Major issues and recommendations
Social development programmes are considered to be successful to the extent that they produce the results intended by planners and policy makers. Thus, in retrospect, the immediate issues for deliberation, is to review whether the objectives of the action research project have been met. And, if not, what measures are to be taken to improve it. For this purpose, four areas of concern have been identified from the RUWFIC objectives. These are:
1. Participatory Model: this concept refers to (a) survey methodology and (b) evaluation and monitoring including "phasing-out responsibilities" of action research project with the active involvement of the target beneficiaries (Chart-l).
At the in-country implementing agency (IA) level, the survey activities include selecting the survey (project) sites, identifying the target beneficiaries, designing the survey questionnaires and schedules, training the interviewers and the target beneficiaries - all these leading to organizing and implementing the data collection in the first phase and implementing the income-generating projects (IGPs), and other operational requirements of the action research project in the succeeding phase.
The evaluation process starts with a socio-economic survey aimed at determining whether the objectives of the project have been achieved from the perspectives of both the overall project and the target beneficiaries. In the process of evaluation, the project planners/implementors and the target beneficiaries are expected to jointly identify the achievements/performances and problems of the project. The evaluation also helps work out follow-up action both for immediate and long-term needs of the target beneficiaries.
2. Non-Economic Role/Activities: Rural women have always been confined to their ascriptive role in the interior. However, it is now generally recognized that their preoccupation cannot confine them only to purely home-maker's functions. Wide involvement in non-economic or socio-cultural activities can be employed to make women a meaningful member of their family, community and society.
3. strengthening Women's Knowledge and Skills: Group Linkages and Access to Support Services: (a) Government policies and programmes should be re-examined in order that they explicitly recognize the specific needs of rural women in fishing communities. Issues that demand attention are:
CHART-1: SYNTHESIS OF CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK OF CIRDAP ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION
· opportunities for knowledge and acquisition through appropriate training to increase their efficiency;
· effective utilization of necessary support and extension services including credit and marketing facilities primarily intended for them;
· providing rural women with viable economic organizations to institutionalize and sustain their role in the development programmes;
· recognition of the important contribution of the rural women in the development of their household and the fishing community;
· sensitization of different disciplines, donor agencies and the overall scientific community including the national development agencies to monitoring of the impact of policies and programmes on rural women in fishing communities;
· concerned national agencies should organize trainers and training programme for those engaged in imparting new skills and technological knowledge to rural women in fishing communities for both economic and non-economic activities/roles;
· National government should coordinate with CIRDAP in documentation and information dissemination activities and on relevant research on rural women in fishing communities. National government may also designate correspondents to facilitate the sharing of information within the region.
4. Extension/Replication of the Project: The extension/replication of the action research project is premised on the viability and validity of the model in the context of other CMCs. The results have been claimed by in-country project coordinators to be encouraging enough in the first phase both from the standpoint of the project coordinators and the target beneficiaries. However, the pilot projects were implemented only in limited number of villages and the expansion of the project in some more areas/villages required a positive 'show-window' as model for replication. Thus, the existing pilot villages along with other adjacent or similar villages have to be resurveyed for "before and after" and "with and without" indepth analysis.
The provision of more training establishment of the desired IGPs in identified areas as well as the generation of revolving capital from any relevant sources would facilitate the successful expansion and replication of the project.
The human resource development approach among the field workers, local leaders and the target beneficiaries have proved to be extremely useful in the context of RUWFIC's participatory development process. As part of the training and equipping them more effectively, the field workers, target beneficiaries and the local leaders must be given refresher courses and new training courses on relevant technologies.
There should also be an overall plan to develop the required services and infrastructural facilities of the fishing community. Other viable projects should also be encouraged to help the socio-cultural and economic growth of the overall community.
It is realized that the project had, by and large, been able to achieve the set objectives. The need for such action research project for rural women in fishing communities was reaffirmed by all the participating countries in the project. There was need for extending the time and coverage of the project at the country level. Recommendations of the project could be grouped into two categories: one that required the attention of the participating CMCs; and (b) other by CIRDAP.
ATTENTION OF CMCS
(1) The importance of the project, particularly its role in enlisting the direct participation of fisherwomen in development activities was recognized. The project strategies should also be reflected in the overall national policies and programmes of the government.
(2) Greater attention should be given to the training components Village seminars, workshops and training programmes for the fisherwomen should be periodically followed up.
(3) The success of this type of action research projects would largely depend upon the inter agency coordination and the development of strong support services/policies. The project should be supported by the various agencies working at the community level and such efforts should be sustained by an appropriate coordinating council.
(4) Recognizing the crucial catalytic role of "Seed Money" in the implementation of the project and appreciating the difficulty in mobilizing resources from CMCs and disadvantaged rural communities at the initial stages, it is felt that the donor agencies should provide necessary financial backstopping to advance the on-going activities and expand the project in other villages/communities.
(5) As the income Generating Projects (IGPs) formulated and implemented under the project produced tangible results, therefore, additional IGPs should be supported with improved technologies in order to foster greater financial gain.
(6) The fisherwomen should be able to formulate and implement not only the fisheries related activities but also other "non-fishery" related IGPs. Such action research project should also take up health, nutrition, and children education, and other social services oriented programmes.
(7) The action research project activities among the rural women in fishing communities should also focus other aspects such as the environmental protection and promotion of the cultural participation of the fishing communities.
(8) Special emphasis should be on the aspects of monitoring, evaluation and documentation. Monitoring and evaluation activities should be continuously accomplished through participatory method. Institutional mechanism at the village level helps to monitor and evaluate project activities.
(9) The long-se, m success of any community action programme may attribute to the existing local level organizations and their supports. Therefore, greater participation of these organizations as well as the non-government organizations (NGOs), should be continued and encouraged.
ATTENTION OF CIRDAP
(1) The action research project should be supported by CIRDAP for additional period in order to sustain the momentum generated during its first phase. Such support would enable ClRDAP/CMCs to continue the monitoring and evaluation activities of the existing projects and multi-location testing with a view to determining the possibilities of its nation-wide replication.
(2) Regional experience sharing is important. A programme may be devised which could facilitate a continuous sharing of experiences and information on the development of fisheries and the fishing communities among CMCs through different forums and consultation meetings. Documentation of success stories relating to action research project on fishing communities, particularly, the fisherwomen should be made and disseminated through the CMCs.
(3) Close supervision of activities by both the Link Institution and relevant professional staff of CIRDAP is important. Such supervision through occasional visits to the project sites is helpful in effective project implementation exercises.
(4) The important role of donor countries and agencies in promoting the participation of fisherwomen in development activities and improving the quality of life in the fishing communities is recognized. CIRDAP project activities in fishing communities should be supported by the donor countries and agencies in its efforts to expand action research activities/experiences on RUWFIC in other CMCs.