Voices for Change: Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation in China

Voices for Change: Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation in China

Voices for Change: Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation in China

Voices for Change: Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation in China

Synopsis

The new and powerful methodology of participatory monitoring and evaluation (PM&E) is gaining wide use among international development agencies and research institutions around the world. PM&E brings together both researchers and stakeholders, such as farmers, government officials, and extension workers, to monitor and assess development activities.

This book is the first to reflect upon the introduction, implementation, and assessment of a PM&E training program. It documents a PM&E training process in Yunnan and Guizhou provinces, China, illustrating how this strategy can strengthen the learning and accountability of research teams and, consequently, the effectiveness of their research work. Using concrete examples, this book shows that it is not only what is being assessed that matters, but also who is doing the assessment and for whom the assessments are intended. It also makes a valuable and unique contribution to our understanding of how different concerns and interests are represented and negotiated in a research process.

Excerpt

This volume presents a remarkably compelling and frank account of the most recent of a series of actions undertaken over the last decade by scientists in southwest China to integrate the concerns and work of rural men and women into applied research and development to alleviate poverty. These chapters describe and assess the first efforts in China to incorporate participatory monitoring and evaluation into actual project cycles. the “ learning by doing ” training approach brought about a partnership between researchers, project area farmers, extensionists, and local government officials to systematically monitor and assess the relevance and performance of project work. This strengthened farmer participation in the work and, in Guizhou, led to the introduction of selfmonitoring mechanisms for the management of local water resources by farmers. These efforts also deepened the understanding of researchers and local officials of how the various interests and concerns of poor rural men and women are represented and negotiated in research and development work. Not only what is assessed matters, but also who does the assessment. This, in turn, has strengthened the learning, accountability, and effectiveness of the teams’ efforts.

By the late 1980s, a new generation of southwest Chinese scientists had come of age professionally. However, they were increasingly frustrated by the enormous gulf that lay between official accounts of rural conditions and progress in reform-era China and real life in multi-ethnic mountain communities in Yunnan and Guizhou. At provincial levels, most government analyses of rural poverty and development relied, at best, on idiosyncratic interviews of countylevel officials, the tired and problematic standby of traditional Chinese statecraft — “ seeing flowers from horseback. “ Most agricultural station research was solely production oriented, often without regard to even basic concerns about socioeconomic or environmental appropriateness to lowland Han farmers in central China, much less to the complex, multitiered, and multi-ethnic mountain ecologies and social systems of the headlands of the great rivers of . . .

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