A departure from the past? Extension workers and participatory rural development: the case of Botswana
PublisherTaylor & Francis, http://www.informaworld.com
MetadataShow full item record
This article addresses the question of whether extension workers can change their attitudes and practices in order to promote participatory rural development by considering the case of Botswana. It discusses the emergent participatory extension paradigm which uses techniques such as participatory rural appraisal (PRA). It describes the new community-based strategy for rural development in Botswana which includes the expectation that the extension services can be reorientated to facilitate increased community participation. Evidence is presented from research in 1995-96 which evaluated a pilot project involving PRAs undertaken by extension workers in four districts. The project sought to find out systematically whether PRA could enhance the ability of the extension services to undertake participatory rural development. The findings suggest that extension workers can develop through training the attitudinal predisposition necessary for adopting a more participatory approach to extension practice. However, there are institutional and contextual constraints which present obstacles to implementing participatory rural development. It is therefore not certain that the proposal to expand the use of PRA on a national scale will lead to the anticipated reorientation of the extension services.