The developing world is not lacking in successful grassroots initiatives for natural resource management (NRM) but few of these have spread beyond their initial limited domain. The issue of scaling up has recently gained attention based on the argument that these successful local NRM initiatives should be scaled up to a level that generates larger economic and environmental benefits more rapidly. The aim of this study was to improve our understanding of the process of scaling up grassroots NRM initiatives so as to be better able to plan and implement scaling up interventions. To address this aim, a case study was undertaken of the Landcare Program in the southern Philippines, a grassroots NRM initiative in the Municipality of Claveria that was scaled up to various other municipalities in the same region.
The study used an actor-oriented approach, one that recognises the central role of various social actors and their different perspectives, and that emphasises the dynamic interaction between internal and external factors in any process of social change. Scaling up was viewed as a process of planned intervention, the results of which depend on the perspectives and actions of multiple actors. The notion of scaling up thus involves finding a balance between a universalist perspective, where broad principles and practices are believed to be applicable to a wide band of situations, and a contextualist perspective, which emphasises local initiative and demand.
A case study design with four embedded cases was used to address three key objectives: (1) to understand why the Landcare Program has been successful in the original site; (2) to determine how the Landcare Program has been scaled up to other sites; and (3) to investigate how the Landcare Program could be enabled to work on a much broader scale. The case study sites were the Municipalities of Claveria, the original Landcare site, and three scaling-up sites, namely Lantapan, Malitbog, and Manolo Fortich, all in Bukidnon Province in the northern Mindanao region. The case studies were based on a variety of quantitative and qualitative data derived from documentary sources, key informants, semistructured interviews, focus group discussions, and participant observation.
The Landcare Program flourished in a favourable environment like Claveria, where locally adapted technologies had emerged, the local government was supportive and worked with farmers and other agencies, and the regional program of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) provided long-term facilitation and technical support. The landcare approach was effective in tenns of promoting teclmology adoption (particularly natural vegetative strips (NVS), a simple fonn of contour barrier), building farmer institutions, and establishing partnerships.
The scaling up of Landcare in multiple sites utilised different modes to adapt to local situations. In particular, the direct involvement of ICRAF was progressively reduced to test the capabilities of other partners. Local government support was strong in one case and limited in the others, hence the landcare approach as developed in Claveria was modified, as it was adapted in the other sites. Nevertheless, the overall outcomes were impressive with increased human and social capital enabling fanners to adopt soil conservation and agroforestry technologies. A comparison of the case-study sites permitted the identification of preconditions for successful modes of scaling up.
The greater challenge in scaling up is to replicate the conditions that made the Landcare Program work in Northern Mindanao in other geographic locations. A competent and committed agency is needed to create new nodes of diffusion for Landcare in other regions. A broader enabling environment that promotes rapid scaling up is desirable, but in the absence of such an environment, the Landcare Program requires a variety of modes of scaling up and the involvement of multiple actors. A conceptual framework was developed to facilitate the identification of potential sites and suitable modes. The framework focuses on the interaction of four key factors, namely the nature of the scaled up program, the local context, the institutional capacity to scale up, and the use of effective implementation strategies.