27 July 2007

Farmer-Led Documentation - soliciting feedback and examples

In November 2006, Pelum Uganda and Prolinnova, with the support of Oxfam Novib, organized an international exchange meeting / workshop on the use of "farmer led documentation" in sustainable agriculture and natural resource management. (Proceedings are at www.prolinnova.net/fld.php)

"It is increasingly clear that successful development of Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management depends on the effective interaction between knowledge and experiences of local farmer communities with expertise of development agents. Development organisations are therefore documenting and sharing local knowledge as an important part of the development process. In many cases, however, this is done in an extractive mode, where outsiders control the process and local knowledge and experiences are stored in their offices.

There are, however, isolated experiences with what is called Farmer Led Documentation (FLD) as an empowering process in which local communities take the lead role in the documentation process. FLD ensures that relevant experiences and good practices at the community level are visible as a starting point for further farmer-led agricultural development."

Besides the proceedings, some of the main issues that were identified as well as some examples are captured in this 8 page brochure.

Since the workshop, a few small pilot projects in FLD were started by the workshop participants: 2 projects in Uganda and 1 in South Africa. Several of the participants have started to integrate FLD principles in their ongoing and new projects and programmes.

The team at PROLINNOVA is seeking feedback on the issue of farmer led documentation. Do you have any experience in documentation projects whereby the level of participation from the community exceeded that of mere 'participation' but moved to a level where community members actually took the lead in the documentation process, expressing their own voice on the topics of their choice, through media they preferred? What were the experiences, what were the challenges? Is any of this documented somewhere and would you be willing to share this? Do you recognize the issues and challenges as mentioned in the brochure mentioned above? If not, if you disagree, would you care to explain your view?

They are very happy to hear more about FLD practices elsewhere, especially also the more traditional forms of 'documentation' e.g. through play, story or music. Send any thoughts to Miranda Verburg: [m.verburg AT etcnl.nl]


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