen habits,
instead of being subjected to an intrusive 278 question
questionnaire by bored enumerators.


Mick Howes
Institute of Development Studies
University of Sussex
Falmer, Brighton BN1 9RE
United Kingdom

The Problem

The RRA show appears to be dominated by biologists and
geographers, who are good at explaining the relationships between
human activities and different aspects of the physical
environment, but weaker when it comes to exploring connections
between people themselves. These human relationships become
particularly important when we start to think about things like
participation or adaptive local level planning.

This note identifies what RRA already has to offer in this
respect, and asks whether we might be able to devise some new
diagrams, or borrow some old ones from anthropology, which could
extend the repertoire.

It is almost entirely speculative. None of the ideas have
actually been tested in the field; nor even discussed with anyone
else It also reflects my Asia bias, although I have tried to
draw on examples from other regions.

Economic Relationships

Let's start with economic relationships. Here we must presently
rely upon two devices which offer only hints of what might be
going on. The first is the stacked bar chart (Figure 1), which
shows how the composition of asset holdings changes as we move up
the economic hierarchy. The illustration here looks at different
types of land, but you will probably already be familiar with
other variations. These convey a sense of who might potentially
be able to participate directly in activities built around assets
of different kinds. The second device is wealth ranking, which
offers insights of a similar nature.

Neither bar charts nor wealth rankings say anything about the
relationships that might arise from differences in asset
holdings. Furthermore, they tell us little about the power which
certain people will enjoy as a result or the way in which that
power might be used to impose restrictions upon others.

We might, for example, have a situation where villagers with
little land of their own rely exclusively upon one relatively

7 Except Jenny McCracken, to whom I am grateful for some helpful

wealthy patron for all of their employment opportunities (Figure
2), and therefore have to listen very carefully to what that
person has to say about what they may or may not do. On the
other hand, poorer people may be able to tap multiple sources of
employment (Figure 3), in which case they are likely to enjoy
much more freedom of manoeuvre.

If we look not only at employment, but also consider sources of
credit or opportunities to secure the temporary use of land under
some form of tenancy arrangement, the same sort of possibilities
might arise (Figure 4). Poor clients may be locked into a highly
constrained "multi-stranded" relationship with one powerful
patron. Others may find themselves in a much more fluid set of
market relations.

Anthropologists are accustomed to drawing diagrams of these
kinds, but would it be possible for them to be used in a
participatory fashion? They would probably be very difficult to
do "cold", but perhaps coming after a wealth ranking they might
sometimes work quite well.

Social Relationships
RRA is also rather weak when it comes to social relationships8
The humble 'chapati' (Figure 5) has its uses, but still tells
only part of the story. By focusing on formal institutions, it
gives some sense of who is presently associated with whom, and
therefore of who might work together effectively in future. But
much more may be going on below the surface.

This takes us into the territory of informal or social
institutions, most of which are likely to take kinship as their
basic building blocks. A classic genealogy (Figure 6) will be
comprehensible to at least some village people and might work as
a device for eliciting information about the types of co-
operation which already operate at different levels in a system.
A more abstract formulation, with the same relationships
expressed through a series of concentric circles, might sometimes
be useful for purposes of presentation outside the village.

As in the earlier examples, it may be difficult to start with a
genealogy, but given the degree of overlap between social and
economic relationships, a discussion of the latter might itself
provide a good lead-in. So, too, could the wealth ranking.

It will also frequently be the case that key social relationships
will be reflected in the spatial configuration of communities.
Where this applies, a map, of the type of which is often already
produced (see Mascarenhas & Prem Kumar, this issue) might provide
a good starting point. It could also be used to create a better
picture of the resources controlled by different groups.

8 For a notable exception, see Robin Mearns on clans and disputes
in Papua New Guinea, RRA Notes 7, and Mehreen Hosain, this issue.




Figure 1. Stacked bar chart




II, % Each labourer (I)
works for only
one patron (*)

Figure 2. Patron-client labour relationships

Each labourer (I)
can work for
anybody else (0/m)

Figure 3. Market ba: d labour relations.



