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University of Western Sydney (1999)

Improving Sahelian food security through facilitating action learning : a case study among the Fulbe Jelgobe of Northern Burkina Faso

Weekley, Paul

Titre : Improving Sahelian food security through facilitating action learning : a case study among the Fulbe Jelgobe of Northern Burkina Faso

Auteur : Weekley, Paul

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) 1999

Université de soutenance : University of Western Sydney

Résumé
The Fulbe Jelgobe, like many other Sahelian pastoral groups, are becoming increasingly vulnerable to chronic food insecurity. They live in a landscape that exhibits a complex patchiness and extremely variable rainfall patterns. When their food security is threatened, the Fulbe Jelgobe act skillfully on the basis of local knowledge in employing a complex array of coping responses that seek to meet immediate food needs while preserving a base for future livelihood activity. These responses involve the manipulation of household asset portfolios, modifying household consumption patterns, access to common property resources and the activation of networks of social relationships. The reinforcement or enhancement of such responses is a credible means of improving food security. This thesis reports on an attempt to apply action research amongst the Fulbe Jelgobe in Northern Burkina Faso, focusing on case studies of action research in two Fulbe communities. These communities provide the context for understanding a particular food insecurity situation by taking action to improve it. The process was co-designed and co-managed by action research groups formed in both locations. These groups included diverse stakeholders who cooperated with me in learning how to contextualise the Participatory Action Research process to improving local food security. A third, general action research process is underpinned by ten years of previous experience in the area and ethnographic research that provides an understanding of the context for Fulbe subsistence strategies. While the process of participatory Action Research is perceived to be useful in such vulnerable livelihood contexts, the participatory process itself is viewed as problematic and frequently more partisan than many adherents to the process would accept. There is a complex web of motivations driving local stakeholders participation. Rather than extended dialogue aimed at achieving consensus, as many popular participatory approaches envisage, it is a matter of continually re-negotiating cooperation among stakeholders with diverse interests and capabilities in order to secure continuing participation in a heuristic learning process. Treating Fulbe agro-pastoralism holistically as social praxis, a locally managed Participatory Action Research process facilitated improved food security by reinforcing coping options and enhancing local organisational capacity to interface with development organisations. Participatory Action Research provided a framework for the design and management of food-for-work programs aimed at developing an infrastructure for dry-season gardening in both locations. The action research group in one location became the management committee of an association of some 80 people that was formally registered with the government under the name of Dewral. This association, which is still functioning, facilitates the cultivation of 25 hectares of lakeside gardens. These gardens are an important addition to the members’ mix of food procuring activities

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Page publiée le 12 juin 2008, mise à jour le 15 juillet 2017