Are participatory methods sustainable

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  • Title: Are Participatory Methods of Extension Education Sustainable?Origin of Title: A group of Extension educators in north America were discussing the success or failure of their programs on Native American Indian Reservations. That lead to the question “Are participatory methods of extension successful and sustainable, and can they help us with our own extension programs?” In theory we are suppose to be conducting “participatory” programs even if we don’t use that term. We get there by conducting “Needs Assessment” surveys or other – generally EuroCentric methods of determining what our audiences want/need in the way of educational programs. In reality, it is difficult for an outsider to identify wants/needs of a Native American population (and I expect for many other indigenous populations)– especially when the educator is new to the job or new to the area. Unfortunately, when we are new is the exact time when we are expected to be conducting these needs surveys. My experience is that most educators fall back on implementing programs based on their own expertise or interests and then design implementation to meet the demands of their University. Sometimes the real needs/wants of the community get lot in the process. And we’re sitting around wondering why our program failed. Personally, after nine years of working on the same Indian Reservation, I am really just now feeling good about my ability to successfully communicate with my clientele in a way that leads to successful & Sustainable Education Programs.All this introspection about our programs led us to look at what people around the world are doing to be successful. No sense in reinventing the wheel. In response to one of our reviewers comments who said that we already know the answer to this question, I would respond that I wish I could change the title to “What makes Worldwide Extension Education Programs Successful” AND Sustainable? I don’t think that true participatory education and research have been in practice long enough to demonstrate true sustainability. But we did find several examples of “participatory Projects” around the world that appear to be very successful and to truly consider the wants/needs of community, total involvement by community members, and respect for cultural heritage and traditional knowledge.The researchers working on this proposal aimed to explore the scope of international participatory extension as it relates to their work with indigenous peoples on North American Native American reservations. They further hoped to delve into the following question: Will participatory methods of extension besuccessful/sustainable for us? Can they help us be successful with our own extension programs? As we answer this question, we hope that the information provided will also help others in the international arena working with similar rural indigenous communities.
  • First – a more detailed explanation of our Research MethodsNeed more firsthand survey data. The members of the focus group have been interviewing numerous tribal members and extension educators over a 3 year period in an attempt to determine the unique educational needs of north American Native Americans including a published research project. While that data wasn’t specifically included, it influenced our evaluation of worldwide data.The researchers divided the article search into continents, although some articles overlapped several regions, and wrote summaries of each article. The researchers used QSR NVivo software (©1999-2000, version 1.2.142) to analyze the data from these 3 sources. A focus group of extensionists working with Native American reservations in Arizona and New Mexico met to discuss participatory extension in a round robin manner of open ended questioning, using 3 key questions.
  • In order to start looking at our issues, I want to address a few of the other comments by our reviewers in order to helpexplain our findings because I think we lost some very important content when we cut our 6 page, single-spaced draft to 3 double spaced pages to meet submittal requirements. We may not always have made the best choices for what we cut. I have tried to setup my slides in a manner to address these issues.
  • Reviewer Comments”Important topic, would be helped by defining what exactly is meant by 'participatory' and 'sustainable' since they are vague and sometimes misused terms and are the main topic of the paper. Definition of terms:Success: By who’s standards, based on what criteria??? Icould spend my entire allotted time discussing what constitutes success. The numerous reviewed publications included a variety of goals and measures of success. The most important measure should be if the ‘community’ perceives the project as successful. This is more important than the goals of the educator, the University, or a government as has been done in the past.A statement of success that only show benefits to the educator or even the entire educational community is not really a “participatory” success.Has target community’s culture and traditional knowledge been respected and included?Participatory: Almost a direct quote – not quite. Even though this didn’t come from the Ag Education field, I think it captures the intent of the term.