Multiple opportunities to
obtain work
credit-----, and land

Work, credit and land
must be obtained from
the single source

Figure 4. Single stranded and multiplex relations

Figure 5. The humble 'chapati'.

S IJ .

/- r


:i '

*i I

U Ag




I -I

I I I / .

I Mec.4-ISAM

Figure 6. Inclusion and exclusion through genealogies.

'< Aswr&

I1N\fORA 4t


Figure 7. Linking formal and informal institutions.



Once a picture of the underlying social relations has been
established, it might finally prove possible to link the informal
and formal together. The Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee
(BRAC) attempted something of this kind in their "Net" of
families showing function links, kinship links, marriage links
plus notes about who held positions of power in formal
institutions. Another option would be to turn the chapati on its
side (Figure 7). Then we could see who the formal institutions
really work for, and identify those whose interests may not be
reflected on this level at all.

This, and the preceding exercise, would only work where
populations were relatively stable. In urban settings, or in
rural areas affected by high levels of migration, there would
still be networks (as in the economic diagrams), but these would
be less likely to be attached to a base of traditional social

I haven't said anything about gender relations, although RRA is
weak in this area as well. I hope to contribute a piece on this
subject to RRA Notes soon.


Will the new diagrams be any use? They cover some potentially
sensitive topics, and there is a danger that people will express
a sense of what ought to be, rather than what actually is.
Verification will be more difficult than is usual in RRA, and
there may be a fine line between accuracy and intrusiveness.
Moreover, what works in one place may not readily transfer
elsewhere. Even if a good picture can be constructed we may not
end up knowing much more about what will work than what would
have "come out in the wash" in a community meeting. In spite of
all this, I think these approaches can be useful additions to our
present repertoire. Is there anybody willing to give them a try?


Antony C van der Loo
CFDA Coordinator Molepolole
c/o Danish Volunteer Service
PO Box 367


Most of the papers on Farming Systems Research and Extension
(FSR(E)) principles and methods stress the importance of high
quality human resources: a multi-disciplinary team of university
degree scholars with extensive experience in the subject matter.
What if they are not at hand? Should the idea of FSR(E) be
dropped altogether or can one introduce some useful FSR(E)
principles and methods into the working schedule of any extension
field worker and support him/her in this process?

Looking at it from another angle: can one expect to integrate
FSR(E) results in the working programme of a regular extension
service if its personnel isn't familiar with the basic philosophy
and concepts of FSR(E)?

This article describes the results of a workshop held in the Tete
Province of Mozambique in September 1989. The main objective
was of encouraging extension personnel from field level to
provincial level to integrate farmer reality into the extension
programme. It was based upon the assumption that new farmers'
groups will have to be approached in an open dialogical way which
supports their active participation and respects their knowledge
and values.

A Program of Topical Surveys

The workshop concentrated on the simple truth that "one has to
understand a situation before one can intervene in it", wi1 hout
denying that the consequences of a (careful) intervention *can
also contribute greatly to our understanding of a situation.
This meant that, although extension workers (EWs), and their
supervisors were encouraged to investigate farmers' reality, the
whole process was very much oriented towards action.

The methodology sought to disturb the existing working patterns
of EWs as little as possible. Hence their schedule d meetings and

9The workshop was devised and organised by the author of the
article, who worked at the National Training Institute for Rural
Development (CFA) in Mozambique at the time. A step-by-step
teaching guide is available in Portuguese (52pp).

farmer visits were the primary fora at which ideas were discussed
and actions planned.

EWs were asked to concentrate every month (or two months) on one
topic such as grain storage and pest control. The emphasis was
on gatheringg understanding" while executing their normal working
programme (Figure 1). A checklist of issues such as
conversation topics, observations, measurements, etc was used.
These activities were referred to as "topical surveys".

