1. On household livelihood strategies
The increasingly numerous organizations adopting the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach, on which much of the discussion of livelihoods in Module 1 is based, provide a rich resource for looking at a variety of different aspects of household livelihood strategies. Here are just some of the more important websites and sources for information on this.
The website of the UKs Department for International Development (DFID) and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) has a great deal of information on Sustainable Livelihoods Approaches, including theoretical discussions, guidelines for the implementation of SLA and a wide range of case studies and discussion groups about SL practice.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been at the forefront of the development of sustainable livelihoods approaches, and much of the documentation regarding this is available on the website.
The Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Livelihoods Programme of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) also has extensive literature and links regarding rural livelihoods. The institute has a long history of research in this area and has been at the forefront of developing appropriate research methodologies for looking at household livelihoods.
The World Bank also has extensive literature available on livelihoods.
2. On local institutions
Some of the centres that offer resources, information and tools for looking at local institutions are listed below. There is some repetition from those mentioned above.
The World Bank has undertaken several research programmes that have dealt with different aspects of local institutions and related topics. Documentation on the results of these studies and the methodologies used can be found on its website.
The Forestry and Land Use Programme of the IIED is in the process of developing a series of analytical tools (Power Tools) for looking at policy and institutional issues, specifically concerned with forest governance but certainly more generally applicable. The set includes tools for conceptualizing and mapping policies and institutions, analyzing stakeholders, developing strategies for influencing policies and institutions, and means of looking at the rights, responsibilities, revenues (benefits) and relationships involved in institutions and policies.
3. Field methods
There is a vast range of resources available that can provide detailed information on many of the methods suggested in these guidelines for carrying out an investigation in the field. These methods are drawn to a large extent from the methods associated with participatory appraisal and participatory learning and action, but the sources below will also provide guidance on the application of the quantitative methods referred to.
While these sources can provide much useful information about carrying out participatory investigations in the field, the limits of secondary sources need to be recognised. Manuals or guidelines can be extremely useful for investigators and field workers who already have some experience and clear ideas about how to carry out an investigation. They can help to remind them of techniques or introduce them to new methods and approaches. But it is not possible for someone with no experience of field investigations to take a set of guidelines (including these guidelines) and expect to be able to conduct an investigation based only on what she or he reads.
Particularly for the participatory approaches to field investigation suggested throughout much of these guidelines, proper preparation is an essential element. This means that key members of the team carrying out the investigation should have either received training in participatory investigation and facilitation skills or have considerable experience of carrying out such investigations. This does not mean that team members should necessarily have already done investigations specifically looking at household livelihood strategies and local institutions. But they should have a good familiarity with the key field methods mentioned in the guidelines - semi-structured interview techniques, focus group discussions, visualization methods such as mapping and diagramming, as well as with quantitative survey approaches.
Ideally, any team carrying out an investigation like this should be trained, in other words given time to focus on the methods it is going to use, consider various alternatives, practice them, adjust them and decide on a best approach. During such training, access to some of the resources mentioned below can be extremely valuable. As many of these resources on field methods are available on the worldwide web, they are organized below according to the organizations that have produced them or the host websites where they can be found.
This website, hosted by the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK, has probably the most complete set of links currently available to web resources worldwide relating to development issues in general and to different methods and approaches for development work and investigation in the field in particular. Most of the sites mentioned here can be found through this site. The section on participation is particularly valuable for a wide range of web resources on field approaches.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Several departments within the FAO have produced useful documents providing guidance on methods, approaches and specific tools that can be used in a wide variety of field conditions. Many of these can be adapted for use during the investigation described in these guidelines. Some of the most comprehensive publications from different divisions of the FAO are mentioned below.
The Sustainable Development Department of the FAO has developed a very complete range of documentation on participatory approaches to field investigation as part of the SEAGA (Socio-Economic and Gender Analysis) programme. Information about the programme is available at the above web address. Documentation includes a series of Handbooks (field-level, intermediate and macro-level), and several guides about specific aspects of analysis of household livelihoods.
The Community Forestry Unit has numerous publications available looking at field methods. Some of the most useful include:
Community forestry: rapid appraisal, 1989.
The communitys toolbox: the idea, methods and tools for participatory assessment, monitoring and evaluation in community forestry, 1990.
