Development of a participatory extension approach - Ethiopia

National and international experts of the Support Programme for Herders in Ethiopia’s Boorana Region developed an extension concept for herder families. Until recently these nomads were regarded as backward and received little support from state officials. A recently implemented decentralisation move exerted a major impact on the elaboration and implementation of the concept. Changes in responsibilities called for the establishment of new working teams and new agreements and thus delayed the process for a short while. However, the stronger regional accountability of the new local decision makers should result in positive change.
There is little experience in the region, and within the responsible institutions, with participatory advisory work. Therefore a PACTeam member was contracted to evaluate the implementation approach and the experiences so far and to suggest improvements.
During discussions with all the stakeholders, two lines of development were focused on. First, it became obvious, that immediate and short-term successes of the advisory work is a key condition for motivation and active participation of the partners. For a successful programme this is as important as a thorough situation assessment. Thus contents and procedures were developed, that balanced the need for immediate activity and good and jointly performed situation analysis. The second focus was on institutional sustainability. Together we developed procedures that allow national project partner organisations to implement participatory extension methods on their own and within their means..
Based on this mission, the PACTeam advisor was asked to lead another international evaluation team. The central finding of this programme evaluation indicated that disaster relief and development work must go hand in hand. This was observed within the professional and effective project work undertaken during the drought years of 2000 and 2001. Dialogue with the concerned people identified the main difficulties for immediate survival and for later economic and social recovery. Measures then focused on the strengthening the self-help capacities of the concerned groups.