Strategies for out-scaling participatory research approaches for sustaining agricultural research impacts

The popularity of participatory research approaches is largely driven by the expected benefits from bridging the gap between formal agricultural science institutions and local farm communities, making agricultural research more relevant and effective. There is, however, no certainty that this approach, which has been mainly project-based, will succeed in transforming agricultural research in developing countries towards more client-responsive, impact-oriented institutions. Research managers must consider appropriate strategies for such an institutional transformation, including: (1) careful planning of social processes and interactions among different players, and documenting how that might have brought about success or failure; (2) clear objectives, which influence the participation methods used; (3) clear impact pathway and impact hypotheses at the outset, specifying expected outputs, outcomes, impacts, and beneficiaries; (4) willingness to adopt institutional learning, where existing culture and practices can be changed; and (5) long-term funding commitment to sustain the learning and change process. pp 564-575