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7. Participatory management and evaluation in community IPM

Community IPM requires an approach to management and evaluation that encourages congruence between ideas and approaches throughout the programme. The community IPM model encourages an adaptive management approach by farmers to engage with the complex systems in which they live and work in a sustainable way. The model is based on incremental, experiential learning and decision making at the community level. To support this model, continuous monitoring and feedback processes are required at the community level (Jiggins and Roling 1999). The model encourages multi-stakeholder participation and is focused on developing more sustainable relations between people and their environment. The community IPM model needs a management and evaluation system that encourages and supports the adaptive management approach. Farmers and facilitators must be part of the decisionmaking and evaluation activities that make up the management system supporting a community IPM programme. This chapter presents a discussion of participatory management and evaluation in the context of community IPM programmes.

7.1 Management

FFS alumni are developing their own village IPM programmes across Asia, from Nepal to Cambodia. The management context for community IPM needs to not only be flexible and responsive, but also ensure that decisions are made as close to the field level as possible. Alumni must have the opportunity to participate in the management system.

Alumni designing their local IPM programme

Michel Pimbert's analysis of agriculture biodiversity management paradigms provided the inspiration for the following matrix (Pimbert 1999). The matrix (Table 7.1) compares two management models based on a set of key institutional attitudes or patterns of behaviour. The first model is the conventional approach to management generally found among or aspired to by the centralized agriculture services developed during the Green Revolution. The second model describes a management system that can effectively support farmer-led community IPM field activities. This second model has been termed the community IPM model.

Table 7.1 Agro-ecological management models


Community IPM

Starting point

Resources valued extrinsically based on the market place

Recognition of the inherent value in the diversity of resources and people

Key word



Locus of decision making

Centralized, ideas originate in capital city, professional/ expert-based

Decentralized, ideas originate at village level, people-based

First step

Data collection and plan

Awareness, knowledge creation, and action


Static, professional-based

Evolutionary, people-based

Main resources

Central funds, professionals and technicians

Diverse, includes villages, their people and assets

Analytical assumptions

Reductionism (natural science bias)

Systems, holistic

Management focus

Budgetary, projects meet deadlines, targets

Sustainable improvement and performance


Vertical: orders go down, reports come up

Lateral: mutual learning, sharing of learning and experience


External, intermittent

Internal, continuous, interactive and participatory


Covered up, explained away

A basis of learning

Relationship with people

Controlling, policing, inducing, motivating, creating dependency.
People as objects

Enabling, supporting,
People as acting subjects


The empowerment of professionals
A uniform reactive agricultural system

The empowerment of rural people
A diverse and interactive local approach to agro-ecological management

A look at a few of the key attitudes and behaviours that constitute the comparison is revealing.

Starting point describes the philosophical perspective of a management system regarding the resources, natural or human, involved in an agro-ecological system. The conventional model takes an extractive perspective; resources are valued in terms of what they will yield or can be processed to yield on the market, national or international. Humans that are involved in the system are important only in so far as they can get product, in sufficient volume, to market. The community IPM model values natural resources and the humans involved in working with those resources. Rice has a culturally based value; people are not machines but impart value to all that they come in contact with. Thus, for example in Cambodia, community IPM activities are designed to provide opportunities for all in a village who are engaged in agriculture, including the children, disabled, illiterate and landless, to achieve their potential as human beings.

Key word describes the intention of the management model concerning the people and resources connected to an agro-ecological system. The conventional system intends to develop humans as objects to be manipulated so that resources can be extracted or processed for the market. The human factor in this system is neither intelligent nor endowed with the right to control what he or she does or owns. The community IPM model takes the position of empowering humans to control and decide about the processes and resources that they own. The community IPM approach includes regular forums for farmers to set strategies and plan activities which are then used as the basis for planning inter-regional and national programme activities as well as proposals for leveraging local support.

Locus of decision making refers to who is making the decisions and where they are located. Conventional systems are heavily centralized. Relatively few people are involved in taking decisions. These people are the senior professionals/bureaucrats who often have the added cachet of being expert. The community IPM model employs a decentralized approach to decision making. Consistent with a basic principle of community IPM, "farmers as experts", farmers are involved in the management process. In the countries involved in community IPM many opportunities are open to alumni and facilitators to engage in management activities. Farmers conduct participatory strategic planning exercises to develop goals, strategies and plans and take decisions regarding activities that they want to conduct to achieve their goals. Facilitators and farmer IPM trainers regularly hold management meetings together to decide about resource allocations to support field activities. In Viet Nam, farmer IPM trainers have participated in national-level community IPM planning sessions as well as in the designing of evaluation systems. In Indonesia the National IPM Farmers' Association and the community IPM team regularly meet to decide about allocation priorities, programme duration and specific activities.

