CURRENT RESEARCH PROGRAM
IMPROVING LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
- How do we know what impact we’re having?
- How can we keep learning and improving our process?
Now the team at Community Mobilization for Regenerative Agriculture (C-MRA), who delivered the pilot, are collaborating with David Yisrael Epstein Halevi on research to provide further evidence of the scope of the changes taking place in the community of Asumbi resulting from their participation in the permEzone program. This research collaboration will also give insight into how to continue developing and improving the program for future projects.
David is a valued member of our MEL team (Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning), and both the academic coordinator at The Systems Center at The State University of New York (The University at Albany), as well as a researcher for Professor Aaron Benavot where he works on projects related to climate policy and climate change. David is completing his PhD in Educational Policy and Leadership with a focus on eco-pedagogy. This research with the farmers in Asumbi will feed directly into his doctoral thesis.
The importance of re-learning the value of local, place-based expertise cannot be overstated - the IPCC has stated that we have ZERO chance of reaching the goal of avoiding an increase in CO2 of over 1.5 C unless we fully engage indigenous people and take on board the knowledge and tools that they’ve built up over thousands of years for climate resilience.
- Legitimizing our Findings and Advancing our Agenda
Building the Next Generation of Leaders
An initial assessment of the participating farmers, collecting survey data and conducting in-depth focus group conversations, will involve the field managers and lead farmers who participated in the first permEzone pilot, as well as a comparative group of farmers - the team at LEDI (Leap Empowerment and Development Initiative) are also focused on training for sustainable and climate smart agriculture in S. Kenya, and they will be fully involved in co-developing and implementing this research program to include an equivalent group of farmers from their program. This will also be an opportunity to explore options for further collaboration between our two organizations.
The story that emerges from this data will form the basis for co-designing the workshop series for the farmers, ensuring that it will fit their needs and circumstances. The intent of the workshop process will be to foster an open and trusting environment where observations and questions can be safely shared and explored in order to dig deeply into problems and systems of thinking. Topics of the sessions will be designed to serve the specific needs of the group, but may include ideas such as:
- Using Data Analytics to Better Identify Root Problems,
- Technical Tools for Team Building Around Problem Identification, and
- Elevating Voices: Bringing Equity to the Decision-Making Process.
The discussions and workshops will be conducted in local languages, with interpretation as necessary. Given the current situation with COVID-19, David’s participation in the workshops will be through online links.
Feedback Loops: Reflecting and Refining the Research
Photovoice: Capturing the Whole Story
That learning prompted permEzone to budget for two smartphones for Phase 3 participants to use and share. David and the team will train the farmers on how to use the smart phones to collect data via photo, video, and notes, and subsequently to access shared learning resources.
David will also co-lead a workshop on Photovoice, which is a participatory approach to photography, discussion, writing and outreach for community members to investigate their experiences and collaborate for change. This will bring an added richness to the story telling. Photovoice was developed in the early 1990’s as a method to illustrate and amplify the experiences of often unheard communities to raise awareness of their challenges and to bring them to the decision-making table.
Solid Foundation for Phase 3
Preparation, planning and farmer selection is already underway for the third permEzone 2-year program in Kisa West, Kenya.
We are excited to build the capacity of the team and to expand our reach. Please help us raise the funds needed for this important work!
Stay Tuned as Plans Unfold for Phase 3!
We provide training and support for impoverished rural communities to learn how to help themselves.
Your contribution will:
- Help hundreds of families feed themselves with nutritious food
- Help them increase their income from diverse crops, and reduce farm costs
- Help us support them as they work together to find shared solutions to common problems
- Help improve the local environment and take action to reverse climate change