  • PARTICIPATORY cont. more quotes from autism projectSUSTAINABILITY:Term is often used in the context of environmental sustainability. We used this term to mean a project that will continue to operate and benefit its intended community even after the principle educators and community leaders are no longer involved.There are several examples of community Extension education programs that end when educator moves on, tribal government changes, etc. FACTORS affecting sustainabilityChanges in primary interests of successive generations.Changes in government – either-neo colonial governing body or indigenous community leadersPolitical agendas geared to denigrating, or even eliminate community
  • Back to paperPass on Political reasons for this.Again – pass on political reasons for perpetuating
  • outside influences or other problems such as lost of funding, Results from participatory projects are encouraging, especially when extensionists work patiently to design participatory programs with their local populations as co-learners and co-researchers, and when extension educator goals reflect the reality of the communities with which they work. When indigenous participants play a key role in design, planning, delivery, and evaluation of programs, then participatory methods can increase the adoption of new technologies.
  • Colonialists gained from debasing indigenous members, their culture and their traditional knowledge and forcing them into a subservient position.
  • The literature contains numerous examples of successful participatory projects in a variety of cultures in several countries around the world. The authors concluded that this developing approach will result in sustainable programs and the successful transfer of knowledge by extension educators employing these techniques.
  • Local communities will gain from implementation of new technologies while the use of participatory approaches will assist extension educators to be successful when introducing and incorporating new ideas into indigenous cultures. 
  • Are participatory methods sustainable

    1. 1. ARE PARTICIPATORY METHODS <br />OF <br />EXTENSION EDUCATION SUSTAINABLE?<br /> <br />Dr. Sabrina Tuttle, Linda Masters, Dr. Cathy Martinez, Kristine Uhlman, <br />Dr. Juanita Waits, Grey Farrell, Melvina Adolf <br />“What makes Worldwide Extension Education Programs Successful and Sustainable”<br />
    2. 2. RESEARCH METHODS<br />The researchers used qualitative research methods to conduct this study, employing triangulation of data. They conducted an extensive literature search and included the following data sources:<br />23 research articles: research areas were divided into broad continental zones & divided among the researchers who wrote summaries of each reviewed publication and then submitted them to the group for analysis.<br />2. a PhD dissertation, <br />a 3 hour focus group interview where extensionists working on Native American reservations in Arizona and New Mexico met to discuss participatory extension in a round robin manner of open ended questioning.<br />an essay written by an extension practitioner with 27 years of experience who is also a member of the Navajo Nation - a Federally Recognized Tribe of the United States.<br />The researchers used QSR NVivo software (©1999-2000, version 1.2.142) to analyze the data from these sources. <br />
    3. 3. COMMENTS FROM REVIEWERS:<br />Need definition of terms<br />“I don't think [paper] sufficiently answers the central question it raises: are participatory methods of extension sustainable? “<br />“How does ownership translate to increased sustainability?”<br />What participatory approaches were used that led to positive changes in behavior?<br />Need more firsthand survey work<br />Does this publication shed new light on the topic?<br />I hope to answer these comments here by including some of the data the researchers collectively submitted for this project and which was included in our first draft.<br />
    4. 4. DEFINITIONS REQUESTED:<br />SUCCESSThe most important measure should be that the ‘community’ perceives the project as successful. This is more important than the goals of the educator, the University, or a government as has been done in the past.<br />2. PARTICIPATORY<br />Community Based Participatory Education or Research is an interdisciplinary research methodology in which scientific professionals and members of a specific community work together as equal partners in the development, implementation, and dissemination of research that is relevant to the community.<br />Researchers and Community Members serve as equal partners throughout the research process. Partners are expected to learn from each other and respect each other's areas of expertise. All partners--researchers and community members--are informed, included, and involved in all aspects of the research process.<br />Look at the “Community” as a unit of identity. The community is not just a population that shares some characteristic. It is a mutual network of individuals with common symbols, history, and a sense of emotional safety and identification.<br />From: Research/People with Autism collaboration http://aaspire.org/index.html<br />