Management focus describes the concerns of the system. The main concerns of the conventional approach are budgetary, deadlines and targets (e.g. numbers of farmers contacted, tons of rice harvested). The community IPM model is concerned about the quality of its activities. The model seeks to enhance the capacities of people, both those involved in the system and those touched by the activities conducted by facilitators and alumni. The community IPM model seeks sustainability. A concern of management within the community IPM model is that participants in the model continue to learn. Training is regularly available for FFS facilitators and farmer IPM trainers. Regular technical meetings are held for alumni to exchange information regarding field studies, village IPM programme development strategies and successful alumni-created farming innovations.

Error in the conventional model is either covered up, explained away or avoided by risk-averse decisions. The model shifts responsibility for mistaken decisions from the professionals who made them to the farmers who were the victims of the mistakes. In the community IPM model, mistakes are used as a basis for learning. If activities fail to achieve hoped-for results, the implementation of the activities is examined to determine whether changes can be made to improve a given situation or whether something entirely different needs to be done. Farmer and facilitator technical meetings often contain sessions that analyse farmer strategy or tactical problems in terms of: "What worked?" "What didn't work?" "Why?" "What can be improved?" "How can it be improved?" This analytical approach allows alumni and facilitators to openly examine shortcomings and discuss ways of overcoming them.

Outputs describes what the management system hopes to achieve. In the case of the conventional model, it is obvious that it hopes to be recognized for its professionalism, that targets are met. The model empowers the professionals within the system. As the system is risk averse, it becomes reactive rather than dynamic. The community IPM model seeks to empower rural populations by putting them in control of the resources that they own or jointly utilize and establish a system that is interactive or adapted to the existing ecological conditions.

In putting management systems together to support community IPM the key has been to build from the bottom up, starting at the local level. FFS facilitators, IPM field leaders and farmers have developed and managed complex community IPM programmes around the region. Planning and budgeting must become locally specific. For this, various strategies have been employed. In Indonesia, district IPM leaders, FFS facilitators and alumni developed activity plans and budgets based on local strategies that were aggregated into sub-regional plans. In Viet Nam, community IPM farmers and facilitators designed locally specific plans that were aggregated into provincial plans. In both countries the main management tasks were implemented locally: evaluation, administration, planning, budgeting, FFS implementation, building networks and human capital development were placed in the hands of farmers, facilitators and IPM field leaders. The result has been not only successful farmer-led village IPM programmes but also the development of highly skilled management teams.

7.2 Participatory evaluation

The purpose of evaluation in community IPM is to provide the leaders of these activities with the information that they need for their management decisions. The goals of evaluation within the context of FAO community IPM activities include:

Evaluation activities must be useful to farmers. The best way to ensure this is to give farmers a role and a share of control in each stage of any evaluation activity. As community IPM develops at the village level and farmers are conducting their own IPM activities, they need to have the tools to evaluate those activities to determine whether they are achieving their goals. Farmers need to be able to review what they have done in the context of their local conditions and take decisions regarding future activities.

Mapping farm and village conditions

If IPM field trainers have relevant evaluation skills, they can train farmers so that farmers can effectively evaluate their own local programmes. Community IPM programmes have depended upon both IPM field trainers and farmers for the implementation of evaluation studies. To successfully conduct any evaluation study both farmers and IPM trainers need to be able to:

Using a participatory approach that puts alumni in a position where they share control over the activity ensures that they learn about conducting evaluation studies and increases the likelihood that they will benefit and use the results from the exercise. Involving them in design decisions, study implementation, data analysis and report is essential.

Beside interviews with individuals, a wide variety of group participatory activities can be used to collect data. Group activities might include:

The following participatory evaluation activities are taken from a field guide for participatory evaluation activities. The field guide was developed and used in participatory evaluation studies in Indonesia in 1998 and 1999. The two activities are intended to help farmers and trainers identify IPM activities conducted in a community and farmers' perceptions of results and benefits from the activities. The goals of these activities are to: a) raise alumni's awareness of the history of local IPM-related activities and the outcomes of these activities; b) identify potential issues, people, activities, etc, for follow-up interviews by farmers and trainers. Participants in the activities included alumni and trainers.