The approach integrates RESEARCH, TRAINING & EXTENSION at field level
Around 1 specific survey subject the following activities are executed:

Periodical meeting of Extension Workers, Extension Supervisors and Training Officers

Training activity for Exchange of Brainstorming Simulation of
Extension Worker + ,Kowedge + for survey + survey
by Training Officer a opinion checklist activities

Execution of survey activities:
Conversation (1 month)
during normal working program

Periodical meeting of Extension Workers, Extension Supervisors and Traiining Officers
Discussion of Preparation of
survey results
and possible solutions + meeting with farmers

Meeting of Extension Worker with interested farmers
Discussion ol Farmer training activity
and psible solutions + by Extension Worker
L- -r o o- a-e- -------- ------

Planning & realization of agreed activities

Figure 1. Overview of Extension Workers' working programme.

In periodical meetings with their fellow extension workers and
superiors, each recently completed topical survey was analysed
(description of encountered situation, definition, discussion of
alternatives, etc) and the next topical survey was prepared

10 Gathering understanding versus gathering information.



(training, discussion, making of checklists). The strategy
depended as much as possible on the extension workers' way of
perceiving reality, supporting them in their efforts to ask the
right questions. The results of these meetings were then used as
the bases for the discussions which the EWs would initiate on
return to their areas.

A reasonable depth of critical analysis was expected because the
free exchange of information and ideas between the extension
field workers was encouraged during the meetings, which were
facilitated by at least one senior officer.

Preparing the Workshop

It was crucial that all levels of the extension hierarchy in an
area to be selected participate in the exercise. We held to the
idea that there can be no real discussion between a farmer and an
EW if there is no communication within the extension service.
Besides, the integration of the approach could only be realized
with the support of the authorities up to at least provincial

Two case study sites were chosen at which the participants would
actually have to test the topical survey approach. These
concentrated on maize storage and maize stalk borer control, both
of which were identified as serious problems by farmers in the
selected area.

The First Week: Introduction of the Approach

Through informal group work, plenary discussion meetings, role
plays, field exercises and other exercises, the following
introductory programme was executed:

- basic extension philosophy,
- farmer attitude towards extension,
- farmer reality, following a systems approach,
- survey techniques.

Using the participants' work experience and knowledge of key
problem areas, the following interesting conclusions were

1. Farmers' knowledge is a critical resource we must
acknowledge, support and complement;

2. Extension workers can and should play an active role in
research; and

3. Only after acknowledging and understanding farmers' logic
can a more appropriate extension system be developed and

A "Farmer Activity Calendar" was designed which incorporated non-
agricultural activities, gender differences, etc. This turned
out to be a key tool for avoiding a narrow technical focus.
Based on the calendar, ideas for interesting survey topics and
short checklists for future surveys were generated.

The Second Week: Application of the Approach

The topical survey approach was tested in the selected study in
two different communities. Over 11-4 days in each case, the
following procedures were employed.

1. Theoretical and practical training of extension personnel on
the subject (2 provincial training officers (PTOs));

2. Discussion of EW's knowledge of the situation in the chosen
area and brainstorming to prepare checklist for future
survey (2 extension supervisors);

3. Simulation of survey activities (sampling, interviewing and
observing) at the Training Center (2);

4. Execution of a small quick survey in the area by teams of 2-
3 participants (1 EW);

5. Collection and discussion of survey results, bottle-necks,
alternative solutions and possible interventions (2 EWs
supported by 1 PTO);

6. Preparation of the meeting with the interviewed farmers and
other interested farmers (2 EWs);

This meeting consisted of the following:

presentation of survey data and conclusions in order to
stimulate a discussion with the farmers and verify
survey results;

a farmer training session whenever possible (normally
part of the training activity mentioned under 1, and
the activity which is of special value to the farmers);

presentation and analysis of practical solutions to the

7. The simulation of the meeting with the farmers at the
Training Center (2 PTOs);

11 The participants who were in charge of each lhase, as in the
real working situation, are noted in brackets. The idea that

8. Meeting with the farmers: discussion of survey results,
bottle-necks and possible solutions, plus a farmer training
activity by extension workers (2 EWs).

The Third Week: Integration of the Approach

The workshop aimed at changing the attitudes of extension
personnel towards farmers and stimulate them to investigate
farmer reality and integrate farmer opinion in the planning of
extension activities. It was realized that a two-week workshop
could not achieve this. Therefore, the last week was devoted to
the programming of a year's worth of topical surveys around a
number of specific themes by extension personnel (provincial,
district and field level).

