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In June of 1988, in the small town of Kisumu, on the shore of Lake Victoria in Kenya a workshop on participatory monitoring and evaluation was held. It was sponsored by the FAO/SIDA Forests, Trees and People Programme, CARE International and the Ford Foundation; and was attended by people from many countries. In the year preceding the workshop, case studies on the information systems of six forestry projects in East Africa had been done by a team of researchers. The results of the workshop, and the case studies have been reported in "Proceedings of the National Agroforestry Monitoring and Evaluation Methodology Project (AFMEMP) Workshop".
The field staff who attended this workshop expressed their concern that although "participation" was now considered essential for sustainable and successful community/social forestry, there was little information available to them on "how to do it". As one workshop participant said: "I'm convinced that participation is necessary, but when I return to my country and the communities I work with, I don't know where to begin!".
Soon after the workshop, D'Arcy Davis-Case, a forester specializing in grass-roofs participation and a member of the AFMEMP case study team, began putting together a concept paper on this topic for the FAO/SIDA Forests, Trees and People Programme. The concept paper is now being followed by this field manual, which has been built on the needs expressed by field staff f at the AFMEMP workshop; and based on field staff experiences. Many of the traditional monitoring and evaluation methods and tools have been adapted to be more participatory. The result is "The Community's Toolbox".
The manual is organized into Three Sections. Section One introduces the idea, and benefits to be gained from a new approach. This section also provides some two-way communication exercises for field staff. Section Two provides the methods for determining information needs, and ways that information can be analyzed and presented. Section Three describes the information collecting tools, and offers some suggestions for selection of tools.
Because the manual will be used by field staff in many countries of the world, the illustrator has used simple drawings so that differences such as nationality, culture, dress and race are not a problem. Three distinct categories of people are characterized in the illustrations.
"Insiders" are those who belong to the community. They are distinguished by textured clothing.
"Outsiders" (frequent) are field staff who visit the communities often. They look the same as insiders except that they do not have textured clothing.
"Outsiders" (infrequent) are those who seldom visit the communities. They are characterized by sunglasses and a clipboard
New ideas take time to develop. We invite you to be flexible, adaptive, creative and critical when using this field manual. Share your experiences with others and with us, so that we can continue to build on this approach.
We hope you enjoy using "The Community's Toolbox", and we look forward to hearing from you.
Marilyn Hoskins, Senior Community
FAO/SIDA Forest, Trees and People Programme
Via delle Tame di Caracalla,
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