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Rapid rural appraisal, participatory rural appraisal and aquaculture. SUMMARYRRA consists of a set of guidelines which help people to work in a. How these. guidelines and tools are used depends very much on what users need and.
An overview is given of the different types of RRA tools, how they are. RRA”. Many “definitions” of RRA have been offered by different people who have worked.
RRA is or should be. The fact that it is difficult to give a. RRA is a reflection of the fact that it is very flexible - it is a. Not surprisingly everybody seems to think RRA “is” what they have.
So it is probably best to avoid “definitions” and just describe the features which. RRAs seem to have in common.
RRA essentially consists of the following: an activity carried out by a group of people from different professional fields or. RRAit usually involves collecting information by talking directly to people “on the. These features are just about the “bottom line” with RRA but everything else is.
Box 1 lays out a set of “guidelines” for RRA. These are characteristics which most. RRAs have in common. If you like, they are the “principles” of RRA. They are not. a set of instructions but people who are doing RRAs need to keep these in mind and. So, for example, if someone working on an aquaculture project wants to use RRA. BOX 1. RRA Guidelines• Structured but flexible.
RRA is a structured activity requiring careful planning, clear objectives, the right balance of people involved and a good choice of tools and techniques for use in the field. At the same time, it is flexible enough to respond to local conditions and unexpected circumstances. Progress is reviewed constantly so that new information can be understood and the focus of the RRA redirected.• Integrated and interdisciplinary. RRA helps “outsiders” to learn about rural conditions by looking at them from many points of view.
This means having people participating with a variety of different technical and scientific skills and a balance of different institutional outlooks. This requires an integrated development approach which cuts across institutional and disciplinary boundaries.• Awareness of bias. Researchers and development workers who are trying to understand rural conditions can be biased by their urban attitudes, their own professional and personal priorities, the type of transport they use, the language they speak. The people researchers talk to can be biased as well by their limited experience, their customs and beliefs and their own interests and those of their families. RRA seeks to avoid biases by being aware of them and by being systematic in taking into account different points of view and different sets of interests.• Accelerating the planning process. RRA tries to shorten the time it takes to get from knowing nothing about an area or a situation to deciding what development interventions might be best for that area by using key informants, careful observation and by exploiting the knowledge and experience of local people.
The information produced is analysed “on the spot” and presented in a form which is more easily used by planners and which can be discussed and understood by local people themselves.• Interaction with and learning from local people. Whatever the purpose of the RRA it must involve the people who are the intended “beneficiaries” of any eventual development activities.
RRA should give them the opportunity to describe their lives and conditions. The people carrying out an RRA must be prepared to listen to local people and learn from them.
Participation by local people can take many forms but any RRA will involve intense interaction between researchers, planners, traditional and formal authorities and local people.• Combination of different tools. The RRA approach uses a combination of communication and learning tools. These tools help outsiders to observe conditions in a concise but systematic way. They also allow local people to present their knowledge, concerns and priorities to outsiders.
The combination of different tools and techniques builds up a more complete picture where different viewpoints can be compared and contrasted. The systematic cross- checking of information collected in different ways by different people from different sources can increases accuracy and comprehensiveness.• Iterative. During an RRA, what has been learnt is constantly reviewed and analysed in the field. This is usually done in workshops carried out at regular intervals. This means the focus of the RRA, the tools used and the people talked to can be adjusted constantly. Obviously, these guidelines leave plenty of room for the people using RRA to. For example, if the most important.
RRA is to collect information quickly, they. If. one of the principal concerns is to get local people involved as much as possible, the. RRA would probably have to be looser and more time allowed for.
Box 2 gives some examples of how aquaculture workers might want to adjust the. BOX 2. RRA Guidelines for Aquaculturists. Aquaculture RRA in an integrated rural development programme. If aquaculture workers are being asked to develop aquaculture activities in a particular area as part of an integrated area development programme, they might want to conduct an RRA to “zone” the area and identify existing and potential land and water uses. Their concern would be to decide where aquaculture would be a good use of land and water compared to other uses.
To do this, the important features of their RRA would be the involvement of a multidisciplinary team which can look at a wide range of different land uses, analyse the environmental factors “on the spot” and come to rapid conclusions about priorities for particular areas. Participation of local people at this stage might be relatively limited if the idea was to establish what activities are technically and environmentally feasible in different zones. Aquaculture RRA in a poverty alleviation project.
In a situation where it is already known that aquaculture is technically and environmentally feasible but project planners are specifically interested in finding out whether the benefits of aquaculture can be directed towards particularly poor groups in the community the emphasis of an RRA would be very different. It would probably be less important to have a wide range of technical disciplines involved but much more important to spend time discussing issues such as land tenure, access to water, community dynamics and power structure with local people. The people carrying out the RRA would have to pay great attention to the potential biases of the different people and groups they talk to and carefully cross- check the different opinions they hear. Special efforts would be required to talk to “invisible” groups in the community such as women and old people who would normally be difficult to contact. The examples in Box 2 are just two ways in which aquaculture workers might take. RRA guidelines and concentrate their attention on them. That would not mean ignoring the other elements but simply adjusting the emphasis.
RRA to fit their requirements in a particular situation. Many of the people and organisations who have worked on RRA and contributed to.
RRA and would want to see specific reference to being “participatory” in the. Instead, use of the term here has been specifically avoided. Clearly, to do RRA properly you have to talk to people and this is a form of. But the term “participation” or. Given that some of. By saying that “participation” is essential to RRA there is a risk that some people. RRA is “not for them”.
They may be right when they assume this, but. RRA be based on the usefulness of RRA as. RRA should not be discarded because people think it's something that's only.
NGOs or social activists. For the purposes of this document, as clear distinction has been made between. Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) and Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) precisely. RRA is regarded here as a set of.
PRA is used to specifically refer to a use of RRA approaches and tools. It therefore clearly has important political and social connotations. Apart from the guidelines above, the other main“component” of RRA is a set of.
RRA collect information. There is extensive documentation available on these RRA tools. In addition, a brief description of these tools is given in Appendix 2. Here a general picture of the different types of tools and how they can be combined. RRA is presented.
The range of tools used in RRA is constantly growing as people working in the field. Many aquaculturists working in the field may have their. RRA provided they can be. However, when taking part in or. RRA people need to. Sometimes the. tools and techniques which. It can. often be very difficult to transfer.
BOX 3. Adapting RRA techniques to local circumstances. In Tanzania, one researcher with considerable RRA experience in Asian countries but little African experience (and no local language skills), was told by local colleagues' that a formal village meeting was an important first step to doing any village- level research but was so confident that “he knew what he was doing” that he chose to ignore their advice and approach individual households directly without holding any kind of preliminary meeting. After a few days of attempting to carry out a village RRA in this way, he was forced to accept that people could not be approached in remote villages with little experience of outsiders without first being publicly “cleared” by the village authorities. But by that time people were so suspicious of his intentions that it became very difficult to do any further work at all. Box 3 gives one example of how.
Many other elements in. RRA are subject to similar variation. Just as an example, different types of mapping. RRAs but in some cultures people may have great. Similarly a mapping exercise with people. The way people. conceive of and represent their environment and surrounding are very different and. Whoever is doing an RRA has to learn.
Combining RRA tools.