Communities that participate in their own development gain a sense of ownership of their future.
TerraCircle trainers use a number of proven approaches to development that:
- foster self-help
- involve the community in making decisions, assessing trials and putting development strategies into action.
Participatory Rural Appraisal – PRA
PRA offers a selection of techniques that encourage the participation of community members, clans and families in their own development.
PRA creates a sense of ownership of a project through direct involvement in:
- project planning and implementation
- information identification and assessment
- project monitoring and evaluation
- decision making.
Participatory Technology Development – PTD
PTD involves village farmers in the trialing and assessment of new techniques and technologies.
Used by innovative development agencies worldwide, PTD includes:
- the training of farmers in new approaches
- the trialing of new ideas
- farmer trials and their participatory assessment
- decision-making by farmers as to whether or not they want to adopt new ideas; the decision is based on their experience during field trials.
Community Food Security Assessment
Community food security assessment is a participatory approach to assessing the capability of a community to continue to provide its own food needs.
Trained and assisted by TerraCircle field operatives, community members survey:
- the condition of their agricultural soils
- their supply of planting materials such as seeds
- access to land
- their knowledge and information needs
- their degree of reliance on food from outside sources
- global, regional and local influences affecting food security
- the trend in food security
- other pertinent factors.
Using this information, a program of training and agricultural improvement is developed.
Low External Input Sustainable Agriculture – LEISA
The experience of TerraCircle trainers has led to the adoption of the LEISA approach to small-scale agricultural development.
- increased regional and local self-reliance in food production
- the encouragement of local innovation in the production of farming inputs
- the development of local and regional economies
- reduced reliance on imported agricultural inputs
- reduced need for poor farmers to raise cash or credit to purchase farming inputs, freeing money for other uses
- sale of surplus farm production
- increased food security in case of natural disaster or conflict.
LEISA is an approach under constant improvement. It is adaptable to regional and local circumstances and is used worldwide by development professionals.