    5. 5. PARTICIPATORY CONTINUED:<br />Researchers and Community Members serve as equal partners throughout the research process. Partners are expected to learn from each other and respect each other's areas of expertise. All partners--researchers and community members--are informed, included, and involved in all aspects of the research process.<br />“Community” as a unit of identity. The community is not just a population that shares some characteristic. It is a mutual network of individuals with common symbols, history, and a sense of emotional safety and identification.<br />SUSTAINABLE:<br />We used this term to mean a project that will continue to operate and benefit its intended community even after the principle educators and community leaders are no longer involved.<br />
    6. 6. Impact of Eurocentric ‘Top-down’ educational methods when used for Indigenous people educational programs<br />Much of worldwide extension education was (and often still is) based on the Eurocentric (or western, or white man) practices of top-down transfer of technology.<br />This method tends to have a high rate of failure with Indigenous populations due to the lack of recognition and respect for culture and traditional knowledge.<br />Educators fail to realize that, in contrast to urban, western lifestyles, the lives of many rural, indigenous peoples are often guided by deep-seated cultural and social systems that developed over many generations and which impact their daily life choices.<br />When this indigenous knowledge is overlooked or ignored by extension educators, affected clientele may not take ownership of extension program information, resulting in failure to adopt technologies that have little meaning in their traditional lives.<br />
    7. 7. Major precepts of Participatory Projects included in our research:<br />Educators/Researchers <br /> Actively listen to indigenous clientele<br /> Acknowledge and respect cultural beliefs and traditional knowledge<br />Work with indigenous community for the community’s benefit<br />Be willing to actively share design & implementation of program<br /> Be willing to actively share evaluation & dissemination of outputs & results <br />Indigenous community members:<br />Agree that they have an educational need<br /> Are involved in the Identification of community education needs<br /> Hold key positions for designing research or education program<br /> Participate in data collection<br /> Participate in data evaluation<br />
    8. 8. If this respect & active participation takes place, then research shows that indigenous communities are more likely to feel a sense of ownership of the project.<br />A sense of ownership results in adoption of recommendations (output) and greater degree of participation by community members<br />If members adopt recommendations and actively participate (even meet university measurement of “change of behavior”) then program can be called a success.<br />A successful program delivers direct benefits to tribal members that they can use to improve their quality of life including<br /><ul><li>Increased agricultural output, diversity, and/or value added products
    9. 9. Improved Healthy Lifestyle Choices
    10. 10. Promotion of their culture by documenting and/or preserving language and cultural activities: dances, art, ceremonial traditions</li></ul>Barring influences outside the control of the educator and/or community, a successful program will be sustainable as long as it continues to provide benefits to the community.<br />
    11. 11. Barriers to participatory methods:<br /><ul><li>Extension systems that promote inappropriate, top-down transfer of technology;
    12. 12. Dependence on government or other social systems that debases the project’s value, efficiency and sustainability;
    13. 13. Lack of infrastructure in remote rural areas
    14. 14. High cost of participatory programs that are time and resource consuming;
    15. 15. and the premise (left over from Colonial rule agenda) that rural and indigenous populations are not able to diagnose their own needs and are not capable of initiating their own development strategies.</li></li></ul><li>
    16. 16.
    17. 17.
    18. 18. IDEAL MODEL<br />ROLE OF INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY<br />KEEPS PROGRAM RESPECTFUL, ACCESSIBLE,. AND SOCIALLY RELEVANT<br />DEVELOPMENT: ENSURE THAT EDUCATION/RESEARCH:<br />IS RESPECTFUL OF CULTURAL AND TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE , <br />IS SOCIALLY RELEVANT, <br />IS OF DIRECT BENEFIT TO THE COMMUNITY<br />HOW ARE PARTICIPANTS AND SUBJECTS IDENTIFIED?<br />IMPLEMENT:<br />1. ACCESSIBILITY: WHO OWNS (HAS RIGHTS TO) THE COLLECTED DATA?<br />2. HOW ARE PARTICIPANTS AND SUBJECTS RECRUITED?<br />DISSEMINATION:<br />1. HOW IS OUTPUT <br />

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