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FAO’s Socio-economic and Gender Analysis (SEAGA) Programme has developed an approach to development that is centred around an analysis of socio-economic patterns and participatory identification of women’s and men’s priorities. Over the last few years, FAO has developed a new comprehensive guide, “Rural households and resources: a guide for extension workers” to help extension and other community-based workers to understand the management of resources within and between households, and to grasp the implications of such resource management for agricultural production, food security and rural development. It is intended to help them apply a participatory and gender-sensitive approach in their planning with, and service to, rural households. The guide pays special attention to the impact of HIV/AIDS on rural households and their resources.

In field-testing, extension workers expressed the need for a complementary pocket edition that they could carry with them to the field. The result is this pocket guide, which summarises the key points outlined in the primary guide. It highlights many of the major issues affecting rural households, and provides users with ideas and tools for collecting, analysing and sharing information about constraints, opportunities and priorities faced by communities, households and individual household members.

While many of the examples are crop-based, the questions and issues can be adapted for use in forestry, fisheries and livestock initiatives. Rural livelihoods are not separate - rather they are complex, interlinked systems of activities. Throughout, there are questions to consider in terms of the impact of HIV/AIDS and other chronic illnesses as these have grave implications for the food security, livelihoods and overall well-being of millions of households.

Many individuals have been involved in the production of both the comprehensive and pocket editions of the Rural Households and Resources Guide. Nevertheless, users will undoubtedly find ways to improve the guide, and any such recommendations would be highly appreciated, and can be forwarded to

John Hourihan
Senior Officer, Gender and Development Service
and SEAGA Programme Coordinator

FAO’s socio-economic and gender analysis (SEAGA) approach

FAO’s SEAGA approach is rooted in an analysis of socio-economic patterns and the participatory identification of women’s and men’s priorities. The SEAGA approach uses a framework and participatory learning tools that help promote understanding about community dynamics, including the linkages among social, cultural, economic, demographic, and environmental patterns.

The SEAGA approach has three guiding principles at its centre:

The SEAGA approach also promotes the exploration of issues and solutions across and between three levels in society:

There are many specific terms used in the SEAGA approach and materials. These are not unique to SEAGA, but build on the experiences and concepts of many participatory learning approaches that have come before. A glossary is included in this pocket guide to provide clarification for readers unfamiliar with certain terms.

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