Socioeconomic and Gender Analysis Programme
SEAGA Field Handbook
This SEAGA Field Handbook incorporates ideas and methods from people of all regions of the world who share a commitment to participatory development. It is based on actual experiences in agriculture, forestry and fisheries, but can be used by those working in all sectors of rural development. While building on earlier learning's, there are three things that are different about this Handbook.
First, explicit attention is given to the linkages among economic, environmental, social and institutional patterns that together constitute the development context. Both opportunities and constraints for development are identified. Second, understanding gender, wealth, ethnicity, caste and other social differences in communities is considered fundamental to understanding livelihood strategies and development priorities. The poor and marginalised are ensured a voice.
And third, this Handbook provides toolkits specifically designed to support a participatory process that first, focuses on an analysis of the current situation, and second, focuses on planning for the future. The toolkits consist of a number of rapid rural and participatory rural appraisal tools, but include also a series of SEAGA Questions to facilitate and deepen analysis.
This SEAGA Field Handbook is written in recognition that those of us who work directly with village women and men have a great responsibility. As outsiders who enjoy a certain degree of power, privilege and security, we must remember that many insiders do not. Indeed, many villagers walk a thin line between poverty and destitution. This is especially true for those who lack access to key resources because of their gender, ethnicity or caste. The only sure way to avoid mistakes, or negative impacts, is through a participatory process in which rural women and men clarify their needs and resources, constraints and opportunities. But for development efforts to be truly beneficial in the long run, people's needs and priorities must also be considered in light of the total development context, many factors of which stem from outside the community. And this is where you come in -- as the bridge.
|The SEAGA Package|
This Field Handbook is just one piece of the complete SEAGA Package. Two other Handbooks are also available. |
The Intermediate Handbook is for those who work in institutions and organisations that link macro-level policies to the field level, including government ministries, trade associations, educational and research institutions. The Macro Handbook is for planners and policy-makers to apply SEAGA to economic and social policies and programmes, at both national and international levels.
All three Handbooks draw upon the concepts and linkages described in detail in the SEAGA Framework and Users Reference. Additional materials include the SEAGA Learning Materials, a notebook of training modules and case studies designed to facilitate learning the SEAGA approach during training workshops; the SEAGA Hypertext, a self-help interactive computer programme, and the SEAGA Sector or Issue Guides which address application of SEAGA to specific sectors or issues such as irrigation or food security.
All SEAGA materials are available from: Women in Development Service, Women and Population Division, Sustainable Development Department, Food and Agriculture Organisation, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy. Phone: 39-6-52255102, Fax: 39-6-52252004, E-mail: SEAGA@fao.org
By putting socioeconomic analysis and gender analysis together, SEAGA helps us learn about community dynamics, including the linkages among social, economic and environmental patterns. It clarifies the division of labour within a community, including divisions by gender and other social characteristics, and it facilitates understanding of resource use and control, and participation in community institutions.
the study of the environmental, economic, social and institutional patterns, and their linkages, that compose the context for development.
|SEAGA's three levels|
focuses on people, including women and men as individuals, socioeconomic differences among households, and communities as a whole.
Note: An analysis of the economic, environmental, social and institutional patterns, and the interactions among them, is included at all three levels.
For any one development problem, a number of different socioeconomic patterns play a role . For example, the lack of food security in a village may stem from environmental problems such as drought, as well as economic problems such as the lack of wage labour opportunities, or institutional problems such as inadequate extension training on food conservation methods and social problems such as discrimination against women. There are important linkages between these patterns too. Discrimination against women, for example, can result in women's lack of access to credit, in turn limiting women's ability to purchase inputs. The end result is that overall crop productivity is lower than it could be. In areas where women have a major responsibility to produce food crops, these linkages are an important part of the food security equation.
Development problems also stem from different levels. The lack of food security in a village, for example, may result not only from crop and animal production problems at the household or community level, but also from barriers to district-level markets, as well as national pricing policies and international terms of trade. In other words, there are important linkages between field-level problems and intermediate- and macro-level institutions, programmes and policies.
In the SEAGA Field Handbook the focus is on the field level, but includes an analysis of the linkages between field-level and intermediate- and macro-level patterns and institutions.
