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Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences (2012)

Looking forward : closing the gap between claims and practices of participatory approaches : a case study : Fayoum Farmer Field Schools in Fayoum District, Egypt

Sirajuddin, Z.

Titre : Looking forward : closing the gap between claims and practices of participatory approaches : a case study : Fayoum Farmer Field Schools in Fayoum District, Egypt

Auteur : Sirajuddin, Z.

Université de soutenance : Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences

Grade : Master Degree Management of Development Specialization in Rural Development and Communication 2012

Résumé
In 2008, the Fayoum Directorate of Agriculture (FAD), a directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation of Egypt cooperated with the Dutch Embassy in Egypt, launched the Fayoum Farmer Field Schools (FFS) project. In October 2011, through the Fayoum Centre of Excellence (CE) project, the FFS is disseminating to other governorates in Egypt. One of the main focus of Fayoum CE project, as well as Fayoum FFS project, is that participation of farmers in the project is the mainstream. In the FFS, the facilitator translates theory into practices. Facilitators learn and improve their skills on participatory methods in order strengthen the participatory experiential learning process in the project. Facilitators then practice it during the FFS implementation by immersing into rural community to facilitate them in analysing and solving their own problems in the villages.

In traditional extension, facilitators as government agents delivered packages from the government to the farmers. The top-down methods did not attract farmers to attend the field school, as they felt that they would not contribute any idea and solutions to existing problems. In participatory approaches, farmers are given more access to analyse the problems and decide what they should do to cope with the problems. In this context, farmers are triggered to initiate their local knowledge. Therefore, facilitators ask more questions rather than give answers. As possible, facilitators did not give solutions.

The conceptualisation and practices of participatory approaches in Fayoum FFS project such as (1) farmers are given opportunity to initiate in terms of sharing their local knowledge, their opinion about their problems, without hesitating, and with equal opportunities with other farmers. (2) Farmers are given opportunity to decide the schedule of field school implementation and topics to be discussed. One of the main exit strategies of Fayoum FFS project where the project provide village promoters will replace the tasks of facilitators after the accomplishment of the project. In the learning process of facilitators in Fayoum FFS project, facilitators interact with other individuals and work environment to shape their understanding about participatory approach. In this part ; facilitators ; (1) Interact with other individuals such as other facilitators, district staffs, or other institutions in both formal and informal ways, (2) Interaction with work environment such as encountered problems and job relevance. Facilitators perceived that their surroundings affect their willing ness in learning participatory approach.

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