Front Cover
 Contents and Editorial
 Farmer participation in on-farm...
 Rural development in the highlands...
 Assessing women's needs in Gaza...
 The bias of interviews
 The outsider effect
 Focussing formal surveys in Thailand:...
 Contents of RRA notes backcopi...
 Back Cover

Title: RRA notes
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00089570/00012
 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: February 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: VID00012
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
        Page 1
    Contents and Editorial
        Page 2
    Farmer participation in on-farm varietal trails: Multilocational testing under resource-poor conditions
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Rural development in the highlands of North America: The highlander economic education project
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
    Assessing women's needs in Gaza using participatory rapid appraisal techniques
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 13a
        Page 14
        Page 14a
        Page 14b
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
    The bias of interviews
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
    The outsider effect
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
    Focussing formal surveys in Thailand: A use for rapid rural appraisal
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
    Contents of RRA notes backcopies
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
    Back Cover
        Page 35
Full Text

RRA Notes

Number 10




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:

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. 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 John Mitchell &
Hugo Slim

5. The Outsider Effect Ueli Scheuermeier

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

Karen Ehlers &
Christine Martins

7. List of contents of RRA Notes
issues 1-9


With this tenth issue of RRA Notes you will find enclosed a 2
page Readership Survey. Some 60 articles covering RRA and
related activities in 23 countries have been published. About
1000 copies of each issue are currently sent out to 65 countries.
But we are concerned to better this service.

We would be very grateful if readers would take a few moments to
complete the readership survey and return it to IIED. We plan to
publish the results in a future issue.


In 1989-90, the performance of 4 pigeonpea genotypes resistant to
Helicoverpa armiqera ICPL 84060, ICPL 332, ICPL 87088, and ICPL
87089 were evaluated in on-farm trials in Medak district, Andhra
Pradesh, India. In this part of Andhra Pradesh, 50 to 80% of the
pigeonpea's pod production is commonly lost to this pest every

Forty marginal farmers from 16 villages were asked to grow the
genotypes on large plots (0.2 -2.5 ha) using their own management
practices, and to compare them with local pigeonpea cultivars
belonging to the same maturity group (medium duration).

Participatory rural appraisal (PRA) methods were used to elicit
criteria for comparisons from farmers in semi-structured
interviews. All participants were women farmers who play a
central role in fuelwood collection and in all aspects of food
production, preparation and storage. The PRA methods used were
pairwise ranking and direct matrix ranking in the context of
semi-structured interviews involving groups of 10-15 women. The
outsiders were 4 staff members of the Deccan Development Society
and one ICRISAT scientist, and, when shooting the video film
sequences, 5 other people (cameraman, director etc). There were
several important discussion periods at different times in the
agricultural cycle:

a) Prior to planting: Pest diagnosis and matching the farmer's
landraces with improved pest resistant material (3 days)
b) Harvest time: Preliminary assessments, farm walks (3 days)
c) Post harvest evaluation: Semi-structured interviews,
quantification and ranking techniques, triangulation (6

Throughout the project period NGO staff did provide advice when
asked by women farmers.

The range of criteria normally used by ICRISAT scientists are:
days to maturity, grain yield, seed size, seed colour, plant
height, pest resistance and grain quality (protein content,
cooking time). Twelve criteria were identified and used to rank
the genotypes in order of preference by use of the direct matrix
ranking method. By relying on a range of informants in different
villages, farmers' evaluations could be cross-checked by
triangulation. The criteria were:

o height of plant and ability to intercrop
o flower production (flushes)
o young pod production
o pod production
o pod filling

o pest damage by the pod borer
o grain yield
o wood biomass
o quality of wood for palissade and other constructions
o taste of grain
o storability
o grain price on local market

All ICRISAT lines supplied to farmers did better than local
cultivars in terms of yield, reduced pest damage, and other
agronomic characteristics in the harsh environment of Medak
District. Based on their own 12 criteria of evaluation, farmers
ranked the genotypes in the following order of preference: ICPL
87089, ICPL 87088, ICPL 84060, and ICPL 332. Local varieties
were all severely attacked by H. armigera (55-75% pod damage) and
yielded less than ICRISAT lines. Farmers expressed their strong
attachment to their land races which are white seeded types (all
ICRISAT material was brown seed and thus fetched a slightly
lower price on the market). Taste of whole grain was a
particularly important criteria along with wood production and
price of grain on the local market.

Pair-wise Ranking (Pigeonpea preferences)

Local Improved
(ICPL 84060)

Leaf production 4 6

Flower production 3 7
(but much flower

Pod production 6 4

Pod filling 6 4

Pod borer damage
(pest susceptibility) 7 3

Seed yield 6 4

Taste 3 7

Wood production and quality 3 7

Market price 7 3

Storability 5 5

Village: Metlakunta, Medak district, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Note: higher figure represents greater preference.

Matrix Ranking (Pigeonpea preferences)

Local ICPL 84060 ICPL 332

Leaf production 3 1 2

Flower production 3 1 2

Green pod production 3 2 1

Pod filling 3 1 2

Pest resistance 3 2(1) 1

Seed yield 3 2 1

Taste 2 1 3

Wood production and quality 3 1 2

Market price 1 2 2

Storing 1 1 1

If only one available 1 1 3
(reject on
account of poor
seed taste)

Villages: Ibrahimpur, Hoti-B, Metlakunta, Nagwar, Medak
District, Andhra Pradesh

Note: 1 = most preferred variety, 3 = least preferred

Note: Women farmers would like to grow both ICPL 84060 and the
local variety next year. Local variety would be sold in
the market and improved variety eaten locally. Risk
minimizing in face of uncertain environment was another
reason given for broadening the genetic basis of their
production system.

Interestingly, ICPL 332, which was officially released by the
State of Andhra Pradesh in 1989 on the basis of trials carried
out with male farmers in better endowed areas scored well on
all-agronomic criteria but was down-graded on account of its
bitter-seed taste. Women farmers indicated that they would not
grow this variety next year even though it yielded more grain and
was less damaged by H. armigera than local varieties. Data
obtained (Table 1) from one of the large plots is typical of
other situations where on-farm trials were arranged by the
farmers. This result suggests that varieties identified for
release in coastal Andhra Pradesh (A.P) are not necessarily
acceptable to resource poor farming communities in the Telangana
region of A.P. where Medak District is located. The diversity
of situations in risk-prone, complex dryland environments
probably calls for a mosaic of improved varieties rather than a
standardised technology (eg variety) for all locations.

