Learning by doing: Designing and conducting impact assessment studies for citrus Farmer Field Schools in Vietnam

Nicetic, O., O’Leary, Z., Rae, D., Spooner-Hart, R., Van Chien, Ho and Van de Fliert, E. (2009). Learning by doing: Designing and conducting impact assessment studies for citrus Farmer Field Schools in Vietnam. In: , Proceedings of the Conference on integrated assessment of agriculture and sustainable development: Setting the Agenda for Science and Policy (AgSAP 2009). Integrated Assessment of Agriculture and Sustainable Development AgSAP 2009, Egmond aan Zee, The Netherlands, (512-513). 10-12 March, 2009.


Author Nicetic, O.
O’Leary, Z.
Rae, D.
Spooner-Hart, R.
Van Chien, Ho
Van de Fliert, E.
Title of paper Learning by doing: Designing and conducting impact assessment studies for citrus Farmer Field Schools in Vietnam
Conference name Integrated Assessment of Agriculture and Sustainable Development AgSAP 2009
Conference location Egmond aan Zee, The Netherlands
Conference dates 10-12 March, 2009
Proceedings title Proceedings of the Conference on integrated assessment of agriculture and sustainable development: Setting the Agenda for Science and Policy (AgSAP 2009)
Place of Publication Wageningen, The Netherlands
Publisher Wageningen University
Publication Year 2009
Sub-type Fully published paper
ISBN 9789085854012
Start page 512
End page 513
Total pages 2
Language eng
Abstract/Summary The Farmer Field School (FFS) is not just an extension method; it rather serves as a platform for adaptive research and experiential learning to address sustainable development of a complex agro-ecosystem, like that in citrus production. Actors of the platform include a variety of users: farmers; extension and technical personnel of government departments; nongovernment organizations and private companies; scientists from universities and research institutions; and government officials involved in policy making. Consequently, assessment of impact, and particularly sustainability aspects related to it, is very complex since it should not focus on farmers involved in the process alone, but on a suite of beneficiaries and the broader community. Ultimately, the results of the impact assessments and verdict on effectiveness of FFS will depend on who was included as an ‘object’ of the assessment. A further dilemma is who should conduct the evaluation: an ‘objective’ outsider with limited grounded knowledge about the underlying principles of the approach, or an insider with sufficient insight but who is potentially ‘subjective’ (Van den Berg & Jiggins, 2007). Another issue is precisely what should/can be measured. While economic indicators are commonly used, it can be extraordinarily difficult to identify and quantify all costs, as environmental and social indicators are often limited due to difficulties in capturing change and the cost involved in rigorous evaluation (Bartlett, 2005; Fleischer et al., 2004). We could state many more uncertainties about how to conduct impact assessment that leads us to conclude that there is no defined methodological protocol for assessing FFS. Differences in impact assessment methodology rather than differences in impacts themselves are a probable reason why several studies on impact and cost effectiveness of FFS had positive results, while some others come to less positive conclusions (Feder et al., 2004). This paper reports on impact assessment processes and outcomes of an AusAID CARD funded project conducted in 2005 and 2006, which initial goal was to implement IPM in citrus using the FFS approach. However, the actual interaction between project stakeholders (including Vietnamese and Australian researchers, trainers and farmers) during the course of FFS lead to a total reformulation of the citrus IPM strategies and practices. Farmers’ opinions and experiences in the first cycle of the learning process seemed more appropriate under the prevailing conditions than the methods determined by researchers in the initial FFS design. These interactive participatory learning processes that all project stakeholders went through became equally important in terms of capacity building as the implementation of the IPM FFS itself. We sought to assess the effectiveness of FFS in capacity building of all stakeholders taking in account impact of the process of development of new practices, not only the impact of the changed practices itself.
Q-Index Code E1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Journalism and Communication Publications
 
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Created: Sat, 04 Dec 2010, 10:05:55 EST by Associate Professor Elske Van De Fliert on behalf of School of Journalism and Communication