, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 195-208

Looking back to see ahead: Farmer lessons and recommendations after 15 years of innovation and leadership in Güinope, Honduras

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Abstract

Güinope, Honduras was the site of a highly acclaimed people-centered development project in the 1980s. The ACORDE/Ministry of Natural Resource/World Neighbors Integrated Development Program (IDP) was unique for its time, since rather than relying on technology transfer, it promoted innovation skills for local generation of responses to needs. Furthermore, it was one of the first efforts in Latin America to employ villagers as principal agents of change. Fifteen years after the inception of the IDP and ten years after its completion, the authors interviewed farmers in their fields and held a series of participatory workshops over eighteen months with ten outstanding farmers who had become project leaders. The leaders identified influential factors behind their involvement and produced recommendations for rural development interventions. Further, a generalized concept map typifying ideal characteristics for farmer promoters was constructed. Recommendations for development agencies centered on project design and implementation, demanding a methodology for strengthening local innovative capacities, participation, and control over resources. Ultimately, the leaders downplayed the role of technologies in rural development and called for special attention to enabling communities to confront external pressures, in particular recent government ``modernization'' policies, that they felt threatened community livelihood.

This revised version was published online in June 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.