The 40 farmers involved in this participatory rural appraisal
felt that the other three Helicoverpa resistant lines were
acceptable within their context. The assessments provided by
women farmers, and the data obtained at ICRISAT under controlled
conditions (Table 2), therefore suggest that at least three other
Helicoverpa resistant pigeonpea genotypes could be considered for
official release in Andhra Pradesh.

Table 1 Comparison of ICPL 332 (Helicoverpa tolerant variety of
pigeonpea) with the local variety at Pastapur, Medak
District, A.P, during the growing season of 1989/90.

Pigeonpea No. of Borer Pod fly Hymenoptera Total Sample
genotypes pods/ damage damage damage insect yield
plant (30 (%)* (%) (%) damage (g)/
plants) (%) plant

Local 72 66.5 9.9 1.5 70.9 9.5
ICPL 332 204 41.3 25.4 15.5 57.3 26.6

S.Em +. 14.1 1.71 0.71 0.73 1.85 2.64
LSD at 5% 40.8 5.0 2.06 2.1 5.4 7.6

*Arcsin transformations were used for analysis
*Arcsin transformations were used for analysis

Table 2. Percentage pod damage by H. armigera and grain yield of
four pest resistant genotypes and two controls under
insecticide-free conditions at ICRISAT Center, Patancheru,
A.P, India, 1985-1988 (Personal communication Jain, K.C.,
Lateef, S.S. 1990).

Proportion of
pod damage by
H. armigera



Yield (kg/ha)



84060 87088













1365 1030

The Women of Sangams Pastapur, Medak, Andhra Pradesh and Michel
Pimbert, ICRISAT.

For further information and correspondence contact:

Michel Pimbert
Legumes Entomology Unit
Hyderabad 502 324
Andhra Pradesh

BDN 1 C11




Recently, a series of economic reports have warned of growing
poverty and underemployment in the rural South (of the USA).
Rural areas are seeing plants close, as jobs move to newly
industrialized areas in the Third World where labour can be
provided more cheaply. The South, it is argued, can no longer
depend upon recruiting outside industry as its strategy for
development. Rather, we must turn to a policy that nurtures
development from within, that encourages and fosters community-
based organisation and enterprise as the solution to the needs of
rural communities.

While "development from within" is a good idea, the rural South
has had little experience from which to relate to it. Industrial
recruitment relied upon enterprising elites to bring in outside
industry and capital, which would in turn "create" development.
The role of the community was to make itself ready to receive and
serve business; to make community and worker interests
subservient to the needs of maintaining a favourable business
climate. Development was done to and for local communities, not
by the people themselves. If "development from within" is to
happen, communities need to develop a new literacy an economic
literacy which enables and empowers local citizens to analyse
their own economic problems and resources to develop solutions to
joblessness and poverty, and to gain the tangible skills they
need to make rural community-based development happen.

In 1984 the Highlander Center, a non-profit adult education
center in New Market, Tennessee, began to develop a program to
assist communities to gain the knowledge necessary to support
self-development. In the last two years, we have concentrated
our work in three rural communities: Dungannon, Virginia, in
conjunction with the Dungannon Development Commission; Jellico
Tennesse, in conjuction with the Mountain Women's Exchange; and
Ivanhoe, Virginia, in conjunction with the Ivanhoe Civic League.
The three communities have much in common: they are all rural,
poor, and in search of a new economic base. Local citizens'
groups led by low-income women have sprung up to create
alternatives for the community.

At each site, Highlander has worked over a period of time,
offering night classes ranging from 10 to 16 weeks in length and
providing other types of technical and educational support for
grassroots economic leadership development. Our role was not to
create jobs or development; rather it was to help the community
undertake a process of education and participatory research
through which they could assess their own situation, define and
implement strategies for themselves.

A number of methods were used, all of which are described more
fully in a series of publications available from Highlander. In
general, these methods emphasized the participation of community

members in researching, analyzing, valuing, and understanding
their current economic state. This participation was considered
vital to reversing the pattern of dependence on external economic
forces. A few of the activities included:

Oral Histories: In order to understand the current economic
crisis, people need to understand the changing patterns of work
and subsistence in the community. Academics gain this knowledge
from macroeconomic trends, changing economic base, etc.
Communities must seek this knowledge from within. Asking
questions of grandparents, parents, and peers about their work
and means of survival, and then charting those responses becomes
an excellent way of understanding broad economic changes through
people's own experiences.

Community Surveys: Rather than rely upon external definitions of
need, community participants developed their own needs assessment
survey and used it to interview several hundred people in each
community. The survey becomes a way of mobilizing the community
to discuss their economic conditions. Collective analysis of the
survey results also helps create a common language from which to
state and prioritize problems to be addressed.

Community Mapping and Drawings: Visual portrayals became an
important way for participants to describe current problems and
relationships in the community, as well as to articulate visions
for the future.

Decision-makers' Interviews: The process did not rely only on
community analysis. After beginning their own research on the
changing economy and on community needs, interviews were also
conducted with key local decision-makers-bankers, industry heads
and county planners. A prior process of "reclaiming" the
community knowledge about the economy was important, so that
people did not simply defer to an "expert diagnosis". In fact,
the community's definitions of needs contrasted so dramatically
with those of the power holders, that participants were then able
to understand why "official" bodies often failed to reflect their
own needs.

Videos and Readings: As people developed their own knowledge of
their local situation, educational materials about other
communities and trends were introduced. These included case
studies of community-based development elsewhere, study of census
data, videos on the global economic trends etc.

Brainstorming and Feasibility Studies: Participants brainstormed
projects which they thought would help meet the community needs.
They then developed internal feasibility studies, using the
knowledge and research gained from other activities.

Cultural Components: At the community level, economic knowledge
can not be separated from other ways of knowing. In Ivanhoe,
community theatre became a way of recapturing and sharing
knowledge about the community. In a very religious community,

study circles about what the Bible had to say about the economy
became another vehicle for analysing and understanding the
community, as well as for clarifying values and developing a
common vision of what should be done. Local cultures must be

In each of these settings the purpose of the project was to
reclaim knowledge and understanding of the economy in a way that
could enhance effective citizen participation and strategy-
development. In each setting, the education and research process
were only part of a number of other activities in the community,
so it is difficult to isolate the impact of this program alone.
But in each case the educational process helped to spark results
(which are still unfolding). Individual members of the community
have gained confidence, knowledge and skills that have, in turn,
contributed to action.

