A paper presented by R.S. Mckenzie, H. Lombard, G. Constantinedes, N. Meyer and N. Adams on 21-23 January 2003, Muldersdrift, South Africa.
Participatory approaches to development are increasingly being advocated by development organizations and NGOs. However, putting these methods into practice is difficult, particularly where beneficiaries have
to contribute in kind and in cash. This presentation discusses the experiences, constraints and achievements in a participatory project, where beneficiaries were involved, in identification of problems, design of solutions and equity investment in the improvement of charco dams. A university research unit and an NGO were involved in providing technical backstopping with costs covered by a small grant from a regional programme. The project targeted agro-pastoralists who own private charco dams for harvesting and storing rainwater to supply water to livestock. However, although the group of agro-pastoralists was expected to be homogeneous, with common interests, it was very difficult to achieve common understanding. Had the charco dams been communally owned, it would have been difficult to implement the project. Only 50% of the targeted agro-pastoralists participated in the first year. However, nearly all have signed for the second year. It is important to identify their differences in objectives, interests and problems in-order to ensure a cross cutting participation in project planning, design and implementation. [authors abstract]