In SEAGA it is also recognised that different people have different development needs and constraints. Rich people, for example, have fewer food security problems than poor people because they can afford to purchase additional foodstuffs. Female heads of household may suffer the greatest shortages of food because of their lack of access to resources and their resulting poverty. People from an ethnic group with a pastoralist tradition may be able to cope with a long drought with fewer food and nutrition problems than members of an ethnic group with an agrarian tradition. Using gender analysis helps us to understand the needs and priorities of different people, clarifying the relevance of gender in conjunction with age, wealth, caste, race, ethnicity, religion, and so on. In gender analysis the focus is on both women and men.
Gender roles are key because gender shapes the opportunities and constraints that women and men face in securing their livelihoods across all cultural, political, economic and environmental settings. Gender influences the roles and relationships of people throughout all their activities, including their labour and decision-making roles. It is also important for understanding the position of both women and men vis--vis the institutions that determine access to land and other resources, and to the wider economy.
Gender roles are:
There is overwhelming evidence that development must address the needs and priorities of both women and men in order to be successful. It is recognised that across all socioeconomic groups, women are disadvantaged vis-à-vis men. This must be taken into consideration because development efforts in which women are marginalised are destined to fail!
'It is imperative to ask, Development for whom? With input from whom? Failing to ask these questions is a failure in the fundamental purpose of development itself. If women in subsistence economies are the major suppliers of food, fuel and water for their families and yet their access to productive resources is declining, then more people will suffer from hunger, malnutrition, illness, and loss of productivity.'|
Source: Jacobson (1993)
Disadvantaged people are priority because discrimination due to gender, ethnicity, caste, race or other social characteristics, operates to make women and men poor. Poor people lack access to resources -- and lack of access to resources keeps people poor.
Because communities are composed of a number of different groups, some more powerful than the rest, some particularly disadvantaged, and some that may be in direct conflict with each other, there is room for many differences of opinion and widely varying needs. Even within one household decisions are more often based on compromises between different members' priorities rather than on total agreement.
But it is these individuals and households who lack control over resources essential for survival and development that are most constrained in their efforts to meet basic needs, resulting in suffering and a waste of human resources. SEAGA is an approach based on the assumption that focusing on the needs of the most disadvantaged is the starting point for development.
|How project resources can be diverted to the better off|
|In Ghusel village, Nepal, the Small Farmers' Development Programme (SFDP) provided credit to poor households for the purchase of milk buffalo. A few years later two new dairy co-operatives were formed to help farmers market their milk. The SFDP brought considerable financial benefits to at least a third of the households in the village, bridged ethnic and caste differences in democratically run dairy co-operatives, and had positive effects on crop production because more manure was available. |
But the project also had negative effects: (1) on women whose labour for collecting fodder and caring for the milk buffalo increased greatly but was not compensated by their husbands who controlled the income from milk sales, (2) on income distribution between socioeconomic and ethnic groups (Tamang and Brahmin) which widened because the better off Brahmins received credit even though it should have gone only to landless or near landless farmers, and (3) on the access of poorer households to community land and state forests for gathering fodder and fuelwood due to the rapid depletion of these natural resources as the livestock population grew.
If women had been consulted during the planning stage of the project, two additional provisions would have been included: (1) community action to manage and improve fodder resources in state forests, (2) provisions to include women as members of the dairy co-operatives and to assist them in purchasing their own buffalo.
Further, if socioeconomic and caste differences in the community had been analysed in a participatory way, the need to plan strategies to reach the poorer Tamang households would have been recognised. This may have prevented the diversion of credit to the wealthier Brahmin households.
Source: Bhatt, Shrestha, Thomas-Slayter and Koirala (1994)
While gender roles and poverty are given priority in SEAGA, participation is essential to hold the whole approach together.
Development organisations and local communities have seen many development activities fail. Many now recognise that development activities designed by outsiders only, which ignore the capacities, priorities and needs of local women, men and children, are a key source of such failures. Even in cases where local people were asked for information, most development programmes were planned outside the community without involving them in the planning process.