Box 7.1 Identifying IPM activities

Background: As this is a village where a local community IPM programme has been active, both the national IPM programme and farmers will have conducted IPM activities in the village. We want to identify these activities. These may be FFSs, farmer IPM field studies, alumni organizing activities, meetings, etc. Each of these activities will have immediate results and longer term results. During the session, ask participants to identify all of these activities and their immediate results. Start with a discussion of what is meant by immediate results. If it is easier, make it two steps: identify FFSs implemented, where, when and by whom; then identify post-FFS activities including what, where, when and by whom, then ask about the immediate results of each activity.

Alumni analysing results of IPM activities

Goal: Participants develop the history of IPM activities in the community and their results for follow-up study

Time: Three hours

Materials: Newsprint, felt-tipped pens


1. Have the group define "immediate results". A brainstorming activity would be useful to do this.

2. Divide the group into small groups. Each group should prepare a matrix with columns headed: "FFS activities", "FFS results", "Post-FFS activities", "Results", etc. Ask each group to first identify these activities and for each try to determine where, when and by whom they were conducted. Then ask them to identify the results of those activities. Each group should report out the results of their small-group efforts.

3. In a full group discussion ask the participants to identify the general categories, for example "field ecology", "empowerment", etc, that the results of IPM activities tend to fall into.

Identifying the benefits of IPM activities

Background: We are now familiar with the IPM activities conducted in the village either by the national programme or by IPM alumni. As well, specific immediate results have been identified. We do not yet know the perceptions of participants regarding the long-term benefits or impact of IPM activities in a community. Generally, IPM activities can be seen to have a specific immediate result. For example, if we conduct a study on urea we can discover the benefit of using urea at certain rates of application. Thus the immediate result of the study can be said to have been what was learned from the study. Benefits then arise as a result of farmers applying what they have learned from the study. Examples of possible benefits or impact arising from this study would include:

  • Other studies are conducted to sharpen farmers' understanding of the first study's results (benefit: other farmers learning to conduct studies);

  • Information regarding improved urea use practices is spread to other farmers (benefit: more farmers know about good fertilization practices);

  • Other farmers start using urea at more advantageous application rates (benefit: improved practice being implemented by x number of farmers);

  • The yields of farmers using the improved practices that were a result of the study (benefit: an increased yield of x per hectare, improved income, improved welfare, etc).

In a sense each successive IPM activity is the result of earlier IPM activities. Initial activities should lead to a long chain of activities and benefits. Besides identifying the benefits of IPM activities in the village, it is important to analyse why they came about. We want to know what caused these benefits. These causes are the strengths that are shared among IPM alumni, their groups or their community and that resulted from IPM training or IPM field activities. These strengths represent the potential for further development of the IPM movement in the village. They could include:

  • Alumni knowledge of ecology;

  • Alumni attitude changed from followers of traditional beliefs to creators of local knowledge by means of field studies;

  • Local government funds available for well-reasoned agricultural development plans;

  • Information network among alumni and other farmers;

  • IPM knowledge spread to non-IPM-trained farmers;

  • Critical thinking skills of IPM farmers;

  • Organizations formed and their activities;

  • Attitude of local leaders towards IPM, alumni, alumni organisations; etc.

Goal: Make participants aware of some of the benefits of the IPM activities conducted in their community and identify strengths to help in the planning of further IPM activities

Time: Two to three hours

Materials: 4" × 8" note cards, newsprint, felt-tipped pens


1. Divide the large group into small groups and ask each group to identify what they feel to be the main benefits of IPM activities. Ask each group to write on newsprint what they feel are specific examples of these benefits.

2. Have each group present its results. The results of each group's discussion, written on newsprint, should be attached to the wall and left there.

3. The facilitator should take several blank sheets of newsprint, attach them to the wall and begin to make a drawing with a farmer at the centre and drawings of the various benefits that have been identified displayed in a circle surrounding the central farmer. As the facilitator draws each benefit (use appropriate symbols for impact, for example, bags for rice yield), the participants should be asked to explain more about each benefit by identifying:

  • What: give an example of the benefit if one has not been presented;

  • Who, when, how and where should be included for clarification;

  • Why: have the group identify the strengths of IPM alumni and the community that were generated by IPM training and alumni-led activities that caused this benefit to arise.

4. The strengths or causes should be written on note cards and placed next to the drawing of the benefit circle. Where strengths arise in the context of more than one benefit, draw lines that connect these benefits. Thus there should be lines connecting the farmer (a symbol of all IPM alumni and the central or basic reason for the rise of all benefits) and each benefit and lines connecting benefits that share similar strengths/causes.

5. The facilitator can summarise the session by pointing out how different strengths or causes were connected to various benefits. The strengths that are identified here can be used as the basis for planning future activities.