Perhaps these experiences give rise to a new understanding of the
"infrastructure" necessary for development. Traditional
development policy emphasizes the need for infrastructure
development in physical terms sewage systems, water and roads -
as a necessary precursor to industrial development. The
knowledge needed for development is "technical" in nature -
business plans, feasibility studies, and market research. As
important as these may be, case studies and experience suggest a
broader view, especially if one is interested in participatory
development. In the latter approach, the development of
"infrastructure" includes human development, an education for
creativity, regaining and understanding of popular knowledge and
history, democratic decision-making, and consciousness of
religious and political symbols. With this investment, people
can become better equipped to rebuild their own communities and

John Gaventa and Helen Lewis
Highlander Center
Route 3, Box 370
New Market TN 37820
U S A.



Save the Children Federation/US (SCF) has been implementing
development projects with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip
(Israeli-Occupied Territories) since 1978. Like many other
international and local NGOs, SCF found itself implementing
women's activities year after year without taking stock of
women's expressed needs and their own proposed solutions. A
better understanding of the interplay of social, economic,
cultural, ideological and political factors in Gaza was critical
to developing more appropriate strategies in response to women's
needs. As a result, Save the Children organised a Participatory
Rapid Appraisal (PRA) focusing on women in the Gaza Strip in
August 1990. The purpose was to understand the social and
economic roles of women better and to obtain more information to
improve women's projects. In addition, the PRA introduced women
in Gaza for the first time to participatory research techniques.


The Gaza Strip, a narrow strip of land on the Eastern
Mediterranean, has an estimated population of 750,000. It has
been under Israeli military occupation since 1967. The
Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank (total population about
1.7 million) have been engaged in the intifada, the uprising
against the military occupation, since December 1987.

The political, economic and military implications of the
occupation and the conditions of the uprising make development
work in the Gaza Strip a unique and extremely complex endeavour.
Implementing development projects with, and for, women in the
Gazan context poses many of the same challenges which face those
working in more traditional and less developed Muslim societies.
While women in Gaza have shared many of the gains made by urban
women in neighboring countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Syria,
in terms of mobility and participation in the 'public' sphere, a
resurgence of traditionalism in the last few years has taken away
many of the options women could once exercise. Yet while
prohibitions on dress and mobility have increased, women have
also played an active role in the intifada. It was in this
context that the women's needs assessment research was proposed.

The PRA fieldwork itself was done in two sites, Qarara and
Zeitoun. Qarara is located in the south of Gaza Strip, an area
of about 700 hectares of primarily agricultural land with a
population of about 15,000. The great majority of the local
population are landed farmers, with a lesser number of landless
refugees and some Bedouin families. Qarara is divided into
several relatively homogeneous family-based neighborhoods.

Zeitoun is a very densely-populated quarter of Gaza City. Its
area of 20 square kilometers is about one-quarter urban housing
and three-quarters agricultural land, with a population of
approximately 75,000. The current picture on the streets in most
parts of urban Zeitoun is one of squalid crowding; outsiders
would probably categorise much of it as an urban slum. The three
main populations include refugees, citizens whose families
inhabited Gaza before 1948, and a significant population of
Bedouin, who have abandoned their traditional migratory


Prior to conducting the PRA training and forming the research
team, secondary sources were reviewed, including books, journal
articles and unpublished documents on women in the Gaza Strip and
the West Bank. While informative, this review revealed a notable
lack of detailed and reliable data on women in Gaza. Afterwards,
semi-structured interviews with key informants in the West Bank
and Gaza guided PRA preparation and selection of the research
team and tools. The key informants included representatives of
women's committees engaged in productivity projects, academics
involved in development work with women, and businesspeople
promoting private women's industries. These interviews were very
helpful in framing the terms of reference for the research
itself, and highlighted the key issues related to women's
programme in Gaza, specifically:

* Should women be encouraged to move out of traditional
'women's activities' (eg. embroidery), or encouraged to
continue activities in which they already have experience?

* Should all development projects for women be collective, or
should organizations also encourage individual, home-based
activities, and why?

* What are the relative advantages and disadvantages of women-
only and mixed (men and women) development projects?

PRA Fieldwork

To approach the various topics and sub-topics, we reviewed the
range of existing RRA/PRA literature to select the most
appropriate methods from the "basket of tools". Semi-structured
interviewing of individual community women, groups and key
informants, review of secondary sources, and direct observation
were obvious choices.

Semi-structured interviews were carried out with about 50
individual women, several key informants, and a few groups of
women. The information from these interviews formed the core
results of the PRA.


Goal: To improve understanding of the social and economic
roles of women in Gaza.



Services and
Sources of



Making &


- national institutions
- UNRWA & external assistance
- mosques
- neighbors
- friends
- training centers
- preschools
- health clinics

SSIs with

SSIs with Key


SSIs with




- women's work opportunities x x
- women's activities x
- savings & assets x
- inheritance x
- income x
- household spending x x
- home production x
- household duties (daily routine) x
- family size & dependents x
- division of labor x

- training needs x x
- education & work history x x
- skills x x
- awareness of rights & potential x x
- level of education x x

- household duties x
- marriage x
- mobility x
- spending in the household x
- dress x
- child bearing x
- working x
- education x
- all institutions x x
- women's institutions x x
- women's aspirations x

I ---------------------------------I---------


- women's problems
- community problems
- family problems
- lack of confidence
- dress
- health
- occupation
- home life
- lack of facilities
- society & traditions



-- -








--I------------------ I -------------------------------------------- ------ I --------- -----------I---------I--------

Direct observation was critical in cross-checking data obtained
through interviews. A direct observation checklist was
completed by one team-member during each individual interview,
and included a section on perceived relationships among family
members which was important in analysing male-female dynamics in
the household.

We tried using the seasonal calendar but found it not very
relevant as women's lives did not vary enough seasonally to
warrant using a seasonal calendar. It appears that seasonal
calendars are more relevant for men's lives as their labour
patterns tend to change according to seasons more than those of
women. Seasonal calendars have become standard in male-focussed
PRAs, while in this women-focused PRA a tool examining
distribution of daily workload, for example, was found to be more
relevant (see daily routine section below).

Similarly, we experimented with a women's life cycle diagram, but
discarded it. It appeared that changes based on age were less
important than political developments, like the beginning of the
Israeli occupation (1967) and the intifada (1987), which were
much more significant and seemed to overshadow other regular

We created two new tools in response to the requirements of the
PRA. The first is a mobility map (see example), which was used
during each individual interview to determine where, why, and how
often women travelled. During the analysis stage these mobility
maps served as the basis for discussions about women's mobility
and allowed the team to produce a picture of where, and why,
women travel.

