Our intervention approach
The evolution of our intervention approach
Since its establishment, Inades-Formation makes a constant effort to adapt its services to the pace of evolutions and constantly change of rural African world and changing strategies of the actors. In the 1960s, the challenge was primarily technological, for an audience of rural adults, farmers, facilitators and trainers in rural areas. At that time, the emblem of all efforts was the red booklet of Agriculture, administered through correspondence courses. Each course was well thought up from its contents to the methods for supporting subscribers in a continued effort to provide knowledge and skills necessary for the implementation of the activities of learners. For twenty years, these courses have effectively supported the access of many African farmers in methods and techniques of agricultural production. The fame of these courses crossed the limits of the African continent since FAO, during the late 1970s, has financed their translation into other languages.
At the beginning of 1980s, the organization of rural areas has become the major challenge. Still during about twenty years, the role of farmers and their organizations in the development will be on the agenda, with variations on « democracy and development, gender and development, and women’s access to means of production and products of family farming « , etc. Thus, the project-based approach and the integrated program of intervention approach to beneficiaries projects (APFI) have been initiated and used for:
- systematizing the way in which the needs of training applicants are taken into account and organizing a more coherent system of such trainings
- also considering factors other besides training.
So we needed to create a farmer project that included a training program. The 1990s will experience a special emphasis on rural place in national development in terms of peasant empowerment, with a political resonance. It became clear that beyond the technical production, rural actors needed multifaceted solutions, for addressing development challenges in economic, political, social and cultural terms. It also involved a clear understanding of international influences on the local problems experienced.
Since then, the strengthening of farmer empowerment has become a task link in Inades-Formation’s actions for sustainable development, selected by organized farmers to taking charge of their destiny. This has opened a vast work of research and experimentation fostering the emergence of new areas of intervention including: decentralization and local development, rural financing, rural entrepreneurship, agricultural sector, farmers’ communication, sustainable management of natural resources, etc. There was also the emergence of new public as the decentralized communities, rural municipalities, urban poor, village communities etc.
EAs a result, Inades-Formation will officially question its socio-political project and its development approach, in line with the developments in rural areas. The first ) results of this consideration have been enshrined by two resolutions of the General Assembly, held in Yaounde, Cameroon, in 1995, marking the birth of a new approach to development : Backup to Farmers’ Organizational Dynamics (BAFOD).
The BAFOD approach and its principles
BAFOD is a development approach which consists to encourage and support a process of social, economic and political change co-initiated with the farmers and that farmers manage and control, leading toward the strengthening of their empowerment in the society.
The fundamental hypothesis at the basis of this approach is that « the power of farmers cannot be permanently strengthened unless ability to think and initiative of these are recognized, valued and enhanced. » In other words, « sustainable change can be achieved if the farmers become architects and builders of their social, economic and political future ». BAFOD is based on principles derived from values and from the social mission of Inades-Formation. These principles, which complement each other, constitute the foundation or the essential conditions for the success of the approach.
These principles are:
At the center : the farmer
This principle calls into question the logic of rural development that farmers are always the recipients of projects designed from the outside and to which they contribute. On the contrary, the farmers should be the main actors (architects and builders) of their social, economic and political future. They must be authors / co-authors and sponsors / co-promoters of development initiatives. Thus, development programs should be organized around a socio-economic and political vision that farmers develop for themselves. In such case they are the real owners of change initiatives.
The access to and control of strategic resources
Access to strategic resources and their control by rural people is an absolute necessity in a sustainable development perspective. Indeed, farmers cannot effectively implement their development projects, without having access to strategic and productive resources that are: natural resources, financial resources, information, knowledge and know-how.
Capacity building of farmers – women and men
Having skills to performing functions, solving problems, setting and achieving the own goals, is essential for farmers and their organizations to introduce, manage and control the processes of social, economic and political change. That is why, in the BAFOD approach, a particular accent is placed on the capacity building of farmers and their organizations. To do this, the DOP support is an approach of Research-Action Training (RAFT).
The approach of Research-action-training emphasizes the action as source of mutual learning. Every action undertaken by the farmers is a learning place of excellence.
The implementation of development projects and programs of the farmers and their organizations, often demands more resources that local efforts cannot provide. That is why, it is necessary to promote solidarity and invoke the assistance of external partners in addition to endogenous efforts, in order to stimulate a sustainable process of socio-economic and political change in rural areas.
Equity among social categories
Power relations and equity among social categories (men/women, the most fragile categories of the society, etc.), necessarily need be considering in any initiative of support of farminger dynamics.
The work in a RAFT approach requires an institutional flexibility, both at the level of Inades-Formation, farmer organizations and with other partners. It gives rise to readjustments, reorientation of action plans, changes in programs and budget revisions that cannot be achieved without the institutional flexibility. This is essential for the programming, the funding of actions and their execution.