Themes chosen included production, storage and marketing problems
identified by farmers as well as specific extension messages
which needed promoting. An example of the latter was the
"Planting in Rows Program": nobody could really explain why
farmers did not plant in rows. Here again the Farmer
Activities Calendar was used as a tool to avoid a narrow,
excessively technical focus. While these activities were
instituted on the ground, the provincial extension officers
planned the resource component needed for monitoring (people,
transport, money). Thus, at the end of the workshop, a year-long
programme of topical surveys could be presented to the Provincial
Agricultural Authorities for approval.

Results and Discussion

Extension personnel were most receptive to the idea that they
themselves can be instrumental in the research process, as well
as to the belief that farmers' knowledge is valuable to them.
During the survey there were moments when EWs discovered that
farmers were aware of phenomena they themselves had only learned
of at the training session (eg the effect of heavy rainfall on
maize borer damage). This contributed to their respect of farmer

Farmers, in turn, were very positive about the fact that, only
three days after a half-hour conversation with an extension

12The idea that arose during the preparation of the workshop was
that farmers refused to plant 1 maize plant per plant hole, as
recommended by the extension service, since they felt that
harvesting two maize cobs at an early stage and leaving 1-2
plants per plant hole for the final harvest, was more
advantageous in terms of shortening the period when food supply
was critical. This was a clear example where local extension
objective (higher yield) and farmers' objective (security food)
did not coincide and led to misunderstanding.

worker, a possible solution to their problem was presented and
discussed. Farmers participated actively in the evaluation of
alternative solutions.

Based upon the results of the topical surveys, a demonstration
was given at the Tete Workshop of a method to combat the maize
borer by mixing a small quantity of cypermethrin with sand and
applying this mixture in the funnel of the maize plant after
detection of "windows" caused by young larvas in the upper
leaves, then repeating the treatment after a two-week interval
(normally 3 and 5 weeks after planting). It was received with
enthusiasm by the farmers.

The farmer training session about the life cycle of the maize
stalk borer, which was developed by 2 EWs for the workshop, was
also successful. Farmers knew the "different" insects and were
very much taken by the idea that they were one and the same
animal at different stages of development. Their reaction
boosted the morale of the EWs, who were glad to impress the
farmers. At these moments, it was stressed to the EWs that they
were able to capture the farmers' genuine interest because of the
genuine interest they took in the farmers' problems. It was then
that the EWs discovered that knowledge was not a fancy idea, but
a pool of ideas and strategies from which they could draw to
improve their own work.

The three month interval between the selection of the area and
case-study topics and the beginning of the course, was used to
build three different types of locally used granaries. EWs
participated in the construction of a fourth, improved granary
which was later presented to the farmers (The main storage
problems being rats and weevils). This granary was presented to
the farmers as an alternative and it was stressed that, if
interested, they could participate in a trial comparing
production losses in the four models.

In order to avoid the entrance of rats in the improved granary,
rat guards were prepared by the participants using various
materials. One provincial training officer remarked: "I always
tell them (the EWs) to use rat guards but I didn't know it was so
difficult to make one". Farmers were very definite in their
rejection of six out of seven funnel models, then demonstrated
that they were very much at ease in direct discussions with EWs
and not meekly accepting the suggestions that were put forward.
In the end, a more appropriate alternative was produced combining
farmers' and EWs' ideas.

As mentioned, these workshops were only the first step in a
process which aims to bridge the gap between research and
extension: not by bringing the researcher closer to farming and
extension, but by bringing the extension worker closer to the

It is clear that the extension personnel need strong assistance
from people who have an FSR(E) background and it is also clear

that analysis can be slower and possibly not as comprehensive as
more research-oriented FSR work. In particular, the EWs need a
lot of support in asking the right questions. It must be
remembered, however, that the development and implementation of a
new approach by an extension service is a long-term investment
which can produce a lot of positive benefits in the years to

It should be noted that prior to a workshop, a general survey
must indicate more clearly what the suitable topics for a
"programme of topical surveys" might entail. In this experience,
a quick meeting with farmers and extension workers mainly came up
with two critical topics for the initial case studies, but did
not provide enough insights to assist EWs in selecting the topics
for their year programme.

