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Conf Rpt: Natural Res section World Congresses (fwd)

Dear SAEd-Share subscribers;


Here is a brief report on the World Congresses Participatory Action
Research conference in Cartagena, Colombia May 30-June 6, 1997. I attended
the section on Democratic Use of Natural Resources, for whom Robert
Chambers (University of Sussex and =Farmer First= fame) acted as Resource
Person. This section featured watershed planning and community-based
farming and fishing educational programs for environmental improvement.


The city itself -- Cartagena -- is a beautiful 'Caribe' city with wonderful
people and older (1500s) colonial Spanish architecture. The Conference
Center itself is grand and modern, including plenary rooms with booths for
translators and many high-tech sound-and-light effects. Surrounding the Old
City are tourist hotels, poorer barrios on the hillside, busy fishing
villages, and suburbs connecting them to each other.


Here are the papers that were given in this section. Soon the papers should
be available via the Cornell PAR-Net Web site.

(1) David Deshler and Kwesi Opoku-Debrah. Farmer Participatory Research:
Ghanian Farmer Experiments for Agriculture and Natural Resource Management.
U.S.A. (Dave Deshler is one of the advisors to SAEd-Share-L and a professor
at Cornell. His e-mail is: jdd8@cornell.edu.

(2) Fanny Becera e Ismael Acosta Morales. "Proceso de ordenameinto
pesquero." Colombia. (Fanny and I spent much time discussing the details of
our projects, particularly *how* facilitators work with farmers and fishing
people to talk about environmental improvement. She is a social worker.)

(3) Guunter Meinert y Robert Dilger. "Esta'n las instituciones en
condiciones de aguantar tanta participacio'n?" Colombia. These folks work
with Fanny and Ismael on the same project with fishing families.

(4) Helen Ritchie. "Will Action Deliver Democratic Decisions over Resources
in Agricultural Environments? A Case Study of Landcare Groups in Waikato,
New Zealand." New Zealand. (I was also pleased to meet Helen and we had
lots to compare talking about Canada, U.S. and New Zealand. Helen also
translated my paper into Spanish during my presentation (below).)

(5) Juan Gavira. "La planificacio'n participativa del uso del paisaje en el
contexto del desarrollo regional." Colombia.

(6) Nancy Grudens-Schuck and Don Hill. "Democratic action and participatory
research in an environmental education program for farmers in Canada: local
farmers knowledge." U.S. and Canada. My co-author Don Hill is a farm leader
who helped design and manage the Ontarion Environmental Farm Plan program,
the subject of the paper. He could not attend the conference himself.

(7) Patrick Christie, Bertha Simmons and Oswaldo Morales. "A longitudinal
study of the viability of a participatory action-research process in the
Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. Patrick is a graduate student and his e-mail
is: Patrickc@u.washington.edu.

(8) Helle M. Ravnborg (Colombia, CIAT). I don't have her title, but she
gave a really nice paper on a participatory watershed planning program in
Colombia that used some PRA, funded through , I think,               CIAT.

(9) Timmi Tillmann y Maruja Salas. I don't have the title of their paper,
but this couple presented work on the community-based PRA-type facilitation
in a Peruvian village, much of it visual. M. Salas is an anthropologist who
has done other wonderful work as well. Timmi Tillmann (Germany) chaired our
session as well.

In his plenary address, Robert Chambers talked about the challenges of
large-scale programs that use PRA and other participatory methods.


As I have shared with SAEd- subscribers in the past, I don't speak Spanish.
Certainly I got less from this event than otherwise. Most of the
presentations were in Spanish and translation was not always available.

The tranlation difficulties made interesting attempts to solve the problem.
For example, when we first realized that our translator was not going to
show, participants in our conference section decided to split the
English-speakers and the Spanish-speakers into separate groups.
English-langauge papers would be given to English-speakers, and vice versa.
But this was unacceptable, really. Why meet together and stay separate. So
exhausted the talents of our bilingual participants -- a burden for them
but we are very grateful -- and managed decent translation for most papers.

I am not sure whether there will be translations of the full papers into
the other language. The 400-word abstracts of the papers should mostly be
in two languages.

Well, that is all I can manage. I am very pleased that I attended. The
Cornell contingent numbered about nine I think (7 grad students and two

Nancy GS


Nancy Grudens Schuck
Graduate Student
Cornell University

Mailing address (Aug. '96-July '97)

14 Home Street Apt. 202
Guelph, Ontario, N1H 2E5

E-mail: ng13@cornell.edu