Participation Website of the Informal Working Group on
This site provides a wide range of very useful online publications and materials describing different participatory approaches, methods and tools. Some of the most useful resources of the site include:
Field Tools Database of participatory approaches, methods and tools, developed or applied by FAO and other organizations. Powerful search options help access detailed information on different methods and tools;
Participation Library Database of FAO publications on participation in development;
Lessons Learned articles reflecting experiences in applying participatory processes;
Links to organizations and websites.
4. Complementary research programmes
The research programmes outlined below were being carried out at the same time (but in different countries) as the FAO Rural Development Divisions programme on Rural Household Income Strategies for Poverty Alleviation and Interactions with the Local Institutional Environment. Although they share certain research questions related to the institutional elements of rural households livelihood strategies, they differ in several important ways.
Local Level Institutions (World Bank)
The World Banks Local Level Institutions (LLI) Study is a cross-national study programme of local institutional landscapes that seeks to determine what makes some communities stronger than others in playing a positive role in their own development. The Social Development Department of the World Bank, with the Poverty Group, has conducted the LLI in three countriesIndonesia, Bolivia and Burkina Faso. In addition to the measures used in a study carried out in Tanzania (Narayan and Pritchett 1997), the LLI studies include more detailed qualitative information on service delivery issues, with subsequent quantification of these variables. Results from the studies demonstrate that the questionnaire items do in fact capture different dimensions of social capital at the household and community levels, and that certain dimensions of social capital do indeed contribute significantly to household welfare.
Main thrust of the LLI methodology:
1. Key informant interviews on community services, local economy/society/institutions;
2. Household group interviews on service quality, collective action / local institutions / development projects;
3. Interviews with leaders, members and non-members of most important institutions on the role and development of village institutions, main activities, relations with other institutions, strengths and weaknesses.
This was supplemented by secondary data collected at district level, and a household survey aimed to capture households actual participation in local institutions, their use of services, and information that identifies the welfare level of households and their coping strategies.
The LLI approach differs from the one proposed in the present manual in that it is based primarily on an exploration of household membership in local associations, making an important contribution to the objective and quantified measurement of the effects of such membership, but not emphasizing their rules of the game, macro-policy context, power relations or intra-household/community differentiation/stratification.
For analytical purposes, the LLI classified institutions by affiliation and function, origin, type of organization (in-/formal), and degree of importance to the household (WB 1998, p.6).
D. Narayan and L. Pritchett, 1997. Cents and Sociability - Household Income and Social Capital in Rural Tanzania. Policy Research Working Paper No. 1796. World Bank, Washington, D.C.
World Bank, 1998. The Local Level Institutions Study: Program Description and Prototype Questionnaires. Local Level Institutions Working Paper No. 2, Social Development Department, World Bank, Washington, D.C.
More recently, a further study called the Local Level Institutions and Social Capital Study has been carried out in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Full reports on this work, along with the methodologies used, are available on the World Bank website.
The Initiative on Defining, Monitoring and Measuring Social Capital (World Bank)
To advance the definition and measurement of social capital, to help advance the theoretical understanding and the practical relevance of this concept, to improve monitoring of its stock, evolution and impact on development, the Social Capital Initiative (SCI) was started in October 1996 with a triple goal:
1. to assess the impact of social capital on project effectiveness;
2. to demonstrate that outside assistance can help in the process of social capital formation; and
3. to contribute to the development of indicators for monitoring social capital and methodologies for measuring its impact on development.
Project proposals were selected on the basis of their perceived ability to test two hypotheses:
I. The presence of social capital improves the effectiveness of development projects; and
II. Through select donor-supported interventions, it is possible to stimulate the accumulation of social capital.
The broad formulation of these hypotheses was intentional so as to make possible a wide array of interventions and monitoring methodologies. In addition, since one of the goals of the project is to encourage different approaches to the measurement and monitoring of social capital, innovation in methodology was a prime consideration for project selection, as was the ability to obtain results within a two-year time horizon.
The (eleven) studies that constitute the empirical centre of the SCI examine, using a wide variety of qualitative and quantitative methods, the role that social capital can play in the provision of goods and services, the reconstruction or revitalization of social capital after conflict or political transition, rural development efforts, and enterprise development. Several activities were implemented by the SCI team to provide conceptual and bibliographical support to the research projects. These include conceptual work about the notion of social capital, the development of a tool to measure social capital (SCAT, the Social Capital Assessment Tool), micro- and macroeconomic literature reviews, and an annotated bibliography. Final papers were completed by the research teams in preparation for the final event of the Initiative, a working conference entitled Social Capital and Poverty Reduction, held at the World Bank on June 22 - 24, 1999.