More activities will have to be developed in order to achieve the
earlier mentioned goals. More s: ?cific RRA techniques such as
direct matrix ranking could be included. Village teachers,
health workers and other key individuals could be asked to
participate in the workshop in order to improve the analysis of
the selected area. Further it may be necessary to repeat the
workshop in different locations and at different times of the
year to see how easily it can be adapted to fit different socio-
economic and agro-ecological conditions.

Clearly, it is not only necessary for scientists to conduct their
research with the direct involvement of farmers, but also for
extension personnel to participate directly in those research
activities. Both processes can have a positive influence on a
more dynamic farmer-extension worker relationship.


1. The first issue of the "Qualitative Research Methods
Newsletter" was published in March 1991 by the Department of
Health Services Studies of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences
in Bombay. It is funded by the Ford Foundation. The goal of The
Newsletter is to contribute to the development of an Indian body
of knowledge in qualitative research methodology in the social
and health sciences. The first issue contains articles on using
qualitative research methods by Baroda Citizens Council,
experiences in free listing and pile sorting, manual coding of
field data, ideas for research on women's health, exploratory
ethno-entomology and sections on profiles of participating
institutions and a computer corner. This is clearly a valuable
and timely contribution. Please write to the editors Annie
George and Surinder Jaiswal, at the Tata Institute of Social
Services, PO Box 8313, Deonar, Bombay 400 088, India, to receive
free mailings.

2. Experiences on Wealth Ranking: Barbara Grandin of Rutgers
University is compiling a review of experiences on wealth ranking
from around the world. If you have used one or more of the range
of wealth ranking methods, she would be very grateful to hear
details of your experience. How did you use it? What were the
successes? What were the problems? What are the details of
innovations in process?

Please write directly to Barbara or to IIED:

Barbara Grandin
Department of Human Ecology
Cook College
Rutgers University
New Brunswick
New Jersey 08903 0231

Many thanks.


RRA Notes 1: June 1988

1. RRA Methods Workshop in Thailand Jules Pretty
2. Notes of an RRA Meeting held in Sussex Robert Chambers
3. Pairwise Ranking in Ethiopia Gordon Conway
4. Direct Matrix Ranking in Kenya and Robert Chambers
West Bengal
5. Recent Publications Jennifer McCracken

RRA Notes 2: October 1988

1. Using RRA to Formulate a Village Resources Charity Kabutha
Management Plan, Mbusanyi, Kenya and Richard Ford
2. Learning About Wealth: An example from Ian Scoones
3. Investigating Poverty: An example from Sheila Smith
Tanzania and John Sender

RRA Notes 3: December 1988

1. Ranking of Browse Species by Cattlekeepers Wolfgang Bayer
in Nigeria
2. Direct Matrix Ranking in Papua New Guinea Robin Mearns
3. Sustainability Analysis Iain Craig
4. Oral Histories and Local Calendars Robin Mearns
5. Portraits and Stories Jules Pretty
6. Bibiliographic Notes

RRA Notes 4: February 1989

1. Wealth Ranking in a Caste Area of Ruth Grosvenor-Alsop
2. Popular Theatre through Video in Keith Anderson
Costa Rica
3. Participatory RRA in Gujarat Jennifer McCracken
4. Successful Networking!
5. Distribution List

RRA Notes 5: May 1989

1. Letter to the Editor Barbara Grandin
2. The "Fertiliser Bush" Game: Kristin Cashman
A Participatory Means of Communication
3. Rapid Appraisal for Fuelwood Planning John Soussan
in Nepal & Els Gevers

4. Rapid Food Security Assessment: Simon Maxwell
A Pilot Exercise in Sudan
5. RRA Has a Role to Play in Developed Peter Ampt &
Countries Raymond Ison

