Participatory Approaches in Extension Activities
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, field-based experiences emerged creating more space for methodological and institutional innovations for agricultural research and extension. Within these participatory approaches - as they became commonly known - a special emphasis was placed upon participation of local people and their communities, especially working with and through groups; and building upon the traditional or indigenous knowledge that they held (Chambers et al., 1989; Waters-Bayer, 1989; Haverkort et al., 1991).
The term "participatory approaches" is used to describe a wide range of development and research approaches, methods and tools that can improve the practice of development.
Participatory approaches might best be described as a set of "guiding principles" that can help practitioners develop a different kind of relationship with the people that are supposed to benefit from their work.
The terms for participatory approaches and methodologies are as numerous as the locations where they have been put into practice. Being "context specific", there can be no "blueprint" for participatory approaches. They need to be constantly adjusted, refined and adapted based on the local setting. Adaptability has led to a large number of variants in participatory approaches. This means there can be no single definition of what constitutes a "participatory approach". What is important is that the approach and methodology have been planned systematically, bearing in mind the guiding principles of participatory approaches. (Matthias Halwart and Graham Haylorhttp://www.crdi.ca/uploads/user-S/111748283514approaches_strategies.pdf)
Participatory methods are utilized in various stages in extension. It may be for evaluating a situation, identification of a problem, action oriented work, evaluation of success or failure of a project and the like. Farmer participation is possible in agricultural research and agricultural extension
The following are a few of the methods in vogue among the field extension workers.
These approaches may be overlapping as they have evolved out of the existing situation and there is no hard and fast rule in their formation.