Reaction from Accra

Jennifer Hauck, who is still busy with her research about local fisheries governance, is in Ghana at the moment and at reading my latest musings, sends me the following insights fresh from the field:

“Maybe a cobbler should stick to his last?

Tying up to the last blog: Do African villagers learn less from Net-Mapping than African policy makers? I can tell from my experience that it can certainly not be said that Net-Map “doesn’t work” on the village level! However, although I was urged as social scientist, who uses participatory research tools, to take care that the interview partner also takes his share of new insights home, this is much easier said than done.

I had the great pleasure to work with the extension agent Peter from the northern Ghanaian NGO Community Self Reliance Center. The way he approached groups and people was indeed much different from mine. He was equipped with group management tools and communications skills and his experience and openness helped him to immediately draw the attention of the people and to get his message across. Whereas I was constantly bothered with my information demand and ways how to shorten the process to not steal too much time from the people.

Experiences of a young research you might think. Well I don’t know, very often I thought that at least for me it might not be a good idea to unite too many functions within one person at a time. While I have no doubts that Peter could make Net-Map understandable for villagers working on an NGO level – I am sure that I could not do that while trying to answer scientific questions. ”

One very interesting thing here is her mentioning of time. It might just be that it’s only us, the researchers, who are in a hurry and that our research partners on the village level would prefer and better understand a Slow Rural Appraisal than a Rapid one… And: Maybe Peter could tell us something about the ways he would use Net-Map on the village level if it wasn’t for Jenny’s research…

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