RRA Notes 6: June 1989

1. Rapid Assessment of Artisanal Systems:
A Case Study of Rural Carpentry
Enterprises in Zimbabwe
2. The Rural Rides of William Cobbett:
RRA and Sustainable Agriculture in 1820s
3. A Note on the Use of Aerial Photographs
for Land Use Planning on a Settlement
Site in Ethiopia
4. Using Rapid Rural Appraisal for Project
Identification: Report on a training
exercise in Jama'are Local Government
Area, Bauchi State, Northern Nigeria
5. Visualising Group Discussions with
Impromptu Cartoons
6. The Use of Community Theatre in
Project Evaluation: An
Experiment from Zimbabwe Simi

Godfrey Cromwell

Jules Pretty

Dick Sandford

Michael Hubbard

Ueli Scheuermeier

Andrea Cornwall,
Mathou Chakavanda,
bisai Makumbirofa,
Guilter Shumba &
Abraham Mawere

RRA Notes 7: September 1989

Special issue of proceedings of second joint IDS/IIED RRA Review
Workshop, Sussex, England. Includes summaries of presented
papers on topics of diagrams, aerial photographs, interviews and
groups, ranking, health, participatory approaches, and monitoring
and evaluation. Also includes notes on discussions of these
topics, plus the ideology of RRA, the dangers of RRA, training in
RRA, and the future of RRA.

RRA Notes 8: January 1990

1. Nutrition and RRA Judith Appleton
2. The Use of Wealth Ranking in Nutrition Helen Young
Surveys in Sudan
3. The Role of Community Participants in Dessalegn Debebe
RRA Methods in Ethiopia
4. Attitudes to Income-Earning Opportunities: Simon Maxwell
Report of a Ranking Exercise in Ethiopia
5. Economic Classification of a Community Parmesh Shah
Using Locally Generated Criteria
6. Publications: Manuals and Guidelines Jennifer McCracken

RRA Notes 9: August 1990

1. Wealth Ranking: A Method to
Identify the Poorest
2. Rapid Rural Appraisal: Lessons
Learnt from Experiences in the

Verona Groverman

Victoria Ortega-Espaldon
and Leonardo Florece

3. Some Techniques for Rapid Rural
Appraisal of Artisanal Infrastructures
4. Hearing Aids for Interviewing

5. Participatory Rural Appraisal: Is it
Culturally Neutral?
Thoughts from a PRA in Guinea-Bissau

Godfrey Cromwell

John Mitchell and
Hugo Slim
Weyman Fussell

RRA Notes 10: February 1991

1. Farmer Participation on On-Farm Varietal
Trials: Multilocational Testing under
Resource Poor Conditions

2. Rural Development in the Highlands of
North America: The Highlander Economic
Education Project

The women of
Pastapur, &
Michel Pimbert

John Gaventa &
Helen Lewis

3. Assessing Women's Needs in Gaza Using Heather Grady,
Participatory Rapid Appraisal Amal Abu Daqqa, Fadwa
Techniques Hassanein, Fatma Soboh,
Itimad Muhana, Maysoon Louzon,
Noha el-Beheisi, Rawhiya Fayyad,
Salwa el-Tibi and Joachim Theis

4. The Bias of Interviewing

5. The Outsider Effect

6. Focussing Formal Surveys in Thailand:
A Use for Rapid Rural Appraisal

John Mitchell &
Hugo Slim

Ueli Scheuermeier

Karen Ehlers &
Christine Martins

RRA Notes 11: May 1991

Special issue of proceedings of joint IIED and Development
Administration Group (University of Birmingham), Local Level
Adaptive Planning Workshop, London. Includes a summary of
workshop presentations and discussions (Jules Pretty and Ian
Scoones) and 15 individual papers covering five thematic areas,
namely: A Critique of Landuse Planning (Barry Dalal-Clayton,
Adrian Wood); Applications of Participatory Planning Approaches
(Tony Gibson, Margie Buchanan Smith and Susanna Davies, Chris
Roche, Melissa Leach); Institutionalising Local Level Planning
(Donald Curtis, Robin Grimble, Martin Adams, Mary Tiffin, Henri
Roggeri, Robert Leurs, Mal Jumare, A Andeley and S Ogede);
Governments and NGOs Linkages (Kate Wellard, Tony Bebbington);
and Organisational and Management Issues (Alan Fowler).

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