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Rhodes University (2017)

Exploring transformative social learning and sustainability in community based irrigation scheme contexts in Mozambique

Baloi, Aristides

Titre : Exploring transformative social learning and sustainability in community based irrigation scheme contexts in Mozambique

Auteur : Baloi, Aristides

Université de soutenance : Rhodes University

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2017

Résumé
This study set out to examine transformative social learning and sustainability in the context of community-based irrigation systems in Mozambique. These irrigation systems are socio-ecological in nature. The history of irrigation systems in Mozambique can be described in two periods : pre-Independence period (mainly the colonial period) and the post-Independence period from 1975 onwards. Most recently, the Mozambique Government has introduced a policy which supports community-based irrigation system implementation and management via irrigation associations in a move to support a shift from rain-fed farming practices to irrigation-supported farming practices amongst smallholder farmers. It is this shift in the object of activity that this study focusses on. It does this by studying learning process in the constituted irrigation associations, examining whether such learning is transformative and sustainability oriented or not, and how such learning can be further expanded and supported. Learning may occur in socio-ecological systems, but whether that learning enables transformation and sustainability of irrigation systems and the constituted associations is as yet under-explored in the Mozambique context and in the context of Education for Sustainable Development in southern Africa. The aim of this research was therefore to understand transformative social learning within the development of sustainable irrigation practices in the context of irrigation associations and new agrarian policy development in Mozambique. To examine transformative social learning in sustainable irrigation system practices (including management practices), the study worked with three research goals, which also formed phases of the study’s design : GOAL 1 : Examine how and what transformative social learning has (or has not) emerged in existing activity systems to date (Phase 1 : Activity System Analysis). GOAL 2 : Examine how transformative social learning could emerge through expansive learning processes (Phase 2 : Identification of contradictions and new solution modelling through Developmental Work Research and Change Laboratories). GOAL 3 : Identify what opportunities exist for ongoing transformative social learning (Phase 3 : Identification of absences and ongoing dialectical transformation possibilities). The study draws on theories of Social Learning, Transformative Learning and Cultural Historical Activity Theory’s (CHAT) expansive learning and formative interventionist research framework to develop insights into the learning processes. It works especially with third generation Cultural Historical Activity Theory which provides a theory of expansive social learning and collective transformative agency formation, which I deemed most appropriate for the need to understand the transformation of farmers’ activities in a collective formation such as an irrigation association. The study involved identification and examination of interacting activity systems, contradictions or dissonances in two case studies of community-based irrigation system development via the respective associations. It involved identifying existing learning, as well as engaging in formative intervention research to expand learning in two case study sites : namely the Macubulane and Massaca Irrigation Associations, located near Maputo, Mozambique in the Inkomati and Umbeluzi river basins. The Macubulane community practices a monocropping system of sugar cane plantations using sprinkler irrigation methods and the Massaca community practices a mixed cropping system growing vegetables using mainly gravity or furrow irrigation methods. The study uses a qualitative research approach and is underlaboured by Dialectical Critical Realism which allowed for a deeper probing of ontology and transformative praxis, and transformative learning.

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Page publiée le 7 décembre 2018