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Community Mapping Exercises: An Evaluation

Research reports

Maps and diagrams are key tools in Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA). This paper describes a PRA activity designed to assess the value of maps and diagrams for assisting community decision-making about tsetse trap placement in the Lambwe Valley, Western Kenya. Researchers from the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) had already conducted a community mobilisation campaign before carrying out this PRA exercise which involved drawing up a village resource map and two transects as a basis for discussion. The response to the mapping exercise was positive; almost all homesteads were represented and, during the fnal meeting, those who had participated were talking about encouraging other villages to use the same techniques, the researchers also agreed that they had gained from the exercise but expressed concern about who had benefitted most, themselves or the villagers. They also doubted whether the villagers would find the time to follow up on the activity. Two other issues were also raised: firstly the problem of defining the community boundaries for natural resource management in locations with dispersed settlement and non-resident users of the resources concerned, and secondly, the ability of extension to provide the necessary institutional support in such a context. In the case discussed here, a new community management organisation has been formed with considerable support from ICIPE.

E O Omolo, J W Ssennyonga, A Ngugi, F Kiros and C Okali