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Lincoln University (2000)

Water and livelihoods : a participatory analysis of a Mexican rural community

Pérez Izadi, N. T.

Titre : Water and livelihoods : a participatory analysis of a Mexican rural community

Auteur : Pérez Izadi, N. T.

Université de soutenance : Lincoln University

Grade : Master of Applied Science 2000

Over 70% of Mexican farms produce only for self-subsistence and lack the necessary economies of scale to be commercial. In the arid and semi-arid regions of the country, which represents 52% of Mexico’s total land, farming is difficult and poverty is common. These zones are distinguished by a low level of public investment, scarce official support, lack of inter-institutional coordination and non-existence of an integrated policy for development. Whether development has occurred as a result of the diverse range of projects and programmes is uncertain. This uncertainty is in part due to the variation in definitions, paradigms and goals of development. The concept of development has evolved from rapid economic growth to a more holistic view which encompasses eradication of poverty and fostering of sustainability, participation and empowerment. Using participatory research, the case study evaluated the effect of the project ‘Water and Life’ on the development of the rural community of San Felipe (situated in the semi-arid region of Mexico). The research sought to determine whether the community of San Felipe is sustainable by exploring the processes by which people achieve (or fail to achieve) sustainable livelihoods. Also the research evaluated whether the project ‘Water and Life’ assisted in the process of achieving sustainable livelihoods in San Felipe. Lessons learnt for future development endeavours are derived from the study. Through the use of PRA techniques, research revealed that the community of San Felipe is very vulnerable and cannot secure enough food for its inhabitants. The project ‘Water and Life’ has brought about positive changes to the community, one of its major achievements has been to provide the community with three rainwater harvesting systems with a storage capacity of approximately 1.2 million L. However, the project has only partially satisfied the needs of the community and the project has not reduced the vulnerability of the community markedly. Moreover, food security is still an unattainable goal for the community and the benefits of the project are likely to disappear in 25 or 30 years. Research identified opportunities for San Felipe to improve its livelihood sustainability by better management of its valuable natural resources. In addition, improved participation of women in decision-making, increased coordination of formal groups of the community and the training of women and youth could significantly reduce the vulnerability of San Felipe if addressed by the project ‘Water and Life’ and the community


Page publiée le 21 novembre 2011, mise à jour le 16 décembre 2017