«Deborah Duveskog Faculty of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences Department of Urban and Rural Development Uppsala Doctoral Thesis Swedish ...»
All farmers interviewed agreed that their relationship with and status in the community had dramatically changed as a result of their involvement in FFS.
Several participants talked about a shift from providing casual labour for other farmers, which is often associated with low community status, to becoming a respected resource person and a leader within the community. For example
Priscilla explaining how she had gained respect in the community:
The relationship with community is different now because they want to tap the knowledge I have. For example, the people in the house want me to teach them what I have learnt. This has brought the community closer to me.
Many participants also acquire leadership skills that they practice within either the FFS group or the wider community. Ordinary FFS group members, who had no official leadership positions, often became informal leaders and served as community role models. Furthermore, several members explained how FFS had contributed to social inclusion, trust and a sense of togetherness among
people in the community. Jotham, mentioned:
Life has changed, totally changed… When you are socializing with people, people can trust you, but when you are isolated people cannot trust you because they do not know you. Before FFS, people did not know me.
The findings related to the change that men and women who participated in FFS experienced in how they view and relate to each other could partly be theoretically explained. Epistemologically, there is a shift by men and women in their way of knowing and their view of what knowledge is in the world. For women, with ever-greater confidence, they were beginning to recognize themselves as a viable source of knowledge, particularly for issues outside the maintenance of the household (e.g., farming). This is most likely to have occurred through a growing self-awareness by learning new farming practices and contributing to the learning of others in collaboration with both men and women. Men demonstrate a similar shift, such that they too were recognizing women as a viable source of knowledge. This was occurring by learning alongside women and observing their competence within FFS (e.g., listening to them presenting). The shift is further demonstrated by the increased engagement in shared decision-making by men and women within the household. Ontologically men were learning to relate to women differently (e.g., shared spousal decision-making; possible friendship with other females) while women who participate in FFS seemed increasingly to come to view men as collaborators and partners.
9.3 Relationships between FFS, empowerment and well-being Empirical relationships between FFS participation and increased well-being, as well as between FFS participation and empowerment; and finally between empowerment and enhanced well-being was studied mainly though the use of survey data. Well-being was established according to well-being ranking methodology (Ravnborg et al. 2004; Friis-Hansen 2005); Analysis from about two thousand household questionnaires showed a relationship between these aspects, despite contextual differences in the three countries studied. The results of this research are presented in more detail in paper III, while a summary follows below.
Development of indicators for measurement of empowerment A starting point for this research was the elaboration of variables for measurements of empowerment, defined through a combination of theoretically informed expressions of empowerment and participatory development of indicators with community members. Resulting empowermentrelated variables were separated into two groups: 1) self-perceptions and attitudes among farmers towards their power and agency in life, i.e. what they thought; and 2) actual physical expressions of agency in their daily lives, i.e.
what they did. Factor analysis was carried out of indicators relating to selfperception and attitudes, measured though a three summative scale, in order to cluster indicators into groups. The resulting factors of empowerment produced
were the following:
1. Household decision-making capacity; including aspects of feeling of power to make decisions on farming activities, education and health and household expenditures.
2. Gender equity and trust; including gender divisions in village leadership, decision making, household conflicts, solidarity and trust across neighbors.
3. Individual agency; including control of life, decision-making, solidarity and trust and participation in voting.
4. Trust in community and local authorities; including trust in government officials and politicians.
Issues of physical expressions of agency in everyday life, mainly included in the questionnaire as binary items (yes/no questions) formulated the following
categories of indicators:
Ø། Innovation uptake; i.e. uptake and adoption of new farming ideas such as new crop varieties, vaccination practices, soil management etc.
Ø། Access to services: the sourcing of and access to agricultural extension, farmer-to-farmer information sharing, membership in savings/credit schemes, bank account etc.
Ø། Engagement with markets: sale of produce, produce storage and value addition/processing.
Ø། Collective action and social relations; collective marketing of produce, leadership positions held, participation in voting.
This framing of indicators for empowerment was an important component of the research considering the little existing knowledge available on measurement of empowerment in development contexts.
Who joins FFS?
Since FFS members join the groups on voluntary basis, and not randomised in the community the methodological problem of potential bias in self-selection had first to be overcome before analysing changes among FFS participants versus control groups. Therefore the characteristics of the participants of FFS groups, as compared to random samples of community members were established. While there were some variations, the result showed no significant difference in terms of poverty status among the average community members and individuals who enrol in FFS participation. No or only minor selection bias was therefore assumed which allowed for further comparison between FFS pre-members and FFS graduates.
The links between FFS membership and well-being status In all countries the proportion of very poor was lower among FFS graduates than among FFS pre-members and the proportion of non-poor was higher among FFS graduates. This was evaluated through cross-tabulation, comparing the distribution of non-poor, poor and very poor among the two sample groups for each of the three countries. While the scenario varied slightly across the three countries, in all cases the differences between the two groups were significant. It was therefore assumed that FFS graduates in the study were demonstrated to be less poor than FFS pre-members. Since the members and non-members were shown above not to be significantly different in terms of poverty before the FFS interventions, this change between pre- and post-FFS groups was assumed to be related to their participation in FFS. An example of Kenya for the pre and post comparison is show in the figure below.