At the centre is the community itself, and at other points on the
map are other possible locations to which women might travel. Of
course, destinations not on the form could be written in. One
blank map was used for each individual woman interviewed. The
interview recorder noted destination, frequency and reason for
travel, and the cumulative maps included in the report summarise
the information (frequency of travel cannot be seen on the
cumulative maps but is explored in the PRA report narrative). We
were surprised by the relative lack of mobility of the women

We designed a second form for examining women's workload, the
daily routine diagram, which was used to assess the typical daily
pattern of women's lives in rural and urban areas. Like the
mobility map, the daily routine form was used during each
individual interview. While women's daily routine in rural
Qarara was fairly uniform, the pattern in urban Zeitoun was more
diverse. The major difference in women's daily routine depended
on whether or not they worked outside the home. The daily
routine form was useful in determining the burden of household
responsibilities and the appropriate schedule for future
community activities. It was also useful for cross-checking
women's information about their time use. For example, some

Qarara Women's Mobility Map

t^.. / ^-^

Gaza Strip
e-;; L

Mediterranean \


work -
health -----
visiting ---
shopping .***...

education +*4-





3 ..L R o u T"I E"

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CTy C o -1 N M A \ \ \W T' L o \\ \E


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p >L O 7 a n \\ \e \ R ( L o v / q \. \ \e


1 Ti FoR SELF REsr oR. RE cA AATnoJ

women said they did not engage in productive activities during
the interview questioning, but when completing the daily routine
form they mentioned that they sew clothing every afternoon.

The final report from the PRA ("Participatory Rapid Appraisal on
Women in the Gaza Strip", Oct 1990, available in English and
Arabic) provides results from the two areas of Qarara and Zeitoun
according to these categories: education; health; life in the
home and daily routine; agriculture; wealth, income and work
outside the home; decision-making and participation in the
community; and needs and problems.

Conclusions from the Research

Following the two-week field research, intensive analysis and
discussions resulted in conclusions and recommendations for each
of the areas, and comparisons between the two areas. It showed
the many similarities in the situations and lives of women in two
different kinds of communities in Gaza, and also highlighted
existing differences. Conducting the PRA in two distinct areas,
one urban and one rural, was critical because Gazan women's
lives, and the choices they can make, are determined by their
environment to a very great degree. The customs and traditions
in rural areas like Qarara are strong enough to ensure a slow
pace of change in women's roles in society. In Zeitoun, a wider
and more complex variety of factors make the paths of women's
lives less predictable, but change and development continue to be
constrained. The summary sections of the report which follow
show the kind of information on women which a PRA team can

Education and Health

The quality of women's lives, as measured by indicators like
education and health, is relatively low in both Qarara and
Zeitoun. In Qarara, the political situation in the last few
years has thwarted any improvement in education for girls because
of fears for girls' safety while travelling far to school. The
educational level of girls in Zeitoun is better, and the dropout
rate for girls is low. This should have a notable positive and
lasting impact on the development of women in Zeitoun.

Health awareness is lower in Qarara, but more health problems are
apparent in Zeitoun. In Qarara, women and men have healthier
diets, rich in fresh foods and relatively low in refined foods.
Most of the women work in agriculture and their regiment includes
regular movement, while most of the women in Zeitoun lead very
sedentary lives without manual work or any kind of exercise.
Urban environmental problems in Zeitoun include overcrowding,
rubbish, sewage, and vehicle exhaust fumes, plus regular military
activity (tear gas, house raids, etc). These conditions
certainly contribute to common health problems such as high blood
pressure, respiratory problems including asthma, and

psychological disorders. Overall, while women's lives in Qarara
have become easier with the introduction of running water,
electricity and other modern conveniences, women's lives in
Zeitoun have become more difficult with increasing urbanisation.

Life in the Home and Daily Routine

In Qarara, household responsibilities are greater, because in
addition to cleaning the house and caring for children, women are
expected to contribute to agriculture and care for the household
animals. In Zeitoun, few women are expected to work in
agriculture or animal husbandry, even those whose families own
land. Qarara women also become wives and mothers earlier, and
take on full responsibilities as the 'woman of the house' at a
young age.

In Qarara, adult brothers are likely to set up separate
households, so their wives usually live in nuclear family
households. Family expectations come from their husbands and
sometimes their mothers-in-law, more than from other family
members. In Zeitoun, the extended family pattern is stronger and
a variety of older relatives, especially mothers-in-law and
uncles, exert control over women's lives. Their influence is
often stronger than that of the husband. In Qarara the husbands
were frequently at home during the individual interviews; in
Zeitoun the research team rarely encountered the women's

Work Outside the Home

Women in Zeitoun more frequently hold jobs outside the home than
women in Qarara. While some women in Zeitoun believe it is
forbidden for women to work outside the home, and some families
prevent their women from doing it, there is less control because
generally women's movement is less closely monitored than in
Qarara. In Qarara a woman leaving the home for her job every day
is very conspicuous. In Zeitoun a wider range of lifestyles is
tolerated, for both women and men. However, this varies by
neighbourhood in Zeitoun, and in some areas controlled heavily by
fundamentalist groups a woman is likely to be criticized by her
extended family and community for being active outside the home.

Although more women in Zeitoun work outside the home, women's
contributions to the household and community economy are less
than in rural areas like Qarara. Women's potential productivity
in urban areas like Zeitoun remains untapped to a large degree.

Decision-Making and Participation in the Community

Women in Zeitoun expect to share in most decisions made in their
lives and homes, whereas women in Qarara feel much more strongly
that they are on the receiving end of decisions. The girls and
women of Zeitoun have relatively more input into decisions about

education, marriage, childrearing, general family matters, and
mobility. But their participation in community life (the 'public
sphere') is still very limited. In both areas, attending
meetings, coordinating neighbourhood acitivites, or participating
in any communal activities (women-only or mixed) are extremely
rare. There are no indications that these kinds of activities
have increased since the beginning of the intifada. Indeed,
women are now more fearful of leaving their homes to participate
in activities in their communities.

Traditions are generally mentioned as the reasons why women may
not participate in an activity, but traditions are not consistent
throughout Gaza. For example, in Qarara it is considered
shameful for women to work in sewing factories away from their
neighborhoods, but completely acceptable for them to do
agricultural work. In Zeitoun it is shameful for women to engage
in agricultural work, but acceptable to work in sewing factories.
Many people also invoke religion as a reason preventing women
from certain activities, yet this too is inconsistent among
groups and areas.