Participation requires that local women and men speak for themselves. After all, it is only the local people who know the details about the local ecology, and of the linkages among their family members' activities in food and cash crop production with livestock, forestry, fisheries and artisanal activities, and how these are managed and by whom, and under what constraints. The knowledge and practices of local people need to be recognised by development agents and built upon in development activities.
Why participation is important: |
The 100-to-1 Cow Project (Part 1)
The farmers in a small village in the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya in western New Guinea, had rarely, if ever, seen a cow before government representatives announced that a boatload of cattle would soon arrive. |
The village had about 300 households most of whom depended on subsistence farming supplemented by raising a pig and a few chickens, and by hunting. Apart from government officials and the occasional trader, the village had little contact with the outside world.
Government development planners were anxious to introduce beef cattle to the region in order to provide a new source of meat for the country's rapidly growing urban centres. As the people of the village had migrated to the coast from upland areas known for breeding pigs, the planners assumed that these people would adapt easily to the challenges of expanded livestock-raising.
The visiting officials convened a one-day training programme and then, 100 beef cattle arrived. Almost at once, the animals began wreaking havoc. Knee-high fences designed to keep pigs from entering the village centre were no barrier to the animals; they trampled gardens, damaged homes, broke tools, and fouled fresh water sources. When the cows were shooed away, many wandered into the bush and disappeared.
Deciding to hunt them down before they did any more damage, the villagers armed themselves with bows and arrows and one-by-one they killed the cows until there was only a single animal left alive. Satisfied that the danger was passed, they spared the lone survivor, a living memorial to the danger that government officials had called "development".
Source: Connell (1993)
A participatory approach aims to support local people to carry out their own development using the expertise of outsiders to help them achieve their development goals. While local women and men are the experts on local constraints and opportunities, they do not know everything. Small farmers, for example, are usually disadvantaged in their lack of knowledge about the options that development programmes can offer, including improved methods and technologies, and may not receive information about markets, inputs and new government policies. Therefore, while development agencies need greater access to local knowledge in order to play a more effective role, farmers need increased access to information about the wider context in which they live in order to make informed decisions about their development.
But is participation enough?|
The 100-to-1 Cow Project (Part 2)
A few years after the 100-to-1 cow incident, development agents visited the same village to make an assessment of community needs. The team convened a village assembly and told the people that this time things would be different. They asked villagers to tell them what they needed. |
Villagers asked to delay their decision until they could consider it more deeply. The team agreed and left. When they returned a few days later, they convened another assembly, where village leaders announced that they had come to a decision -- they wanted cows!
Now it was the development agents' turn to be shocked, for they knew the 100-to-1 cow story. They asked: how could the farmers risk another disaster? Why cows, and not pigs or poultry? Why not agricultural extension assistance with their gardens? Why not food storage facilities? What about health care, literacy or income generation?
Once they began asking questions, they learned that the answer was simple: cows were what the people knew of development. Since outsiders brought cows, the question for villagers, as they saw it, was did they or did they not want more cows? In the end, said most villagers, the animals could be something to sell to passing traders. Better to take them than not.
Source: Connell (1993)
SEAGA helps us to frame appropriate questions about development. The ability to frame appropriate questions is key to three related outcomes:
|SEAGA helps us to plan successful development|
Successful development enhances |
: Sustainability -- supporting the security and regeneration of resources.
Equality -- providing equal opportunities for all women and men to participate and benefit
Efficiency -- achieving objectives without wasting time and resources.
|The Three Toolkits|
Toolkit A. The Development Context|
for learning about the economic, environmental, social and institutional patterns that pose supports or constraints for development.
Toolkit B. Livelihood Analysis
Toolkit C. Stakeholders' Priorities for Development
This SEAGA Field Handbook offers three toolkits. The first two focus on learning about the current situation ("what is"), while the third focuses on planning for the future ("what should be"). Each toolkit is designed to answer important questions. (In Chapter Nine several additional tools are provided to facilitate adaptation of these toolkits, as needed.)
The development context tools are:
The livelihood analysis tools are:
The stakeholders' priorities for development tools are:
2. Many of these tools have been used successfully in urban settings as well, but the SEAGA questions that accompany the tools in the SEAGA Field Handbook would require adaptation for learning about urban-based development issues.