|People's Participation In Natural Resources Management - Workshop Report 8 (IRMA, 1992, 45 p.)|
Singh, while presenting his paper on the subject, asserted that there is no universally acceptable measure or index of peoples participation that could be used to evaluate development programmes in terms of peoples participation and that there is a need for constructing valid scales in the tradition of socio-psychological research. One could use as crude measures of participation such parameters as proportions of the target group of people who participated in various stages of a programme; who adopted various recommended measures and practices; and who expended their time and money on participation in collective action required for resource conservation, development and management on a sustained basis. Such measures could be presented in the form of a simple frequency table.
Peoples participation can also be measured using a ratio scale having zero as its minimum to indicate no participation and an arbitrary maximum, say, 100 indicating maximum possible participation. Such a scale could be constructed by asking a sample of target beneficiaries of the programme concerned, a set of questions framed by a panel of experts to measure participation. Each of the possible answers to a question should be assigned some arbitrary number ranging from 0 (indicating no participation) to 1 (indicating full participation). For instance, the three possible answers to the question; do you attend the meetings convened by the project authority, could be: always, sometimes, or never. These answers may be assigned numerical values of 1, 0.5, and 0 respectively. Each of the questions could be assigned a weight showing its relative importance as a measure of participation. The sum of the weights assigned to all the questions should be 100 and thus the scale would assume values ranging from 0 to 100. Using this method, we could compute a score for each of the sample respondents and all the scores thus computed could then be added and divided by the number of sample respondents to compute the mean (average) participation rate in a programme. The mean participation rate when expressed in percentage terms could be called the Peoples Participation Index (PPI).
Algebraically, we could define PPI as follows:
P = Pi/N
where P = peoples participation index
Pi = participation score of the ith individual defined
as Pi = Wij Xj where Wij is the weight
assigned to the j-th factor (question asked of the ith beneficiary) with the condition that the sum of weights is equal to 100.
N = number of individuals (respondents)
Depending upon the nature of the programme and the significance of peoples participation in it, we can define a minimum level of participation that is desirable. This could be, for instance, 50 percent and above, or 60 percent and above. Similarly, we could rank peoples participation as very low if the PPI values range from 0-25, low for 26-50, moderate for 51-75, and high for 76 and over.
In the context of measurement of peoples participation in NRM, some of the relevant questions that could be asked to elicit the information necessary for construction of a PPI are listed below: (Singh, 1991)
1. Are you aware of any NRM programmes underway in your village/area? Yes/No. If yes, answer the following questions:
2. Did you ever participate in planning and designing of any such programmes? Yes (1)/No (0).
3. Did you ever adopt all of the recommended resource management practices? Yes (1)/No (0); or
4. Did you ever adopt most (more than 50%) of the recommended resource management practices? Yes (1)/No (0); or
5. Did you ever adopt some (less than 50%) of the recommended resource management practices? Yes (1)/No (0).
6. Do you participate in any meetings called by the programme authority? A (Always) (1)/S (Sometimes) (0.5)/ N (Never) (0).
7. Do you consult any of the programme personnel about your problems? A/S/N
8. Do you share any information or experience that you have about the resource with any fellow resource users? A/S/N
9. Do you share any information or experience that you have about the resource with any project personnel? A/S/N
10. Do you consult your fellow resource users about your problems? A/S/N
11. Do you attend the training programmes organised by the programme authority? A/S/N
12. Do you contribute any money towards construction of some conservation structures on common pool resource(s)? A/S/N
13. Do you contribute any money towards repair and maintenance of any conservation structures on common pool resource(s)? A/S/N
14. Do you contribute any labour towards construction of some conservation structures on common pool resource(s)? A/S/N
15. Do you contribute any labour towards repair and maintenance of any conservation structures on common pool resources? A/S/N