Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Talking like them : collecting information from local decision makers

Last months were busy, i went to Ethiopia and Burkina Faso to implement a participatory stakeholder workshop with local decision makers, including local government, extension service, but also farmers, input seller, traders, processors, farm organizations and other NGO intervening in the area.

The objective of the first day was to understand how these decision makers see and categorize the livestock production in their area and to what extend they see that these systems will be changing over the next 15 years in view of the still doubling of the African population. 

The banner describing the project in French for all the events in Burkina Faso
Why do we need to know this? The DFID funded project i am working on, foresees the parametrization of the CLEANED tool, to allow decision makers to simulate different livestock intensification option and get multiple environmental indicators along water, greenhouse gazes, biodiversity and nitrogen content of soils. This model will only be of use to the decision makers if it actually reflects their understanding of the livestock production systems or practices. Too often standard models are brought to local level without adjusting them to the local context and the local understanding. In other words, we need to make sure that the model talks like they do in order to be useful.

A group mapping the production systems in Ethiopia
On the first day of the workshop, we used a so called snowballing negotiation, two people try to agree which are the major livestock practices or production systems in the area. When they agree the find an other group of two and re-discuss and negotiate in four. Then they find another group of 4 and negotiate in 8. Then there is a facilitated plenary negotiation about which are the local practices or production systems, and how they can be grouped to make four working groups.

Then in four working groups, each group discusses one identified practice or production system. They map on printed maps where the system/practice is found and in a reporting sheet note the characteristics in terms of breed, adoption rate, number of animal, feed basket, manure management and input/output markets.

A group presenting results to plenary In Burkina Faso 
In the afternoon, the participant write a letter to the future generation describing how livestock keeping will be done in the future and aims at identify completely new practices/productions system that are not observed today. If such a new production is found then a group will need to take it up. otherwise the same group discuss the evolution of the production by 2030, mapping possible changes on the map.

Wondering what we have learned from this process? stay posted the up-coming posts will discuss this!

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