In summary, the assumptions that women in urban areas of Gaza
have a higher standard of living, more control over their lives,
and contribute more to their communities, must be reexamined in
light of the information obtained through this PRA on women in
Gaza. Women in Qarara, unused to being approached by outsiders
at all, could nevertheless identify potential communal activities
in which they wanted to participate. Women in Zeitoun were less
able to conceptualise activities they and other women could do
to enhance their lives. The difference could be attributed to
greater community integration, such that Qarara women can more
readily imagine working together. It could also be that the
existence of development projects already undertaken by Save the
Children and other organizations in Qarara has exposed women
there to the concept of community-based projects.

A process of consciousness-raising and confidence-building will
be important in both communities. Approaches will differ, and
will have to be developed together with the different kinds of
women in these communities, including farming women, housewives,
professional women, and Bedouin women. These basic steps will be
crucial in any attempt to bring women more fully into the
development process in rural or urban areas of the Gaza Strip,
and are the necessary underpinning to helping women to reach
their potential in the home and community.

Lessons Learned

The women's PRA in Gaza generated the desired results in a
reasonably short time. Involving community members in the
research was an unqualified success. The research team being
composed almost entirely of women from Gaza greatly facilitated
the entering of the research team into the communities, and
created an instant atmosphere of trust between the interviewers

and the community. Furthermore, the two community members on the
research team were able greatly to accelerate the team's
understanding of the situation of local women, and they were able
to put the collected information into perspective.

The importance of community participation in PRA became apparent
when the team interviewed Bedouin women in Zeitoun. None of the
team members were familiar with the lifestyles of the Bedouin,
and there was an obvious distinction between the Bedouin
community women and the non-Bedouin research team. It turned out
to be much more difficult to interpret, generalise and analyse
the information gathered from the Bedouin than from other women.
This experience shows that women from the Bedouin community
should have been involved in the PRA research team. A PRA team
has to be aware of the main "communities" it will study, and
include representatives from each of these communities, before
setting out to collect information.

Although only two of the women in the research team had prior
experience in research methods, the intensive three-day training
on PRA at the beginning gave enough skills to all participants to
make a well-prepared team. Nevertheless, team members needed
coaching (by the trainer and each other) during most of the PRA
constantly to improve their PRA techniques. Because of the
flexibility of PRA, and the use of on-the-spot analysis, team
members could identify problems and quickly rectify them.

The most beneficial aspects of tools within this PRA were: the
mix of both individual and group interviews, the element of
surprise in the household interviews which allowed the research
team to meet women in natural situations, the reaching of all
socioeconomic levels within the communities, and the ability to
cross-check information through the use of different tools. One
member of the research team who was simultaneously involved in
traditional survey research noted two main benefits of PRA: the
ability to add questions during the interview and probe, and
direct observation as a cross-check to information obtained

Problems which arose during the PRA were:

* Too many women (sometimes four at a time) conducted the
interviews it would have been better to have two to three
team members in any one interview. The high number was
chosen because: more women received training and practice
in PRA techniques; a larger team helped overcome lack of
experience as members contributed distinct strengths; and in
the unpredictable climate of Gaza, with frequent curfews and
strikes, it lessened the risk of losing a 'critical mass' of
research team members.

The interview questions were not 'perfect'. Some interview
questions were unclear, especially for uneducated community
women. There was some repetition of questions, and not
enough questions which could uncover inaccuracies in

* Finally, PRA was found to be better suited to a rural area
with a small population where life among the community is
relatively homogeneous. In Zeitoun, the information from a
one-week PRA could not be as reliable or representative as
that obtained for Qarara. Either more time, or perhaps an
expanded methodology, would have elicited better results.

Heather Grady, Amal Abu Daqqa
Fadwa Hassanein, Fatma Soboh,
Itimad Muhana, Maysoon Louzon,
Noha el-Beheisi, Rawhiya Fayyad,
Salwa el-Tibi and Joachim Theis
Save the Children Federation
Gaza Strip
176 Omar El-Mukhtar St
P O Box 199, Gaza
Via Israel.


The 'informal interview' is a very accepted medium in our culture
but it is not so well understood in rural areas. People often
find it a very strange way to communicate. Their surprise at the
medium raises important questions about the 'informal interview'
which is central to many interviewing techniques such as the
semi-structured interview which is used in Rapid Rural Appraisal.

As a means of talking and listening to rural people, the informal
interview can be an important way of learning from rural people,
but one which needs to be better understood by its practitioners.
Apart from the many specific problems in interviewing we have
experienced an inherrent bias in the interview form itself. The
very act of interviewing often seems to assume two things; namely

questions always have answers;
these answers can be given briefly.

These assumptions create a bias in the interview as a means of
discussion and often work directly against the understanding
rural people have about questions, answers and the nature of
knowledge and information.

The Interview Format

Most rural people are accustomed to the simple dialogue, the
free-for-all conversation or the formal set-piece speech. The
medium of the short question and answer interview falls between
these three types and is often strange to many people, even
absurd. The fact that interviews are often carried out through
an interpreter obviously makes things doubly unusual.

Informal interviewing is therefore a difficult business.
Questions are often met with uncomprehending silence or with a
shrug or a chuckle as if to say 'how do you expect me to answer
that?' Answers to large questions like those about drought and
famine are usually not even attempted but are very naturally
referred to God. In our experience, the fact that one often does
not seem to be getting through to people in interviews seems to
be because the informal interview is often misunderstood by
practitioners and interviewees alike. As a means of
communication, it seems to have implicit assumptions which go
against the grain in rural people.

The Structural Bias of the Interview

There are two main structural biases in the informal interview -
both of which seem to come from western ideas about
answerabilityy' and brevity. First, the interview tends to
assume that answers to questions do usually exist and can be

given the idea that most questions are 'answerable'. Secondly,
if answers are offered, the fundamental momentum of an interview
is often towards a 'summing up' of issues rather than towards a
'talking through' of issues. Thus, interviews often have a
tendency to try and put things in a 'nutshell'.

1) Expecting Answers

The first bias which affects interviewing is the assumption of
answerabilityy'. Interviewers automatically expect answers to
their questions. However, whether answers are possible hinges on
people's idea of knowledge. This affects whether they think that
'answers' exist in the same way as we do and if they do exist,
can they be packaged up and spoken?