Drawing of benefits identified by farmers

Farmers' analysis of strengths and causes

Indonesian farmer IPM trainers and IPM field trainers have developed several approaches to collecting data related to changes in farmers' practices. One approach seeks to improve recall by using a group activity. The first step is to conduct individual interviews with IPM alumni in the field to determine pre- and post-FFS practices. A drawing of the stages of plant development is often used to help with recall. The next step is to check the data through group analysis and discussion of interview results. The following is a participatory evaluation activity that was developed and used in West Java, Indonesia. Farmers wanted to know how they were benefiting by applying IPM principles, how they could improve their practices and influence others to apply IPM.

Box 7.2 A participatory financial analysis

An Indonesian IPM field leader working with a group of FFS alumni developed a participatory method for examining financial benefits from FFS training at the farm and group level. The field leader and the group wanted to follow up their FFS with an activity to determine the benefits of applying IPM. The activity that they designed consisted of the following steps:

  • The group attached large sheets of newsprint to the wall of their meeting place at the beginning of the planting season.

  • They then drew several columns on the newsprint.

  • The names of the group of 25 farmer alumni were on the far left side of the newsprint. Other columns were then identified for relevant background data and farming practices that they thought would be changed because of their FFS experience. The following are the column headings developed by the group.

Name Plot





Area Type Vol.

Kind Vol. Why



  • Based on what the group decided and wrote on the newsprint, each member made their own worksheet to keep track of their data on a weekly basis.

  • The group, using a large piece of painted plywood, set up a group worksheet for summarizing individual data. The data board was similar to individual worksheets.

Name Plot

Fertilizer (Kg)





Kind Vol. Why

Total number


  • Each week each member summarized the data in the appropriate columns after his or her name.

  • At the end of the season yields and costs were determined and benefits were examined.

  • The group then evaluated what changes they had made and compared them with their previous experience. Discussion focused on how individuals benefited from the changes, and what the average benefit was per individual in the group. (During discussion the group constructed a "baseline" for purposes of comparison).

7.3 Frameworks for analysis

Participatory evaluation of community IPM activities has generated a wide variety of data. The participatory activities presented above hint at some kinds of data that might be uncovered by an evaluation activity. Data will typically concern:

Three different frameworks have proven to be useful in the analysis of data to look at the benefits of community IPM at the individual and collective levels. These frameworks help in describing the extent to which farmers are successful in achieving their goals. The frameworks overlap somewhat and, depending on the requirements of the evaluation study, some facets of the frameworks may be more relevant for a given study than others. The three frameworks look at:

7.3.1 Relationships

Farmers are part of a web of relationships that constitute their world. Key relationships related to the analysis of the benefits of community IPM at the village level include:

Farmers and the agro-ecosystem: Farmers may take decisions to achieve a relationship in which they have greater control. They may be bound by myth into a relationship that places them in a position where they are mainly reactive to changing conditions. On the other hand, they may be free actors, aware of the range of options that exist or of their ability to create new options and the consequences of those options.

Farmers and farming: Farmers are in a relationship with their work. They may be passive recipients of technological packages, accepting what they are told regarding their farming practices. Or they may be farmers, because of their understanding of plant biology, agronomy and field ecology and of their ability to learn, test and adapt or reject inputs and ideas as they seek to employ economically and ecologically sustainable farming practices.

Farmers and money: Farmers tend to require credit assistance at specific times of the year. Their access to credit and the terms of that credit form the basis of this relationship. Farmers may be required to accept an in-kind credit package consisting of inputs that they don't need or they can act to change the shape of the credit package. The extent to which farmers can generate and manage resources to support their development would also be part of this relationship.

Farmers and policy: Local government policy, how officials implement policy and activities and whether farmers can act to influence policy are important elements in this relationship. Officials can follow policy, ignore it or use it to constrain farmers' freedom to make their own decisions as they manage their agro-ecosystems. Greater control over this relationship would include taking effective action against the misuse of policy or negotiating changes in inappropriate policy. Being able to change village policy regarding the use of village development funds to provide support to IPM activities would indicate a greater control over this relationship.

Farmers and other people: Farmers interact with a wide variety of people including other farmers, officials, their neighbours, and business people. Their attitudes toward these interactions are important. The changes in alumni attitudes as well as their changed status within these relationships form the basis for the analysis of this category of relationships.

An analysis of relationships should reveal whether and how these relationships have changed at the individual or at the collective level because of community IPM activities at the village level. Relevant issues to be considered are:

7.3.2 Social gains

Another way of examining the benefits of community IPM would be to determine the social gains that have accrued to alumni and their villages because of it. These benefits indicate an increased level of empowerment that is shared among farmers. Farmers who are empowered can take or organize actions regarding their own, their families' and their communities' development. The conditions referred to here are several and grow out of the relationships that were discussed above.

