The indigenous evaluation of wetlands research in Ethiopia

The adoption of participatory approaches has become virtually de rigueur in rural development projects, if only to satisfy donor demands for evidence of participation. Often, however, PRA and its derivatives are used in an extractive fashion and do not benefit local people as intended. This Practical Note reports on a project in Ethiopia in which PRA was used. An evaluation conducted with the same communities after the research phase was concluded confirmed that certain aspects of PRA had been appreciated, in particular the opportunities for peer-group learning, the process had been more top-down than most would have liked. It concludes with some simple lessons for how to avoid the obvious pitfalls, and how to ensure that local people get the most out of participating in a development project.