People we have talked to seem to have an idea of knowledge as
something very complex, something which one not only learns over
time but which is also handed down through time and through the
land. It is a mysterious thing which cannot be glibly
articulated in response to quick questions. They realize very
clearly that one cannot know everything and that the little one
does know cannot be uttered in a moment. Often the implication
is that if the interviewer wants to learn a little, he or she had
better stay around watching and living.

Questions are therefore considered to be big, open-ended things.
Answers and understanding are not expected to come quickly and
are not always assumed to be 'knowable' and speakablee'. The
wise person is often the silent person. 'Knowing' things is not
necessarily equated with speaking them and the existence of
answers is not taken for granted. Mystery, ignorance and the
superiority of God's knowledge are acceptable. 'Answerability'
is not always assumed. People often seem to live free from the
illusion that there are answers to every question and as a result
they find both the questionnaire and the informal interview a
rather curious exercise. The pressure to find 'answers', which
is implicit in the classic interview, is often not appropriate
when talking to rural people for whom many questions continue
unanswered, as mysteries or facts of life.

2) Nutshelling

The second cultural bias which can be implicit to an interview
concerns the idea of brevity. Western ideas often consider the
best answer to be the short answer. In our world of newspapers,
radio and TV, job interviews and exams we are totally accustomed
to the interview form. We are brought up with the habit of
individual questioning and quick answers. Many people are used
to having enormous questions fired at them in quick succession and
are trained to be ready with fast, well packaged 30 second
answers. The momentum of the great majority of media interviews
and exams is towards a 'summing up'. Most radio or TV interviews
which people listen to in the west are therefore driven by a
desire to encapsulate, to render simple and immediate. In our
culture, a wise person is a person who can talk and answer
questions in a brief and concise fashion.

In this way, interviews often aim to contract issues and to
simplify them rather than to explore their complexity. This
tendency is obvious in many interviews where pressing
interviewers want to interviewee to 'put the issues in a
nutshell' and encapsulate them for quicker, easier consumption.
In this way, interviewing can tend to 'shrink' issues. This
'nutshelling' pressure is often alien to people in rural Africa
where questions remain open, mystery is acceptable and brevity is
not a necessary virtue.


Recognition of the cultural bias of the interview is important in
good interviewing. Being aware of the unusual pressures it puts
on some rural people will make for better understanding.
Interviewers will not be so discouraged when they get no short
and direct answers or when issues are impossible to grasp
immediately. They should not be alarmed if they seem to be
'talking round' issues but should be prepared to follow the
course of the conversation and resist the temptations to make
people 'nutshell' issues or to force them to come up with
definite answers. Short, quick answers often give a veneer of
simplicity which glosses over a great deal of complexity. If we
are to be better listeners we must be patient and be aware of the
strange bias in our questioning and in our expectations.

John Mitchell & Hugo Slim
Rural Evaluations
P 0 Box 3
Cornwall PL35 OHX
United Kingdom.


RRA Notes 9 got me thinking, particularly the contribution by
Weyman Fussell. He raises a very important issue in his account
of PRA in Guinea Bissau: What is the role of "outsiders" in RRA,
and how can this role be acceptable to both "outsiders" and
"insiders"? I've become sensitive to this, as I've now
experienced RRA's both as an outsider (i.e. I was the expatriate
on the team) and as an insider (i.e. the RRA was done in my own
culture, with me having to translate between an outsider and my
own culture).

There always is this unasked and never answered question: What's
that foreign guy doing here? Why is he here? Consider the old
lady in front of her house being informally interviewed by some
members of an RRA-team. Of course it may be interesting for her
to discuss and explain about life in the village, maybe even
piling little cards into neat heaps (wealth ranking etc.). And
yes, maybe she even knows why precisely they're asking all those
questions and probing and prodding in a friendly manner: It's
because they're trying to find out what would make sense in
developing her village etc. and that foreigner must somehow be
in on it because obviously there must be some sort of "wisdom"or
knowledge coming from him. But still: Why is he here? What
makes him tick? How come he's interested in the problems of her
village, seeing he comes from such a far away place and going
back there again? I've always come away from such encounters
with an awkward feeling of voyeurism.

I'm glad Weyman Fusell writes that outsiders are agents of
change. And he's quite right in pointing out that they act on
the prevailing beliefs and values. I find his distinction
between the two quite useful. However, it's not really as clean-
cut as is suggested. The conclusion that "it is a proper role of
a change agent to engage in exchange of knowledge about
fundamental natural processes" does not include process of
decision-making in communities. Such social processes are also
fundamental, and just as important, and they border on the
values. Repeatedly I've been drawn into discussions on the way
we make our decisions in Switzerland (usually by colleagues on
RRA-teams), and there was no point in trying to evade them,
because they were right on the topic at hand.

Furthermore, I find there is an implicit assumption that
traditional values are always "good" and should not be
manipulated or "bulldozed". Certainly there always has to be
respect for the reasons why the local value-system developed.
However, we sometimes do run into trouble, e.g: the belief that
there are intrinsic differences between humans (due to karma),
leading to a caste-system whereby serfdom is explained well,
that's a bit hard to take for a European brought up on an
egalitarian background. Or: Psychic power being exerted to the
detriment of others in the community (black magic, etc.) is not
something to be taken lightly.

So what are we to do as outsiders whenever we're on an RRA (or
PRA for that matter)? Where does this lead to? The following
rather preliminary points come to mind:

a) I just don't see how outsiders can stay aloof from local
values. Outsiders must enter a process of interaction with the
insiders on both beliefs and values. Of course this interaction
has to be based on mutual respect. However, respect cannot mean
holding back with your own opinion. Holding back would lead to
voyeurism. My own opinion clearly stated as such and presented
as something up for debate may tell the lady in front of her
house what makes me tick, and it may get both of us thinking

b) My observation is that insiders are always puzzled at why an
outsider is around. Due to sheer politeness (and very often
bewilderment) they don't ask the hard questions: What the hell
are you doing here, and why do you think I should be answering
your questions? Making the role of the outsider explicit and
explaining it to insiders enhances trust enormously. However,
most outsiders I've come across (including myself) actively evade
and fudge on the reasons for their being around, often giving
technical or methodical reasons never personal reasons. It's
the personal reasons the lady in front of the house is wondering

c) Let's face it: outsiders always change local beliefs and
values. There's no point trying to avoid it. Besides, that's
what I would suggest is precisely what outsiders are for in an
RRA: ensure another perspective of the local situation from which
new insights into the system are gained by the insiders (new
"beliefs"), leading to new ideas as to what should be done (new

d) The decisions for action ultimately have to lie with the
insiders, as only they know the complexities of the local system
well enough. This accords with Weyman Fussell's "catalysing
development initiatives that are consistent with the felt needs
and values of a community". However, with c) in mind, one would
have to accept that these needs and values change due to the
outsider input.

