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Isgren, Ellinor, 2012. Participatory agricultural development in practice : the case of the Nnindye project. Second cycle, A2E. Alnarp: SLU, Department of Work Science, Business Economics, and Environmental Psychology



Participatory development seeks to actively engage local people and communities in development
efforts, from problem identification to evaluation. The concept is, however, vaguely defined and
can in reality manifest itself in many different ways, with varying success in creating a sustained
impact. There are also a wide range of challenges involved due to the collaborative nature of the
approach. This thesis is a qualitative case study exploring the Nnindye project, a participatory
agricultural development project that is being carried out in Uganda. The overarching aim is to
explore the challenges involved in implementing the Nnindye project which can affect its capacity
to generate sustained agricultural development, and what lessons can be learned that might be
applicable to future projects in similar settings. To help answer this question, research questions
were developed focusing particularly on 1) the kind of participation the project enables, 2)
emerging issues that are important to address, 3) the relationship between farmers and “outsiders”
involved, 4) gender dimensions and 5) reasons not to participate. Literature from the fields of
participatory development and research, particularly experiences from Uganda, helped guide the
development of these research questions.
To address these research questions, semi-structured interviews were carried out with 80 farmers
in Nnindye parish (both participants and non-participants), sampled through a non-probability
sampling method. Additionally, 5 agricultural researchers familiar with using farmer participatory
approaches in other projects in Uganda were sampled through convenience sampling, and their
experiences and views were explored through semi-structured interviews. At the end of the study,
a final interview was carried out with one of the Nnindye project implementers.
As it turns out, participation in the project cannot be categorized. Respondents mainly identified
material benefits but also learning and other less tangible benefits. One's contribution was most
often seen as practical input, usually labor. Influence in the project was similarly commonly
perceived in practical terms rather than “political”. This material or pragmatic nature of
participation seen among some participants may suggest that more efforts are needed to
strengthen the learning process and community building capacity, but also tangible benefits can be
of great value in both short and long term. Luckily, one doesn't have to exclude the other.
Participant ownership of the process is something that is viewed by the project implementors as
central, and participants on numerous occasions expressed negative opinions towards past topdown
approaches. However, “ownership” must not mean lack of support. Dissatisfaction with the
group leadership and unfair distribution of benefits among the project members was discovered
and there is a need for more systematic monitoring and facilitation. The results overall show an
overwhelmingly positive attitude towards scientists and extension staff among the farmers, who
stated that they view these as very knowledgeable. This seemingly positive relationship is an asset
but it must be remembered that it is not static – negative experiences can jeopardize both the
current project and attitudes towards collaborative efforts and development in general. Gender
dimensions are important to consider in practically all aspects of a project, and gender awareness
is required among the implementers to ensure that the project benefits women and men alike. In
general, parallels could be drawn from the Nnindye project to the experiences of the researchers,
speaking for the usefulness of these findings to other academics and development practitioners.

Main title:Participatory agricultural development in practice
Subtitle:the case of the Nnindye project
Authors:Isgren, Ellinor
Supervisor:Hunter, Erik and Mwine, Julius
Examiner:Ekelund Axelson, Lena
Series:Självständigt arbete vid LTJ-fakulteten, SLU
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2012
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:LM005 Agroecology - Master's programme 120 HEC
Department:(LTJ, LTV) > Department of Work Science, Business Economics, and Environmental Psychology
Keywords:Agricultural development, Participatory, Stakeholder interaction, Gender, Process facilitation, Farmer groups, Matoke, Uganda
Permanent URL:
Subjects:Agriculture - General aspects
Deposited On:28 Jun 2012 06:53
Metadata Last Modified:28 Jun 2012 06:53

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