Participatory Research and Development for Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management: A Sourcebook - Vol. 1

By Julian Gonsalves; Thomas Becker et al. | Go to book overview

Volume Overview
Participatory research and development (PR&D) can be framed as “doing research and development work with people” instead of “doing research and development work for people”.If it is as simple as that, why then are we devoting an entire volume to overview, concept, approach and framework papers? As the papers in this volume point out, participatory approaches to research and development go beyond the traditional understanding of research and development in several key ways. Traditionally, research, extension and adoption of innovations have been understood as a pipeline, where researchers develop innovations, extension workers spread them and farmers adopt or reject them. This mental model of innovation is limited for a number of reasons and many of its limitations are highlighted in different papers of this volume.Participatory approaches, on the other hand, conceptualize farmers and their livelihoods at the center of the innovation process. Farmers have always developed and/or adapted innovations and new innovations need to be rooted in farmers’ natural, social and cultural reality in order to be useful. If research, advisory services and other organizations are to make a useful contribution to this innovation process, they need to relate much better to farmers’ reality than they have in the past. This requires some fundamental changes in the way these organizations and their staff understand their roles and responsibilities, and implies a whole range of conceptual consequences, structural adjustments and organizational changes. To really do research with farmers, it is not enough to learn and apply a few “participatory methods” in the field or to ask farmers for their opinions about a new technology. Unfortunately, most research organizations have been slow to tackle the more fundamental challenges like changing their concepts of what constitutes valid knowledge and how fruitful interaction between local and scientific knowledge systems can be framed.These and other conceptual issues are discussed in the papers of this first volume. You will find that the papers we have selected do not all reach the same conclusions. Different perceptions of PR&D exist and we offer them to you so that you can draw your own conclusions and decide for yourself which understanding is most useful for your work.The papers of this volume, Understanding Participatory Research and Development, are organized in four sections:
❑ Typologies and Concepts
❑ Approaches
❑ Participatory Technology Development
❑ Participatory Natural Resource Management

We hope you will find our selection thought-provoking and helpful for further developing your own understanding of participatory research and development.

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