1.1 Workshop Objectives
1.2 Workshop Method and Agenda
The report details in brief the results of a 2 1/2 day workshop on PRA and Poverty Alleviation in Chuluut sum, Arkhangai. The workshop completed an 8-day mission for the FAO TCP, exploring local perceptions of poverty. The main results of the mission are found in a separate report on 'Poverty Perceptions Among Rural Herders and Sum Inhabitants of Chuluut Sum'. This was the first sum-level PRA training run by CSD and so was very experimental in nature. The training team was made-up of 7 CSD/SCF staff and an FAO headquarters officer, Stephan Baas. The workshop focused on issues of local poverty and introduced PRA techniques as a means to identifying causes and potential solutions. Twenty participants attended, with representatives from the sum government, bag governors, herders and sum centre poor. A list of participants is included in appendix 2. The workshop was extremely participatory and enjoyable, and discussions were open and animated - sometimes rather intense - providing a good forum for the sharing of differing opinions and ideas. The feedback and evaluations from participants were very positive and the overall feeling of the trainers was one of great success. However, the short time available (restricted by the schedule of the FAO consultant) and hence necessary intensity of the work, was felt to be somewhat of a constraint.
The objectives of the workshop were as follows:
· to introduce PRA techniques
· to collect and analyse information on poverty in Chuluut sum
· to provide a discussion forum for the exchange of ideas between sum officials, bag governors, representatives of herders and sum centre poor, and outsiders.
The training approach was very relaxed and informal - tables were not used, only chairs arranged in a semi-circle - and many of the PRA activities were done on the floor or outside. This relaxed 'learning by doing' method is very new in Mongolia and thus the team were somewhat apprehensive about the response of participants, particularly because of the diverse mix (government officials, bag leaders, herders and representatives of the poor). However, their level of participation, attendance throughout the 2 1/2 days, feedback and written evaluations (see 2.9) are all testament to the effectiveness and appropriateness of the approach at this level and the possibilities for its wider use as a training method. The overall logic of the workshop was to begin with tools for general analysis (e.g., mapping) and gradually move to more focused methods of analysis (e.g., matrix scoring and seasonal calendars), looking at particular subjects related to poverty, and finishing with a simple planning method.
Due to unforeseen problems with generators and equipment, and the late arrival of participants, the workshop got off to a late start on Monday morning, but fortunately this did not disrupt the planned agenda significantly (appendix 1). The initial session was a brief introduction to participation and PRA and its context in Mongolia. This was followed by a Poverty Analysis exercise to establish the local situation and stimulate participation from the outset. The remainder of the workshop focused on introducing PRA techniques through small group exercises and these were interspersed with a number of games and activities. The PRA techniques were carefully selected as those considered to be most useful and appropriate for the different roles and responsibilities of the participants. The techniques introduced were: semi-structured interviewing, mapping, matrix scoring, seasonal calendars and daily routine on gender. Due to the high interest and very active discussions which followed the exercises on mapping and matrix scoring, there was insufficient time to do exercises on the latter two techniques, and so these were merely presented and discussed. If a full third day of training had been possible, these could also have been covered in more detail.
The final half day introduced the SWOT analysis and planning methodology (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats), as a way of bringing the focus from general analysis, e.g., using mapping and other techniques, to the more specific, i.e., planning. The final summary session invited feedback from the participants on the different techniques learnt and a written evaluation on the workshop as a whole (see 2.9).