Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation of a Project to Combat Desertification in Drylands (Case Study in Centre Western Tunisia)

  • Boubaker Raddaoui
Part of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Series C: Environmental Security book series (NAPSC)

The success of projects to combat desertification is measured through their contribution to the achievement of outcomes. Monitoring and evaluation activities must increase their focus on outcomes by shifting towards better measurement of performance and more systematic monitoring. Such activities must be inspired by an organizational culture of learning, transparency and accountability

A case study of participatory monitoring and evaluation is presented in a pilot project to combat desertification that involves the local agro-pastoral communities and is implemented by OEP (Office de l'Elevage et des Paturages) and NRD (Nucleo Ricerca Desertificazione — University of Sassari), in Feriana, Governorate of Kasserine in centre western Tunisia. It aims to recover degraded rangelands by planting fodder shrubs, as well as complementary activities involving public awareness and targeted to training local users. The approach used was based on participatory monitoring tools, associated with remote sensing data and GIS, and specific indicators tests developed by OSS-SMAP/CE oriented to monitor the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) to combat desertification, at the sub-national and local level in Tunisia, and to evaluate its impact on the environment and natural resources management capacity of local communities

Appropriate indicators were adopted to check both the biophysical outcomes and their social impact. Some of the indicators used as remote sensing parameters, which were assessed using an ‘expert’ approach, while others required a direct interaction with local breeders and farmers

Preliminary results showed that the plantation of fodder shrubs has a positive impact on soil stability, wind erosion and water runoff control, but plantation success is strictly related to climatic conditions and the appropriate involvement of the local farmers

The indicator ‘fodder supply in period of pastoral deficit’ has proved its reliability and credibility to the extent that it accurately confirms that the impact of shrub plantations cannot be determined in cases where maintenance is no longer assured and the grazing ban has been lifted. The parameter ‘appropriation and charge holder level’ accurately indicates plantation durability and restoration techniques effectiveness. Local management capacities were measured in terms of compromises, project activities, internal conflicts, and the identification of priorities and needs of the local population, and inquiries were made on the socio-professional organization's reliability and representativeness. It revealed that the professional structure created by the project is still unable to ensure sufficient assistance to the population and to manage the divergent project objectives and expectations. Participatory monitoring and the evaluation of the socio-organizational capacity for managing natural resources, for collaboration, and for conflict-solving emerged as an effective tool towards strengthening local participant's capacity for land restoration techniques. It also generated some practical recommendations to be considered while implementing other development projects dealing with combating desertification

Keywords

Participatory monitoring evaluation combating desertification projects local people organization rangeland improvement grassroots indicators 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Boubaker Raddaoui
    • 1
  1. 1.Office de l'Elevage et des Paturages (OEP)KasserineTunisie

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