Article written by Eshwer Kale published in the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) (Vol. 52, Issue No. 3 dated 21 Jan, 2017)
The major objective of any watershed development project is to improve the natural resource base through conservation and management of resources so as to increase the productive potential of the resources and create livelihoods for the people depending on those resources. In order to achieve this a set of interventions are planned and implemented in consultation with the community, which generates certain outputs, outcomes and impacts. In order to understand whether the planned activities are creating the expected outputs and impacts a tracking and measurement system is required which facilitates all the stakeholders to understand and take timely decisions and steer the project towards its expected objective. Understanding and analysis of outcomes and impacts at the primary stakeholder level is very crucial not only for them to appreciate a specific intervention but also to ensure maintenance and sustainability of the same. Interventions, which don’t add value and benefits, would not have a high sustainability.
Understanding this and realising the fact that community is the best judges of project outcomes, a participatory impact monitoring tool has been developed by WOTR to facilitate monitoring of impacts at the community level.
- Understanding the impacts from watershed development through participatory observation, measurement and analysis.
- Facilitating community to learn and assess impacts on their own.
- To capacitate people to gather impact information and document it so as to create a timeline of information on various participatorily chosen indicators.
- To help the facilitating organisation learn from the community their understanding of impacts and facilitate the project interventions based on these understandings.
Indicators those can be assessed:
- Social- cultural
- Gender and equity
PIM is a monitoring strategy developed by WOTR where the primary stakeholders are trained and facilitated in understanding the impacts of watershed development and related aspects. It provides an opportunity for the people to understand, evaluate and measure the impacts that the work has had on the natural resource base, like biomass, water, etc. as well as on agricultural production, afforestation, livestock and other related activities. It also includes the impact on social and gender aspects of project intervention.
However, the tool generates a large quantity of qualitative information which is useful in analysing and understanding people’s perspective.
PIM is a participatory tool where the community enumerates, analyses and documents the outcomes and impacts. It is an easy-to-use tool which does not require much expertise. No special tools are required for operationalizing PIM and the human resource required is also minimal since it is done on a yearly basis. The tool has relevance for watershed implementation projects and it can be modified to suit other situations based on the objectives and interventions involved in project implementation.