e) Somehow outsiders have to learn that the problems and
chances of the village where the "lady in front of her house"
lives concern them personally too in some sort of way. This
personal concern (which should have nothing to do with any
helper-syndrome) is what makes outsiders credible to insiders as
real partners in getting on with a project, a program, an RRA.

f) What's an outsider, what's an insider? Here I was rambling
on the notion that outsider would mean an expatriate from another
culture. But obviously an urbanite would be an outsider in the
village, or even the neighbour would be the outsider in a
household. And besides, we're all insiders when it comes to
looking at things with a planet-wide perspective. So some

thought might have to go into the demarcation on outside-

I'm aware that here we're touching on very personal issues of
motivation and justification among the people who "do" RRA's, and
I know it's sometimes painful to confront these issues. Still, I
would be glad to hear from other RRA-practitioners how they cope
with the never expressed, but always present question: "What on
earth are you doing here? Why should I answer your questions?"
and maybe there are some who already have experience in
"coaching" outsiders: How do you translate the reason for the
presence of outsiders to local people?

Ueli Scheuermeier
Alexandraweg 34
3006 Bern


A key stage in formal surveys lies in the identification of the
topics to be explored. Commonly these increase in number, so
that the survey becomes too long and unwieldy. This article
describes the experience of a Centre for Advanced Training in
Agricultural Development (CATAD) team in focussing for a
formal survey. This process is defined as concentrating on those
aspects directly related to a core problem by identifying a
limited set of pertinent variables to be assessed, and by
identifying and using appropriate low cost data collection

The CATAD-team was requested by the Thai-German Highland
Development Programme (TG-HDP), a rural development project, to
prepare a survey for assessing key parameters of farms and the
distribution of different farm types in TG-HDP's project area Nam
Lang. To focus this survey we decided to use methods from the
RRA analytical toolkit.

The composition of the CATAD-team was made up according to
classical RRA-demands of interdisciplinarity: the 7 team members
and a team leader originated from the respective fields of
agronomy, plant production, animal production, regional planning,
geography, sociology and psychology. The full results of the
work are reported in Nagel et al (1989).

Location and Problem Setting

The Nam Lang area is situated in the North-West of Thailand close
to the border with Burma. The hilly landscape is partly
interrupted by steep slopes and rocky elevations. Different
ethnic groups traditionally conduct shifting cultivation, which
for centuries had been a well-adapted and sustainable farming
system. The production system was characterized by rice
cultivation for subsistence and opium cultivation for sale. But
increasing population pressure and the ban on poppy cultivation
has challenged the basis for this traditional production system.
To try to solve the resulting problems, TG-HDP introduced a
permanent agricultural system and different cash crops for

Since it is not known whether these recently developed extension
contents are fully compatible to the situation of each farming
household, the CATAD-team was asked to prepare a distribution
survey under the premise that it should be as time- and cost-
effective as possible. The survey results should then enable TG-
HDP to modify their extension concept according to different farm

1 CATAD is in the Technical University of Berlin


After a preparation in Berlin (1.5 months) and Thailand (2
weeks), the team conducted a 4 weeks' RRA in the Nam Lang area.
In the following 6 weeks we developed the Nam Lang survey design
parallel to a methodology for focussing formal surveys.

The following procedure was applied:

1. Definition of the core problem, output, purpose and users of
our study;

2. Definition of research topics and research questions;

3. Definition of relevant variables, indicators for these
variables, their respective survey units, data collection
methods for the indicators and formulation of items for the

4 Training of enumerators, pretest and finalisation of the Nam
Lang survey design;

5. Elaboration of a methodology for focussing formal surveys.

Step 1 aimed at the specification of our tasks, while Step 2
defined the fields of research in detail. Step 3 consisted of
the reduction into relevant variables and their further
operationalization into questionnaire items. This was done by
literature research, by consultation of resource persons as well
as by research during the field stay. The following example may
explain our concept from the definition of variables up to the
formulation of questionnaire items:
- variable: land under cultivation
- indicator: seed input per field in rai (local unit)
- survey unit: household
- data collection method: interview
- item: "How much rice seed did you use for this field?".

In Step 4, a training concept for the Nam Lang survey enumerators
was developed and tested, which was combined with a pretest
leading to the final survey design. By generalising our
experiences made during the Nam Lang survey preparation we
developed a guideline for focusing formal surveys (step 5),
which is the core part of our report.


4 mini-teams of 1-2 CATAD-members (1 natural, 1 social scientist)
with changing composition in course of the RRA plus 1 translator
each investigated different villages which met certain criteria
(e.g. ethnic group, duration of settlement, altitude, access to
market). After village stays of 3-4 days with different tasks,
all mini-teams met for 1-2 days to evaluate their findings.

After an area reconnaissance phase of 3 days, the tasks for the
first two village stays were to verify and define variables and
indicators and to identify survey units. The third village stay
aimed at testing data collection methods. During the fourth
village phase, items for the questionnaire were formulated and
tested in cooperation with TG-HDP trainers and enumerators.
Finally, the RRA-phase was evaluated.

Wealth Ranking

We used the wealth ranking method as described by Barbara Grandin
(1988) for the identification of indicators as well as for sample
stratification. It was quite a problem getting the names of the
village inhabitants since official Thai names and tribal names
were often mixed up. Some people did not know their Thai names,
and, thus, official lists of village inhabitants could hardly be
used. The list of names was produced during several meetings
with key informants. The names of the heads of households of
the village were then written on cards. Illiterate persons were
assisted by reading the respective names frequently. By using
the cards different persons (headman, a group of key informants,
village inhabitants met accidentally) were asked to divide the
households according to their wealth into different groups. The
number of piles varied between 3 and 7. The villagers' concepts
of wealth were analysed and different wealth indicators were
investigated (material of walls or roof of the house, possession
of livestock or luxury goods, the quantity of cooking oil used in
the kitchen, the number of shoes bought per adult per year, etc).

Due to the heterogenous stucture of the villages, no regional
wealth indicator could be identified. Within villages, farmers
use their income to a different degree for subsistence, savings,
input in agricultural goods or luxury expenditure. Wealth
indicators such as corrugated iron roofs can be the result of
wealth in the past, e.g. from income through poppy cultivation,
and are not necessarily indicators of present wealth.

