Approach Followed and Promoted
Interactive learning – Given its goal of capacitating key actors, SA PPLPP promotes a learning by doing, learning by using and learning by interacting approach. Its work is not about copying concepts (pro-poor, gender, systemic thinking, etc.) but about internalizing the same. It is also about perceiving mistakes as a learning opportunity, a focus on monitoring and recording the process as a mean to reflect and adapt.
Rather than trying to draw an exhaustive picture of reality, by being systemic SA PPLPP helps focus on dynamics and patterns to build hypotheses on how a system functions and performs. This allows identification of specific angles and levers for intervention and change. This worldview also implies that livestock systems are recognised as complex and dynamic, which are affected by many factors, including fe/male farmers’ access to resources, knowledge and skills, consumer demands, national and international policies, religious, social and cultural (RSC) aspects. Paying attention to aspects like RSC also implies that animals mean much more than only a means of producing milk, eggs or offspring; their role in providing draught power, manure, security, bank-on-hooves, prestige, offering are often overlooked, while they are central to traditional notions of ‘kamdhenu’, signifying the cow as a ‘mother’ that provides everything.
Practical use of the Systems Perspective by SA PPLPP
a) The 9 Square Mandala, a heuristic tool that provides a holistic framework or a multi-focal looking glass to understand rural livelihood systems was used to analyse the impact of poultry intervention on Intra-household Nutrition, Women Empowerment and Gender dynamics for a study titled ’ Poultry Based Livelihoods of rural poor: Case of Kuroiler in West Bengal’ .
The use of this systems tool revealed that all livelihood squares are inter-related and change in one square of the Mandala has an affect on the other squares thereby stressing the underlying importance of linking up the ‘bigger livelihood picture’ to fully understand the complexities of a livelihood system.
For example, during the field study, an important finding documented was that policy decisions to ban backyard poultry by the Government (Square 7) could directly impact upon the family’s income (Square 4) as well as its well-being (Square 5).
Similarly relationship between husband and wife (Square 5) also affects the Inner human space (Square 6) of the wife (the backyard poultry keeper). Thus the man-woman relationship, power dynamics and support provided by the husband creates different levels of self confidence and self esteem for the woman to succeed in small poultry business. This in turn impacts their income (Square 4).
RLS Framework: Capturing Meaning of Livelihood
Source: "Working with a Sustainable Livelihood System" Nadel, Ruedi Baunmgartner
The enclosed example (powerpoint presentation ) shows how SA PPLPP used the 9 Square Mandala for conducting a study on livelihood impact of people involved in the private door-step delivery of a village hardy bird 'Kuroiler'.
b) The Entitlements Framework developed by Sen in the context of Famine was used in an in-depth study of Common Property Resources and Pro-Poor Livestock development to examine the impact of institutions on the processes through which communities and its multiple groups accessed CPRs. The adoption of the approach challenged past pedagogies of Malthus’s and Hardins pre-occupation of net demand outstripping net availability and placed the capabilities of the CPR user at the centre stage. The argument thus shifted from ‘not having enough resources’ to ‘not having enough entitlements and capabilities’ and an exploration of why this was so and thereby extended the environmental debate beyond its supply orientations.
Given the iterative approach of functioning, SA PPLPP requires from its staff that they ‘know themselves’, ‘know the context’, and ‘develop relevant skills’ (e.g. communication – listen, give and receive feedback, express observations, analysis, feelings, moderation/facilitation; promote organisational development – induce change, know how to handle change / uncertainties; be cost effective and integrate lessons into one’s own work). Capacities are currently built up accordingly and the Regional Team Leader and Country Team Coordinators function as the main resource persons, while for learning events, services of resource persons and facilitators are brought in.