FAOs 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 womens and mens 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior Officer, Gender and Development Service
and SEAGA Programme Coordinator
FAOs SEAGA approach is rooted in an analysis of socio-economic patterns and the participatory identification of womens and mens 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:
Gender roles and relations are of key importance for understanding and improving the livelihoods of rural people.
Disadvantaged people are a priority in development initiatives. The differential distribution of wealth affects the poorest and most disadvantaged in terms of their ability to access resources.
Participation is essential for sustainable development, and all activities must address the needs, priorities and capacities of communities, households and individual household members.
The SEAGA approach also promotes the exploration of issues and solutions across and between three levels in society:
The Field Level focuses on people, including women and men as individuals, socio-economic differences among households, and communities as a whole.
The Intermediate Level focuses on structures, such as institutions and services, that function to operationalise the links between macro and field levels, including communications and transportation systems, credit institutions, markets and extension, programmes and health and education services.
The Macro Level focuses on policies and plans, both international and national, economic and social, including trade and finance policies and national development plans.
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.