Most importantly, the wealth ranking method proved to be an
excellent system for sample stratification members of different
wealth groups could easily be selected for interviews. Depending
on the purpose of the respective village stay (verification and
definition of variables andindicators, test of data collection
methods, etc) we selected one or more households of each pile for
interview. Per village stay, 3-10 households were interviewed.

Estimation of Field Size

The measurement of each single field cannot be done in the
context of a cost-effective survey. Several potential proxy-
indicators had been identified and tested during the RRA in order
to get a reasonably exact assessment of the field size:

1. Area in rai as stated by farmer;

2. Labour input for seeding in person-days per field multiplied
by a standard factor;

3. Yield per field multiplied by a standard factor;

4. Size of field as compared to reference fields;

5 Rice seed used per field multiplied by a village standard

The first three proposals had to be rejected due to an
unrealistic assessment of the size of the fields investigated,
while the fourth was rejected due to the difficulty in finding
suitable reference fields which are known by every farmer of the
village. The proxy-indicator for field size finally chosen was
the rice seed used multiplied by a standard factor of rice seed
input which has to be calculated on village average by measuring
6 fields and determining the average seed input per rai.

Physical Model for Slope Inclination

For estimating the slope inclination of fields we developed and
tested a special model. It consists of three parts: (1) the
ground, (2) a side which represents the farmer's field, and (3) a
side with a scale to determine the slope inclination (see
Figure). Side 2 and 3 of the model are joined to side 1 by
hinges. The farmer moves side 2 and indicates the slope of the
major part of the respective field. On side 3 the slope
inclination in percent can be read.

Several cross-checks proved that the assessment by the farmers
and the reality came sufficiently close, though there was a
tedency for the inclination of very steep fields to be
overestimated. We cannot explain why on very steep fields one
gets the impression that the field is steeper than it is just
by feeling uncomfortable (it's difficult to explain in words, we
hope you understand what we mean).

Step 1 Step 2

3as shown by

Step 3

Step 4


Our experiences indicate the importance of an adequate RRA-time
schedule. Documentation and analysis of the interviews took
more time than anticipated. So the missing time had to be
compensated for by sacrificing leisure time a practice not
necessarily to be recommended. A systematic documentation of the
results and the elaboration of proper evaluation sheets would
simplify the analysis.

Our experiences with the wealth ranking method used for indicator
identification showed the necessity of investigating the validity
of wealth indicators before their general application. Wealth
ranking during group interviews proved to be most effective -
lively discussions gave evidence on the villagers' points of view
unless a strong hierarchy prevented contributions of under-
privileged members of the community. Wealth ranking can be
conducted with illiterate persons if someone reads the cards.

Since it is generally quite difficult to meet "the poor", the
advantages of the wealth ranking method for sample
stratification are obvious with the help of the village
representatives the respective target population can be

Proxy-indicators for field size and slope inclination have to be
identified and tested under the respective conditions to find the
most suitable ones. In the Nam Lang area, the assessment of
field size by the rice seed input and of slope inclination by
using a model gave sufficient information. Exact definitions of
the terms used as "field" and the local measurement units have to
be made clear in advance.

In summary, the staff time was higher than usual for normal RRAs.
But our RRA had a different task when compared to "normal" RRAs:
the focussing of a survey which includes all steps from survey
preparation up to data analysis proposals. Our survey
preparation took more time than the final survey this was done
within 4 weeks. It is better to spend some more time in survey
preparation to limit the survey to its real needs than to do a
survey getting a lot of information which may not be relevant.
The really useful information arising from the questionnaire is -
as it was requested for by the project the quantitative data

Karen Ehlers & Christine Martins
C/o Scheel C/o TG-HDP
Erdmannstr. 11 P 0 Box 67
1000 Berlin 62 Chiang Mai 5000
FR Germany Thailand


Grandin, Barbara E., 1988: Wealth Ranking in Smallholder
Communities: A field manual. Intermediate Technology
Publications Ltd., London

Nagel, Uwe Jens, Karen Ehlers, Ralf Engelhardt, Burkhard Gnass,
Christine Martins, Bernd Schwenk, Ronald Siegmund, and Gerold
Wyrwal, 1989. Focussing Formal Surveys The Use of Rapid Rural
Appraisal for Designing a Survey in Nam Lang (Thailand); Verlag
Margraf, Berlin.


RRA Notes 1: June 1988

1. RRA Methods Workshop in Thailand
2. Notes of an RRA Meeting held in Sussex
3. Pairwise Ranking in Ethiopia
4. Direct Matrix Ranking in Kenya and
West Bengal
5. Recent Publications

Jules Pretty
Robert Chambers
Gordon Conway
Robert Chambers

Jennifer McCracken

RRA Notes 2: October 1988

1. Using RRA to Formulate a Village Resources
Management Plan, Mbusanyi, Kenya
2. Learning About Wealth: An example from
3. Investigating Poverty: An example from

Charity Kabutha
and Richard Ford
Ian Scoones

Sheila Smith
and John Sender

RRA Notes 3: December 1988

1. Ranking of Browse Species by Cattlekeepers
in Nigeria
2. Direct Matrix Ranking in Papua New Guinea
3. Sustainability Analysis
4. Oral Histories and Local Calendars
5. Portraits and Stories
6. Bibiliographic Notes

Wolfgang Bayer

Robin Mearns
Iain Craig
Robin Mearns
Jules Pretty

RRA Notes 4: February 1989

1. Wealth Ranking in a Caste Area of
2. Popular Theatre through Video in
Costa Rica
3. Participatory RRA in Gujarat
4. Successful Networking!
5. Distribution List

Ruth Grosvenor-Alsop

Keith Anderson

Jennifer McCracken

RRA Notes 5: May 1989

1. Letter to the Editor
2. The "Fertiliser Bush" Game:
A Participatory Means of Communication
3. Rapid Appraisal for Fuelwood Planning
in Nepal

4. Rapid Food Security Assessment:
A pilot exercise in Sudan
5. RRA Has a Role to Play in Developed

Barbara Grandin
Kristin Cashman

John Soussan
& Els Gevers

Simon Maxwell

Peter Ampt &
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 Sim]

Godfrey Cromwell

Jules Pretty

Dick Sandford

Michael Hubbard,

Jeli Scheuermeier

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

RRA Notes 7: September 1989

Special issue of proceedings of 2nd joint IDS/IIED RRA Reveiw
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

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