Working towards an engagement turn to agricultural research in the Tonle Sap Biosphere, Cambodia uri icon

abstract

  • A new generation of agricultural research programs are embracing use of participation as a vehicle for achieving greater impact and supporting transformative change in complex social-ecological systems. In this paper, we share learning from use of participatory action research in the Tonle Sap biosphere in Cambodia, as the main implementing methodology within a large multi-partner agricultural research program. We describe the program's espoused approach to applying participatory methodologies focusing on co-ownership, equity and reflexivity with stakeholders throughout the research process. We then reflect upon our practice as we pursued initiatives to support increased income and nutrition outcomes for the poorest people in a diverse aquatic agricultural system characterized by inequality. We discuss the challenges and early successes of the process and share three enabling conditions that support a shift towards quality of participation in agricultural research: (1) focusing at the outset on a strengths-based mind-set, (2) staging a critical stance to progressively build equity in process and outcomes, and (3) institutionalizing reflexivity to facilitate ongoing learning.

publication date

  • 2017
  • 2017