Figure 13. Kenya FFS pre and post comparison: % of sample within various poverty categories Apart from the evaluating the resulting well-being category of farmers the process that bring them out of poverty was also looked at by further analysis of the thirteen well-being indicators of the well-being ranking methodology.
Considerable differences between the three countries in the patterns of wellbeing, were identified a probable reflection of differences in socio-economic context. However, all three countries indicated significant change for poverty indicators that can change without the need for capital and/or a long period of time, e.g. stop working as casual labourer, hire of labour, quality of diet, household food security, family health and standard of family clothing and also asset based poverty indicators, including housing standards, children’s education level and ownership of livestock.
The links between FFS membership and empowerment The comparison of FFS members with the control group (non FFS members and FFS pre-members) in terms of empowerment was done through cross tabulation of the defined expressions of empowerment. The empowerment factors showed significant differences between FFS graduates and the control group in terms of higher levels among FFS graduates for the factors gender and trust, critical thinking and household decision making capacity. However power and influence beyond the individual or household such on community level did not show significant differences between the two groups. Trust in community institutions and local authority was only tested in Uganda where significant difference was observed. FFS graduates showed higher levels of innovation uptake than the control group in most countries and aspects tested, but only at statistically significant levels in a few of the agricultural practices tested. For example in Uganda 46% of FFS graduates had started using improved crop varieties as compared to 17% of farmers in the control group. In relation to access to services FFS graduates showed higher levels than the control group on all items tested with strongly significant levels on most.
Access to services such as bank account, savings/credit means and receipt of advice indicate negotiation skills and openness as well as determination and drive. For example in Kenya 77 % of FFS graduates had bank accounts as compared to 45% among the control group. In Kenya FFS graduates showed a significant higher level of commercialization than the control group on all aspects tested. However this picture was not confirmed in Tanzania and Uganda where differences were observed but not at statistically significant levels. An important aspect of personal empowerment is the level of involvement in collective action and societal involvement. This was in the study examined through involvement in collective marketing of produce, tenure of leadership positions and participation in voting. In Kenya FFS graduates showed significant higher levels than the control group on all tested items. In Tanzania and Uganda some differences were observed but not at significant levels.
The links between well-being status and empowerment The empowerment factors did not demonstrate frequent significant correlation with poverty levels except in terms of household decision-making capacity in Kenya, critical thinking in Tanzania and trust in community institutions and local authority in Uganda. When cross-tabulating poverty levels with the empowerment items, more frequent relationships appeared. The links between the uptake of innovations and poverty levels appeared to be significant in all countries, with the non-poor showing a higher frequency of innovation uptake.
For example, in Kenya only 32% of the very poor vaccinate their livestock as compared to 72% among the non-poor. The same situation was demonstrated in terms of access to services, which appeared to be linked to poverty levels, with the strongest correlations in Kenya and Tanzania. For example, in Tanzania 53% of very poor farmers had obtained agricultural advice in the last two years compared to 83% of the non-poor. Commercialization of agriculture and collective action items also appeared to be linked to poverty levels. For example, in Kenya 70% of non-poor farmers hold some kind of leadership position, while among the very poor the proportion was only 35%.
9.4 The fostering of transformative learning The research revealed a number of aspects of relevance for informing the practice of non-formal education in general and FFS in particular about how transformative learning is fostered in the study setting. A number of factors contributed to the outcomes of the learning experience, aspects both related to the content of the learning as well as the process of learning as applied in FFS.
These included an instrumental emphasis in the curriculum, presentation of knowledge, hands-on-activities, collaborative learning, and presentational knowing, creating opportunities for questioning cultural norms and building social capital, and the significance of the external facilitator.
The fact that the entry point for FFS is agriculture, the main source of livelihood among poor in the rural African setting seemed to play a significant role in participants’ motivation to join and stay in the groups. Small improvements in farming techniques had a quick and direct impact on household well-being through improved food-security or incomes and when participants started to notice these changes they were highly motivated to actively participate in the sessions. This focus on farming skills and practices meant that there was an instrumental emphasis in the content of FFS learning.
This was emphasized by the hands-on activities and practical activities where famers learned by doing in the field. Group exercises and experimental field plots helped the group make use of real life farming situations and problems, as opposed to simulated experiences. Significant to the participants and their learning was this emphasis in FFS for hands-on activities In Situ (in the original setting). In this practical mode of learning the key role of the facilitator was apparent to help participants to reflect on this experience through problemsolving exercises that stimulate questioning and inquiry.
The ASEA exercise, a core pedagogical tool of FFS, practiced in the field at every learning session was found to be highly valued by participants and significant in building analytical and observational skills. AESA was also critical in giving participants opportunity to give didactic presentations to the subgroups or the plenary, this presentation of knowledge was found significant with a much broader value than the obvious objective of sharing of information. The frequent opportunities to stand up in front of the larger group to explain or present something was core for fostering self-confidence among participants. These didactic presentations were particularly significant for women participants, giving them an opportunity to take a leadership role, something few get to experience in such a deeply patriarchal community, see Paper II.