Lessons from using participatory action research to enhance farmer-led research and extension in Southwestern Uganda uri icon

abstract

  • The linear model of technology generation and transfer from researcher to extensionist to farmers has been the dominant approach to improve agrarian livelihoods, with rural development failing to result in the impacts envisioned. There are problems with both generation of inappropriate technologies that are not suited to farming conditions or social circumstances, as well as weak links between research and extension. Information flows are poor and skill bases weak, while extension contacts with farmers are relatively sparse. Ineffective participation of the end user or â??clientâ?? at various stages in the process has limited farmersâ?? ability to proactively seek information and step up innovation. In Uganda, the government has initiated a public-private â??service deliveryâ?� system called the National Agriculture Advisory Services (NAADS) towards the end of 2001 which sought to reverse this supply- driven orientation by placing emphasis on farmer-demanded service delivery. Given its history of local involvement on a wide range of issues, AHI was chosen in late 2001 by the farmers to assist them in preparing proposals for service delivery for consideration by the NAADS program in Kabale District, southwestern Uganda. AHI used a articipatory action learning process to facilitate farmer groups in their institutional development process, encompassing community visioning and planning, strengthening group organizational dynamics, agroenterprise selection and skill-building for farmer forum members. Through farmer groups and farmer fora, communities are taking on new roles and expectations with enthusiasm, although competencies in group management, agroenterprise development and monitoring of the implementation processes are still needed. A coalition of research and development partners has been formed to strengthen local organization to enable farmers better â??ownâ?? the development process. The coalition has used participatory action research as a means of influencing and learning from the activities undertaken toward NAADSâ?? effective implementation in the District. This paper discusses preliminary outcomes from building farmersâ?? competencies and the use of participatory action research to learn from and further the NAADS program through action-based learning with various actors involved in â??organizing the demand sideâ?? of demand- driven development

publication date

  • 2006