Dynamics of village organizations, wealth and gender in Western Kenyal villages: Analytic methodologies and challenges
Hansen, T. Svan
De Wolf, J
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Knowledge of farmers' socioeconomic situations and the biophysical conditions prevailing on their farms is key to the success of farmer-participatory technology development. In western Kenya a pilot project is underway to test biomass transfer technology and improved fallow technology (BTT & IFT), which are potentially beneficial for soil fertility replenishment. A participatory approach to characterizing the communities (Luhya and Luo) is being used to analyze village organizations, wealth categories and gender participation. Seven Luhya and. five Luo villages were characterized regarding village organizations and wealth categories. A gender analysis was also carried out in two villages (one Luo and one Luhya). It was found that the Luo villages, with an average of four groups per farmer, had more organizations than Luhya villages, which had an average of two groups per farmer. Although the Luhya villages had fewer organizations and many members did not belong to any group at all, the total number of clans identified was 26 compared to three in the Luo villages. Wealth ranking (WR) exercises identified three or four groups in both Luo and Luhya villages, and the criteria to distinguish them were similar in some respects. When wealth categories were linked to farmers participating in the two technologies it was found that most of those not participating were in WG (Wealth Group) 3 and WG4 (WG1 being the most wealthy), and the majority were female/widow-headed. It was also evident that those in WG3 and WG4 were more associated with church groups in the Luhya villages and women's groups in the Luo villages. An extension and dissemination model has been proposed which will use elected delegates from each of the organizations to form village committees and then locational committees.