Access: Access refers to the ability and capacity of farmers to obtain the resources they need on favourable terms. Access is gained when their ability to obtain access on favourable terms to the resources they need is either newly established or enhanced. Access implies that farmers are able to identify, analyse and design projects or actions to further enhance their opportunities. Further, farmers can sell these activities to those who control resources.

Leverage: This is farmers' bargaining strength to obtain the resources they need. Leverage is gained when farmers can successfully make claims on needed resources.

Choices: This concerns the ability of farmers to make decisions by choosing among available options. Positive benefits in this case would include both increased options and increased ability to take a critical decision regarding those options.

Status: Community IPM in a village should result in an improved self-image, increased self-confidence and a positive sense of identity. On the other hand, community IPM activities should result in local officials, non-members of IPM organizations and others conferring an enhanced status upon these organizations and their members. For example, FFS alumni are sought out as members for village development committees because of, among other reasons, their analytical and planning skills.

Critical thinking capacity: The ability to accurately assess competing options (perhaps recommendations regarding agronomic practices) based on experience and knowledge. This might be a planning activity where farmers identify a problem, set priorities, assess options and develop action plans

7.3.3 The partial budget analysis

Evaluation studies often try to determine what changes farmers have made in the farming practices because of participating in an FFS. Box 7.2 indicates that farmers are interested in knowing about these changes and their benefits. Farmers and trainers conducting participatory evaluation studies in Indonesia and Viet Nam collected data on practice change to examine the benefit of applying IPM in their fields. The IPM principles point to the changes in farming practices that alumni can be expected to make because of their participation in a field school. The IPM principles include:

Data related to practice change can be assigned costs, and comparisons can be made between pre- and post-FFS practices related to economic benefits. The partial budget is a useful analytical tool in this context. Normally used as a planning tool, the partial budget examines changes made by farmers and the ensuing benefit of those changes on farmers' incomes. This is a straightforward analysis. The strength of the tool is that it provides a reliable indication of whether alumni benefit from the changes that they have made.

Box 7.3 A partial budget analysis

Note that data relate only to changes made in farming practices, in this case changes in fertilizer use and insecticide use. These are changes that have been made by IPM alumni because of training. Yields have also changed and it is assumed that the changes in yield relate directly to the changes made in farming practices. Because of changes in yield, returns to farmers have changed. Data are arrayed so that increases in costs or decreases in returns (negative benefits) due to changed practices can be compared with decreases in costs or increases in returns (positive benefits) due to changed practices.

Partial budget analysis: A pre-and post-training comparison of the financial status of 24 IPM alumni from Indramayu district, West Java, Indonesia.





Insecticide applications

Change in cost








5 450







6 200









65 772

39 065

1 560


104 000

2 452 500


83 370

56 680

39 975

3 705


2 790 000

(17 598)

(17 615)

(38 415)

(3 705)

104 000

26 667

337 500

Returns to alumni decisions

364 167

The above data indicate that there were changes in fertilizer use after training. The changes in rates of fertilizer application resulted in increased costs of Rp77 333. Reductions of insecticide use resulted in savings of Rp104 000. There was thus an increased saving of Rp26 667. Increased yields resulted in increased returns of Rp337 500. Savings plus increased returns reveal an average increased return to the management decisions of FFS alumni in Indramayu of Rp364 167.

7.4 A cautionary note on participatory evaluation

There are many effective participatory evaluation methods. There are those practitioners who hold that the use of a given set of methods guarantees that a study will be participatory. The point is not to what degree farmers are active in a given study; it is rather to what degree farmers control decisions and play a role in the different stages of an evaluation study, including control over the data collected in a study. The most participatory of methods can be used in an oppressive manner. The most formal of academic research methods can be used in an emancipating manner.

There is a wide range of categories of participation. In a farmer training project for example, types of participation may range from farmers sitting in a room during a training (farmers are participating in a training) to farmers managing and implementing the training (farmers own the training). In participatory evaluation, the important question to ask is: who will own the data? If farmers collect data as part of a study but outsiders take over the data for their own purposes, the study has not been very participatory.

In community IPM, participatory evaluation has not been simply a methodological issue. Instead of asking what is the best participatory method for collecting a given category of data, the question has been one of how to put farmers in control of a method that will help them to collect the data that they need to answer their questions. In the first case farmers would be assured of being involved in an evaluation activity, in the second case they would be assured of owning both the evaluation approach and the data that was collected.

[1] 1 See They know how for more background on both the analysis of changes in relationships and social benefits

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