Main thrust of the SCI methodology (following SCAT, taken from Krishna and Shrader 1999):
1. Community profile, which integrates participatory qualitative methods with a community survey instrument to assess various dimensions of community-level social capital, including community assets identification, collective action, solidarity, conflict resolution, community governance and decision-making, institutional networks, and organizational density;
2. Household survey, which includes a 39-item battery on structural social capital and a 21-item battery on cognitive social capital, field tested as a stand-alone instrument or as one that can be incorporated into ongoing survey research;
3. Organizational profile designed to delineate the relationships and networks that exist among formal and informal institutions, integrating semi-structured interview data with a scoring system for assessing organizational capacity and sustainability.
The SCI approach differs from the one proposed in the present manual in that it is based primarily on social capital as an (innovative and welcome) entry point to poverty reduction, rather than on an assessment of the ways in which the local institutional landscape is linked to household (members) income-generation, in support of which social capital (social cohesion) is but one variable to consider, and which leaves policy options relatively open.
Krishna and E. Shrader, 1999. Social Capital Assessment Tool. Ppaper prepared for the conference on Social Capital and Poverty Reduction, held at the World Bank in June.
LORPA (CDR Denmark)
The Local Organizations and Rural Poverty Alleviation (LORPA) research programme of the Danish Centre for Development Research was established early in 1996. LORPAs thrust is in analysing and assessing the role and capacity of different types of local organizations to bring about poverty reduction, the research programme is concerned with both their technical and their political capacities [...] (Webster 1998: 7). The study of the conditions necessary for local interventions to address the programmes poverty reduction objectives brought to the fore the following main research needs, which circumscribe the programmes parameters:
1. the need to understand how different forms of state-local relations affect and shape the conditions for a rural development strategy with a strong pro-poor dimension and to what extent a democratic orientation for this development is necessary or feasible;
2. the need to understand the role of identity and identity formation (ethnicity, gender, religion, occupation, etc.) as a basis for collective action amongst the rural poor and as a basis for developing more sustainable local institutions generally. A particular focus should be upon the role of institution formation/reformation in markets central to particular groups of the poor, e.g. irrigation, land, credit, agricultural labour;
3. the need to theoretically assess local institutions relationship to the poor, in comparison to other institutions, particularly the degree to which different local institutions can better facilitate the poors mobilization and participation in development;
4. the need to further develop the analysis of the role of national and international institutional actors in the generation/denial/control of political space to local organizations through their advocacy of specific policies and use of particular development discourses, and the different types of political space that their activities can give rise to.
At the methodological level, LORPA has sought to contribute to the drafting of inter-disciplinary fieldwork strategies including a number of mapping exercises, beginning with organizations and organizing practices, and poverty. The approach differs from the one proposed in the present manual in the scope, sequencing and timeframe of research, and the prime focus and unit of analysis: poverty (LORPA) rather than income-generating activities (at household level) constitutes the interface at which the linkages between households and institutions are assessed. It must be added that LORPA includes a much larger number of researchers (and topics) who are left with ample margins for manoeuvre, with a comparative basis being assured by the information needs listed above. (An example drawn from the work of LORPA has been adapted and included in Module 6.)
N. Webster, 1998. Introduction in N. Webster (ed.), In Search of Alternatives: Poverty, the Poor and Local Organisations. Prepared for the Centre for Development Research workshop on Local Organizations and Rural Poverty Alleviation (LORPA), Tune, Denmark, Aug., Working Paper 98.10.
GAIL (IUED Geneva)
The Guide dApproche des Institutions Locales (GAIL), a Guide on how to approach local institutions, presents a methodology to study local actors in the rural context. GAIL targets formal local institutions and organizations, concentrating on those directly linked to local government. For analytical purposes, the Guide defines local government broadly to include all local institutions fulfilling certain tasks accruing to local government (production and management of goods, public services or of general interest), be they or not conferred the legal status to do so. Thus, issues such as legitimacy, willingness and capacity are explored, and the way in which these relate to local-level administration, local organizations (e.g., village committees, farmers coops, etc.), and community institutions (e.g., a lineage, or the village); the latter are either community institutions by birth (communautés dappartenance) or community institutions by choice (communautés dadhésion).
J.-P. Jacob et al., 1994. Guide dApproche des Institutions Locales (GAIL): Methodologie detude des acteurs locaux dans le monde rural. Itineraires, Notes et Travaux No. 40, Geneva: IUED/SEREC.